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Pennsylvania Community Hall Of Fame

 

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Alfred Jendrasik, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Winning Writer: The person who I think should get the Winners Within Us Award is myself. My father had a fatal stroke and was incoherent for two years. My mom visited him each and every day unless she was sick or there was bad weather. My family had to put him through the hospice program. My mom missed him so much after he died, her horrible sadness and pain were unbearable. Her pains and struggles made me think, if only we could leave this earth and be with our loved ones without having to die, thus my story came alive, “The Other Side of life.” I submitted chapters of my book to a contest, won first prize, and Bantam offered to publish it for me. I have fulfilled my dream and now I want to share it with others. It is doing well and many bookstores are displaying the book on their shelves, offering me book signings, and now I hope you will give me a chance to tell my story.

Audrey Cornell, Girard Pennsylvania. Winning Parent: My grandmother is the perfect person for your inspirational stories section. She is a wonderful person. She is a widow to 2 husbands, both of whom died of natural causes. She has 7 children all of which had children. She has 24 grandchildren and many more great grandchildren. She just had her 84th birthday. By Venessa Thompson

Barbara Mullins, The Borough of Manheim, Pennsylvania. Winning Senior: She is a cancer survivor, widow to an Air Force man, mother, grandmother and also great grandmother. Barbara Mullins is a hero in Manheim because of her strength, love and faith. She has a fighting spirit and a compassionate heart that continues to keep her going. By Ash Engesser

Becky and Bob Gomes, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Winning Restauranteur: Becky and Bob own a local restaurant – Nakama. They are very involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and have Pittsburgh Celebrity Chef Cook-offs in their restaurant to raise money for the charity. By Nicole Sebula

Bonny Diver, Pittsburgh, PA.  Winning Samaritan: Bonny Diver is familiar to Pittsburghers as the voice on the first radio station in the nation, KDKA. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, she shared her story with her listeners. After beating cancer, Bonny stepped up to fill a need for other cancer patients with Hair Peace Charities. She founded this unique nonprofit to raise funds to buy wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy. Most Pennsylvania health insurance plans do not cover this necessary expense. To date, Bonny has helped over 400 women buy wigs during the grueling chemotherapy process. In her words, losing your hair feels like another victory for cancer. By Hilary Daninhirsch

Chance Zobel, Columbia, South Carolina. Winning Citizen: Chance was an outstanding young firefighter (page 23) whose life was tragically cut short in the line of duty on November 15, 2010. I want Chance’s story to be told from a retired firefighter’s point of view, someone who has been there himself. Someone who understands the firefighting brotherhood from the inside. I believe that if Chance’s story is told, another life can be saved if people pay attention while driving. By Chris Davis

Christopher Nothstein, Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Winning Youth/Samaritan:Christopher started his volunteering at a young age when he joined the Boy Scouts, but he didn’t stop after that ended for him. For years he has gone around town and put up posters for the Red Cross blood drive every single year, rain or shine. In the past 15 years he, along with the Boy Scouts of Troop 145, has delivered over 2,700 posters alone. He is a small town hero and volunteer, and has made a difference in lives of many people who live in the town of Lehighton. By Jana Boskey

Corey Barger, Lewistown, Pennsylvania,Winner Against the Odds: Corey has battled bipolar disorder for probably 10 of his 21 years. During his battle, numerous hospitalizations, and many changes in medication, he has been able to attend school full time (with an A-B average)and work off and on part time. He is truly amazing because, through all of this, while most of us would only feel sorry about ourselves, Corey’s main ambition is to become a psychiatrist so he can help others. He is totally committed to succeeding at becoming what he dreams about. Everyone who knows him will tell you not only what a struggle he has had, but how proactive he is at assisting the community in gaining knowledge about this affliction. He is truly a WINNER. By Sherri Cassatt

Cynthia Grant, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Winning Jeweler: Cynthia makes various pieces of jewelry. Depending on which piece of jewelry you purchase she donates half of the proceeds to one of the three charities she is very involved with. By Nicole Sebula

Dan Milius, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Winning Patriot: Although Dan Milius has always been a resident of the Philadelphia area, as a young man in the 1960’s he journeyed to the foreign land of Vietnam to fight for his country. Unlike many his age, however, he volunteered to do this, and, even more striking, turned down a lucrative job offer from Disney in the process. He is greatly patriotic and has no regrets. He says the only advice he can give to younger generations is to follow the path one believes in, as he did. By Jan E. Hammerquist

Donna L. Allie, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Winning Merchant: She is an entrepreneur who has made a major impact in the Philadelphia region. She is the founder and president of Team Clean, a commercial cleaning company with sales of $14.0 million. As a single parent of a toddler, determined to support herself, she began cleaning homes. After six months she was in such demand that she hired other women in pairs to handle the assignments. Now she is growing Team Clean into a socially and environmentally responsible full-service company. She is the recipient of many awards, including the 2007 Jackie Robinson MVDBP Award from Major League Baseball. By Sandy Choukroun

Dr. Barry Zoumas, State College Pennsylvania, Winning Benefactor: Mr. Zoumas has recently passed, but while he was alive he helped so many people build their self-confidence in so many areas of their lives. He believed in people and therefore enabled them to believe in themselves. He was a devoted husband, father, co-worker, and friend. By Tammy O’Brien

Forgotten Felines and Fidos, Germansville, Pennsylvania. Winning Samaritan: This organization takes in both cats and dogs that have been abandoned, abused, hurt, orphaned since year 1, etc. These people will neuter, spay, vaccinate for half the regular cost, just to help. I have volunteered at this place, and was inspired by the love they give to all these loveless animals. They will take in as many animals as they possibly can, and never turn any away. They have saved countless lives and have given these pets a new lease on life, which is always priceless. By Jana Boskey

Dr. Gerard Schubert, Center Valley, Pennsylvania. Winning Administrator: Dr. Schubert is a winner for having founded the Performing & Fine Arts Department at DeSales University 40 years ago and founded the Pennslvania Shakespeare Festival in Center Valley, PA 20 years ago. His passion for theatre arts has launched many a career and revitalized live theatre in the Lehigh Valley! By Dee Long

Hamid Chaudry, Ken Horst Pennsylvania, Winning Citizen: He runs a Dairy Queen in Pennsylvania. He has drawn a lot of attention because he helps host fund raisers at local schools and donates a lot of money and time to bettering his community. He helped pay for the funeral of a deputy sherrif, donated free stuff to blood donors, etc. The primary reason why I am nominating him is the fact that he is a Pakistani, who has become a U.S. Citizen and in this era where all Pakistanis are branded terrorists and all Afghans are often characterized as working for Al Qaeda, it is refreshing to see a man who is proud and deeply grateful for being a U.S. citizen and to know that this gratitude flows from him in spades, like a river, touching everyone he meets and defining his belief of giving back to the community that has embraced him! He is a winning example for all of us. By Damayanti Chandrasekhar 

Jack Manuel & Diane Price, Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, Winning Benefactors: Fundraisers who have put on a dinner to benefit a local 17 year old boy, Miles Riley, who has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. Jack expressed interest in helping the Riley family raise money for cancer research, to be donated in Miles’ name. Diane Price, a professional fundraiser and another local, joined him. In January, Diane is scheduled to run a marathon in Disney World in honor of Miles. The dinner will raise money to get Diane, Miles, and Miles’ mother, Jean to the marathon. They are hoping to surprise Miles by having him accompany Diane for the last mile of the race. By Kristi Curtis

James Courtney James, Chattanooga, Tennesee. Winning Artist: James Courtney James has discovered a unique way to unite the immigrant community of Chattanooga: by painting their portraits! Three years ago, the accomplished artist left his successful print-making business and set about realizing this unbelievably labor-intensive project. The ensuing gallery event was quintessentially American, as each featured subject stood proudly near the portrait that now dignifies and maybe even immortalizes his or her journey to a strange, new place. Instead of basking in the limelight, James Courtney James seemed more interested in standing back this fine evening, enjoying to the cacophony of accents his work had miraculously brought together under one roof.  The night reminded me that this is what America has accomplished, as well, and I felt an unexpected surge of pride. By Melissa Mcclure

Monessa Tinsley-Crabb, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Winner Against the Odds: To say that my mother-in-law is a winner is to begin her story at the wrong end — and to believe that her story does, in fact, have an end. A little over two years ago Monessa was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating and devastating disease that steals the freedom, mobility, and strength of its victims. Even with that prognosis in view, my mother-in-law has never wavered, doing the best she can to take care of her husband, to write for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and to lobby lawmakers to provide more funding for research on the disease that plagues her every day. In spite of her condition, Monessa does more each day that most people who can be said to have a clean bill of health. With the aid of God, Monessa is dedicated not only to winning the internal battle against the disease, but to helping others win their battles as well. By Erin Carr

My Grandmother, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Winning Grandmother:  I will never be loved quite the same as I am loved by my angel, my Gran.  The love is relentless, immeasurable, infinite, and among the most precious I have ever known. When I am in her presence, I never feel defeated or insignificant. The compassion emanates from her words and her daily practice….to lighten human burdens, to bring a smile to friends and neighbors, to bring joy to others is the generosity she exemplifies with ease. A source of strength resounds within. She leaves such an impression on all who are blessed to know her. She has nurtured me in all ways….being with her enlivens my spirit, listening to her words inspires me. Hope–Faith–Compassion–Strength–Humor–Love I am honoring my Grandmother for portraying qualities of an angel (If only in my eyes, know that you have deeply touched one person in the world, and that is to have succeeded.) I have been taught the true meaning of life, to live fully and to love with every fiber of my being. By Alecia Ea

Rochel Tombovsky, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Winning Citizen/Samaritan:  Is the creator behind GIFT, (Giving It Forward Together) a unique program that provides courses, workshops and seminars to aged 50+ adults. Participants, in turn, use their newfound skills, knowledge and inspiration to advance the missions and goals of non-profits such as The Ronald McDonald House, Dress for Success, Mollie’s Meals, and The Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. By Dorit Sasson

Stan Popovich, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Winning Benefactor: Stan struggled with fear  for over 20 years and went through many trials. Stan decided to help people so they don’t suffer with mental illness by writing an effective book on how to deal with fear and anxiety. The book is very affordable whereas most books are very expensive. In addition Stan gives a lot of free advice on how to manage fear unlike many other authors in his field. Google “Stan Popovich” and “Stanley Popovich” to get a sample of Stan’s contributions. Stan has helped many people around the world with his articles and book. Stan gives free advice which can help save some people lives and reduce a lot of suffering. By – Self nominated.