United Way Honors 12 Volunteers Who Give Back To Community

The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County honored 12 volunteers Wednesday during its annual Volunteer of the Year Reception held at the Winifred Crawford Dibert Boys and Girls Club in Jamestown.

Mike Roberts, vice president of the United Way board of directors, began the ceremony by saying volunteerism is part of building a stronger community. If one was to measure the amount of work volunteers do in dollars and cents, one volunteer hour was worth $22.55 on a national average.

Vince Horrigan, Chautauqua County executive, and Sam Teresi, Jamestown mayor, also took the time to thank all the volunteers for their hard work they have put into the community.

“It’s the volunteers, it’s the United Way, who come together who are the heart and soul and strength of our community,” Horrigan said.

“We alone in government cannot solve problems. We do not have that opportunity. We do not have the resources,” Teresi said. “Mike was talking about the value of volunteerism and putting a number on it. I’m not sure if we can.”

The volunteers recognized were that of United Way’s partners. Bill Tucker of the American Red Cross began the recognition ceremony by recognizing Lin Baylis who’s on call for the American Red Cross 24/7. Baylis takes all of the calls from the police and fire departments when a home burns down or is flooded.

Jeff Kroon of the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown honored the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 106. The IBEW retrofitted every single light fixture in the building is less than four hours one Saturday morning in December.

Lisa Goodell of the Chautauqua Blind Association Vision Rehab Services honored Kris Hirsch. Hirsch has been volunteering with the CBA for five years and has done everything from painting to landscaping. Every project that Hirsch and a group of people plan is finished in one day. Goodell said Hirsch goes above and beyond the call of duty and notices things others have missed and gets them done.

Frank Berick of the Chautauqua Adult Day Care honored Ken Hardley. Hardley has been volunteering for over five years, providing his services as a musician. He plays for special events and programs, and gets people involved and having fun.

Debra Basile of Chautauqua County RSVP honored John “Jack” Kachermeyer. Kachermeyer has offered over a decade of his services to help with the income taxes of seniors and low to moderate families. He handles all the behind the scenes prep work. Kachermeyer, and a group of five other people, handled 598 tax cases this season with a 98.55 percent accuracy rate.

Pam Gustafson of the Chautauqua Striders honored Alexander Harvey. Alexander is a senior in high school, who has put in 130 hours after school tutoring those who need help and became a Shepherd’s Helper for three years. Gustafson said at the age of 9, Alexander was always looking at the world at large and would be someone to help change the world.

Kathy Park of Court Appointed Special Advocates honored Mary Ann Zimmer. Zimmer has put in 940 hours over the four years she has been volunteering making sure families get reunited. She managed to change the lives of three families and goes above and beyond to make sure that the families will be able to be reunited.

Jim McElrath of the Family Service of the Chautauqua Region honored Joe DiCarlo. Even after DiCarlo’s board term expired, he continued on as a volunteer. He became concerned about bullying in the community. This concern turned into a conference to be held on May 22.

Denise Beeles-Johnson of the Girl Scouts of Western New York honored Jennifer Brooks. Brooks has an incredible work ethic and, according to Beeles-Johnson, doesn’t realize she is the steady force and hard worker in the Girl Scouts. She services a troop of 28 girls as well as the adults of Girl Scouts.

Barrie Yochim of Meals on Wheels honored Christ First and Bemus Point United Methodist churches. The churches helped Meals on Wheels get food to the elderly on a countywide basis. Thanks to the efforts of these two churches, more people can be feed across the country, and they are given more meals per “Blizzard Box.”

Mark Eckendorf of the YMCA honored George Panebianco. Panebianco works is a policy volunteer for four consecutive terms now. He’s the vice president of the policy volunteers and is active on all the committees. Instead of just staying with the policy making, Panebianco offered his services across the different programs the YMCA offers.

S. Beth Oakes of the YWCA honored Charlotte Carlson. Carlson has served 19 years on the board of directors. Oakes said Carlson is committed and being active in the YWCA, and has a large heart for the woman of the program. Carlson serves as an ambassador for the YWCA across the community and has been a good role model, always willing to help when there was need.