Mauch Chunk Trust Company honored four outstanding volunteers on Tuesday night during the 2013 Community Heroes Awards Banquet.
They are Alfred Feuerstein and Rick Grant, both of Jim Thorpe; George Taylor of Tamaqua; and C. Jean Zimmerman of Weatherly. The event was held at the Mahoning Valley Country Club.
Patrick H. Reilly, president and CEO of MCT, was both master of ceremonies and presenter of awards.
After Reilly welcomed the room filled with present and past Community Heroes and their friends and family, MCT board of directors, advisory board and employees, Reilly explained how the Community Heroes program began in 2000 by honoring 13 people from the Carbon County community.
"Since the first year, we have been honoring more heroes every year and have broadened our scope to include the Tamaqua area of Schuylkill County," he said. "Our definition of a community hero are the individuals in our community who volunteer and dedicate their time and talents to various local charities and organizations and who we believe should be recognized for these efforts."
That philosophy has brought MCT to year 14 and the recognition to 85 people. Reilly noted that 26 past Community Heroes were at this year's banquet.
Mauch Chunk Trust presented each hero with an engraved award and allowed them to name an organization or charity to receive a $100 donation.
Reilly said that 11 heroes have passed away over the years and one passed since last year. He noted that Josephine Rhyder passed away in November last year. He said that this year 21 nominations were received and the selection committee had the hard task of choosing four to honor this year.
Members of the selection committee are: Susan Arner, Ray Attewell, Maureen Donovan, Rory Koons, Madelyn Ligenza, attorney Thomas Lisella, Wayne Nothstein, Ida "Boots" Queen, Shirley Radler, Kathy Schwick, Randall Smith and Lee Zink.
Also on hand to congratulate the awardees were Carbon County Commissioners Wayne Nothstein and Tom Gerhard. Nothstein is also a former Community Hero.
Of this year's honorees, Feuerstein was recognized for his service to Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital in Lehighton, Advisory Board of Blue Mountain Health Care, Carbon County Planning Commission and American Cancer Society. He also participates in Carbon County Senior Games, serving as a volunteer judge for the pool competitions. He is also the oldest active member of Penn Forest Fire Co. No. 1 and is a life member of Lehighton Fire Co. No. 1 and Franklin Township Fire Co. As a member of the Mahoning Lions Club, he has served as a director of the Carbon County Fair and is also a member of the Big Creek Grange and Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club. He is a member of the Masons Carbon Lodge 242. He is the oldest confirmed member of his church where he still sings in the choir.
"If I could do my life over, I'd do the same things," said Feuerstein."
Feuerstein donated his $100 award to the United Church of Christ, Jim Thorpe.
Grant grew up in southwest Missouri where he volunteered at his church and was a Cub Scout. In college he became a VISTA volunteer and was trained as a nonprofit executive and assigned to the Ozarks Literacy Council. He created the council's Workplace Literacy Program and became an adult reading tutor. He was involved in his children's PTA and helped build a playground for a New York elementary school.
He served as webmaster for an animal shelter and volunteered as a den leader for his son's Scout pack. When his daughter wanted to play soccer, he volunteered to serve on the board of the Jim Thorpe Rotary Youth Soccer Association. He has served as a board member of the Mauch Chunk Historical Association and as a volunteer social media trainer for veterans seeking jobs through Carbon County Career Link, and wrote copy for the Jim Thorpe Visitor's Guide. He volunteered for the Trail Tenders Program at Beltzville State Park.
Grant credited three people in his life to his success: his mother, his wife and his executive assistant.
"I learned at an early age that it was my duty to give back," said Grant.
Grant presented his $100 donation the David F. Formica Scholarship Fund.
Taylor credited his mother with his volunteer values. He remembers washing dishes for church dinners, serving as an usher and singing in the children's choir. He is still involved in his church. He also helped establish the Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network (TAFFN), which promotes cooperation in the community, plus raises funds for the Salvation Army.
He started a local telethon for Muscular Dystrophy Association, then the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society, where he continues to schedule talent and serves as producer. He is also a past Cubmaster and has served as president of the Tamaqua Boy's Basketball Booster Club.
Taylor said that it is as important to support other people who have ideas as it is to begin projects.
"We all have to work together," said Taylor. "When you see groups and organizations who need help, jump in and help."
Taylor donated his $100 award to the Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network.
Zimmerman began her volunteer activities as a young girl. She helped move and relocate residents of the old Laurytown Weatherwood to the new Weatherwood facility. She helped feed the residents and has served on the board of the Carbon County Shepherd House and also coordinates pet food donations with the eight pantries of Carbon County.
She also serves on the Advisory Board for the Carbon County Agency on Aging and still volunteers at three long-term care facilities. She performs benefit check ups for aging residents and has helped people receive needed medications at no cost. She is a volunteer at Eckley Miner's Village Museum and has sewn lap robes for elderly people. She also sews hammocks for the cat shelter. She continues to volunteer her time for elderly people.
Her $100 award was presented to Carbon County Shepherd House.
Reilly asked those attending the event to continue to nominate individuals deserving of the honor.
The past heroes attending the banquet were, 2000, Randall Smith and Sue Urban; 2001, Sandy Gallagher and Edith Thrash; 2002, John Drury, Virginia Dunbar, Madeline Ligenza and Shirley Radler; 2003, Manuel DaCosta and Jimmy Gallagher; 2005, Charles Silliman; 2006, Susan Arner and Wayne Nothstein; 2007, Larry Arner and Fred Hussar; 2008, Gail Maholick; 2009, Sue Anthony and Richard Nothstein; 2010, Marveline Costenbader, Jeana DePuy, Randolph Gormley and Francis O'Donnell; and 2011, Otto Barbush and 2012, Peter Kern and Rose Marie Mikulski.
The Rev. Stanley Haupt offered the invocation.