Slatington woman to receive Lehigh Unsung Hero Award
MARY ANN ENDY/Special to the TIMES NEWS Doris Oertner (right), adult stretch instructor, teaches her class at the Vigilant Fire Co. in Slatington as one of her regular exercise partners (left) takes part in the routine.
She makes them stretch each joint in their bodies from head to toe.
But, rather than resent her for the pain and agony they're about to endure, they understand their hard work will pay off in the long run.
In fact, those who have ever participated in one of Doris Oertner's exercise programs would likely say they're better off for the experience.
Oertner, who resides in Slatington, has been an adult stretch instructor for the Northern Lehigh Community Center for 13 years.
Because she's made a huge difference in the lives of others, Oertner has been selected as one of 14 individuals to receive the 2010 Unsung Hero Award.
She will be honored at 1 p.m. May 19, at the Lehigh County Government Center's Public Hearing Room in Allentown. Family and friends are invited to attend the awards ceremony.
Oertner, who was nominated for the distinction by Michelle Raber-Gass, general manager of the NL community center, said she was caught off-guard by the announcement.
"I was surprised," Oertner said. "I said, 'what does that have to do with me'"?
At present, Oertner said there are 105 members who attend her exercise program, held at 10 a.m. Mondays and Friday at the Vigilant Fire Co. in Slatington.
"We help people with arthritis," said Oertner, 73. "They say they can feel the difference right away."
Oertner said members get to use a stretch band to stretch their arms and legs, and also work with weights.
"I tell them 'do what you can until you can't do no more,'" she said. "I hear a lot of good stuff from people."
When she isn't busy with her stretch classes, Oertner said she enjoys needlework, and participates in walking clubs.
A mother to three sons, Oertner said she also helps watch her eight grandchildren.
Sponsored by the Lehigh County Aging & Adult Services, the Unsung Heroes Program salutes ordinary individuals who do extraordinary things.
It pays tribute to people age 60-and-over who display exceptional generosity with their time and talents for the benefit of the community, and/or to enhance the lives of others.
To nominate a person, one must complete and return a form with an attached essay that describes the accomplishments, activities and attributes of the nominee.
Nominee qualifications are that the person must be a resident of Lehigh County, must be age 60 or older, and previous winners are not eligible.