KITTANNING – Volunteers and their vital role with numerous Armstrong County organizations were highlighted last week by county officials as they proclaimed April 7-13 as Volunteer Recognition Week.
From a woman in her 90s, to a girl barely in her teens, the ACMH Auxiliary relies on 275 active volunteers to help throughout the hospital in Kittanning.
Tonilynne Stirling of the auxiliary was on hand at the April 4 meeting of the county commissioners to recognize the volunteers who, in total, gave more than 20,000 hours of their time to help out at the hospital.
“The volunteer program is very strong,” Stirling said, noting that approximately 70 of the hospital’s volunteers are teenagers.
“What I give in volunteering, I get so much more back,” volunteer Grace Anthony, who is in her 90s, told the commissioners. She said she urges her friends to join in with volunteering. “It’s so good to get out and socialize with people.”
At the other end of the age spectrum, Autumn Calhoun, 14, said she helps at the hospital’s snack bar, and Lenape student Jacob Satterfield said he has helped out in nearly every area of the hospital.
“I think it’s a really great program,” Satterfield, who plans to become a registered nurse, said of the cooperative program between Lenape and the hospital.
Janet Talerico, director of the county’s Area Agency on Aging, said many of her organization’s programs could not occur without volunteers.
“We couldn’t possibly provide the services we do without volunteers,” she said, noting that 267 volunteers contributed more than 17,000 hours to the agency last year. “We’re just one agency in the county that uses volunteers. The spirit of volunteerism is great in Armstrong County.”
Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai not only recognized the volunteers, but also proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
Jo Ellen Bowman, executive director of HAVIN, said volunteers are also crucial for her organization which helps local abuse victims.
“We have a lot of people who do a lot of great things for us,” she said, urging more people to speak out about sexual assault. “When you see something, say something.”
In the lsat year, HAVIN helped 357 sexual assault victims, provided 1,084 hours of sexual assault counseling and presented 224 programs at local schools and community agencies.
• County planner Carmen Johnston told the commissioners that the City of Parker could lose its Community Development Block Grant status if an upcoming income survey is not successful.
Johnston said that Parker, which receives a pool of CDBG money each year due to its status as a city, was recently determined as no longer meeting the city-wide designation of at least 51 percent of people being low income.
She said the city can challenge the ruling by conducting a demographic survey in which residents are asked to say what income range they fall within.
Johnston said the surveys will first be conducted through the mail. Volunteers may then go door-to-door to follow up with those who have not returned the surveys.
If the city does not meet the requirements, Johnston said it will still receive its CDBG funds; however, projects that use the money will no longer be city-wide, but will have to target streets or neighborhoods that do meet the income requirements.
• The commissioners gave their support for the Armstrong Trail and efforts to develop a series of trails linking Pittsburgh with Erie.
• Approval was given for a bridge maintenance agreement with Lee Porter of Porter Mowing Service. Officials said that for $5,000, Porter will sweep, remove debris and conduct other improvements at the 30 county-owned bridges.