Heritage Center hold ribbon-cutting to celebrate new handicap ramp
SHERI RYAN/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Participating in the ramp ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Summit Hill Heritage Association are from left, Bobby O'Gurek; Dawn Ferrante, Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and Carbon County Economic Development; Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard; Martha Rex, Chamber of Commerce; Summit Hill Mayor Paul McArdle; "Elvis" (Johnny M.); and Dave Wargo, Summit Hill Heritage Center vice-president.
Come one, come all!
In an ongoing effort to reach out to every member of the community, the Summit Hill Heritage Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday to celebrate its new handicap accessible ramp.
"It's been a couple years in the works," said center president Deb Ranck.
Of course, money was an issue.
But that is where Summit Hill resident, Bobby O'Gurek stepped in. O'Gurek, who designed and maintains the center's website, posts all the updates for upcoming events at the center.
"I thought to myself, I wish I can go to these events; however, I couldn't get in the Heritage Center by myself," said O'Gurek. Kindhearted members offered to carry O'Gurek in his electric wheelchair to provide him access, but due to the 400-500 pound weight, O'Gurek felt it best not to go so that no one would be hurt.
Instead, he wrote a letter to the First Federal Charitable Foundation seeking grant money for the ramp.
"That letter made a profound difference in getting the funding from the foundation," said Ranck.
"With getting the grant for the ramp and the ramp completed, anyone who has a disability or has trouble walking up and down steps can now go to events in the Heritage Center," O'Gurek added. "I would like to personally thank the Hazleton foundation for the grant."
Also on hand for the ribbon-cutting was Carbon County Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard.
"They say that volunteerism is dead, that nobody cares anymore. You are proof that those statements are false, especially here in Summit Hill," said Gerhard.
"You have done a fantastic job by creating this Heritage Center. You have given people a place to come; to see and to learn. And now by installing this handicap ramp, you have made this center accessible to everyone. Current and past residents now have complete access to this center to enjoy.
"These are trying times we live in. People seem to take on a negative approach to things when times are tough, but you good people are a shining light a beacon of hope," Gerhard added.
"You continue to forge ahead to make things brighter. I congratulate you for your efforts to bring good things to the community and the county as well."
Others who helped make the new ramp possible include the Summit Hill Recreation Commission, Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization, Lansford-Summit Hill Community Partnership, the NEPA-Alliance and Josh Steigerwalt.
The Heritage Center has been open since October of 2010 and offers various forms of entertainment as well as numerous educational and social activities. It is also home to the Summit Hill Food Pantry and Church on the Rock. Last summer, it was the location of a free lunch program for area children.
The center truly has something for everyone, and now, everyone may enjoy any or all of the activities that are held there.
For more information on the Summit Hill Heritage Center, visit http://www.summithillheritagecenter.com.