P.S. Extension, C.C. agencies honor volunteers
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Carbon County Environmental Education Center presented the Educator of the Year award to Mari Gruber, owner of Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary. The Friend of CCEEC award was presented by naturalist Jeannie Carl to 14 Acre Farm. From left are chief naturalist Susan Gallagher; Gruber, 14 Acre Farm owners Sara and Kevin Ruch, and their children, Amarynth, Zinnia and Phebe; and Carl. Awards were presented at the annual awards banquet held Thursday at the Mahoning Valley Ambulance building.
Penn State Cooperative Extension, along with Carbon County Conservation District, Carbon/Monroe Farm Service Agency and Carbon/Monroe Natural Resource Conservation Service met for the Annual Awards Dinner Banquet held Thursday at the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Association.
Dwane Miller, Penn State Extension director, served as master of ceremonies.
During the evening's presentations, several individuals and businesses were recognized for their commitment to conservation, 4-H, volunteerism and service to the community.
Carbon County Conservation District Manager Chris Storm and District Chairman Josiah Behrens III presented awards to Scott Christman and Walsh Construction for their conservation of natural resources in Carbon County.
Christman is an officer of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Christman started his career with the agency 27 years ago. His role is to protect the local lakes and waterways.
Also recognized was Walsh Construction, the company which has two bridge projects under way in Carbon County, the Pa. Turnpike Bridge and the Harrity Bridge over the Pohopoco Creek.
Behrens said that Walsh Construction used extensive conservation efforts during the construction process of the two bridges, one in Parryville and the other in Franklin Township and should be commented for its efforts.
Accepting the award for Walsh Construction was Curtis Beverdage, project manager.
As part of conservation efforts, Jeannie Carl, naturalist; and Susan Gallagher, chief naturalist of the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, presented two awards.
Recognized as the Friend of the CCEEC was 14 Acre Farm family Kevin and Sara Ruch and Educator of the Year Mari Gruber of Bear Mountain Butterfly Sanctuary in Penn Forest Township.
Accepting the award for 14 Acre Farm were the Ruchs and their children, Amarynth, Zinnia and Phebe.
Gruber is presently celebrating her 10th year in business. She said that her business started with $1,200 and a dream and she thanked CCEEC for their support. "I'm the one who is truly blessed," said Gruber.
Monroe Cressley and Georgia Farrow presented the Rachel W. Hoffmeier 4-H Scholarship Award. This scholarship was established as a memorial to Rachel W. Hoffmeier. The scholarship of $250 was presented to Alexandrea Sestok of Palmerton. She is the daughter of Jerry and Vicki Sestok. She is a member of the Carbon County Bunny Busters 4-H Rabbit and Cavy Club.
Farrow also presented the Outstanding Leader Award to Jennifer Boyle of Lehighton and the Outstanding 4-H Supporter Award to Tony Boyle of Andreas.
Farrow and Mindy Graver presented the 4-H Leader Years of Service awards. The recipients are:
• 20 years - Deanna Cunfer and Dennis Cunfer, Lehighton; and Joan Kennedy, Summit Hill.
• 15 years - Diane Miller and Kevin Miller, Lehighton, and Ann Shoenberger, Palmerton.
• Five years - Richard Hook, Jan Wentz, and Donald Williams, all of Lehighton.
• One year - Colleen McCann, Albrightsville; Michelle Gower, Weatherly; and Rebecca Cunfer, Lehighton, one year.
Outgoing Extension board members were recognized, Howard Gregory, Weatherly; Jesse Mendez, Palmerton; and Adrienne Vasiliou, Summit Hill; and new Extension board members, Joan Kennedy, Summit Hill; and Betty Henry, Weatherly.
Outgoing 4-H Development committee members are: Courtney Getz, Palmerton.
Also recognized were Master Gardeners volunteers, Julie Foley, 500 hours; and John Kupec and Maryann Serafini, 100 years.