CLARION – The Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry honored a citizen of the year, lifetime achievement, volunteer of the year and two businesses Saturday night at the organization’s Annual Meeting and Awards Dinner held at Clarion University.
Both the Citizen of the Year and the Lifetime Achievement winners were not born in Clarion County but found themselves here at different points in their lives and decided to make Clarion home.
Tracy Myers of the Cancer Center at Clarion Hospital is the 2018 Citizen of the Year, Stephanie Wilshire of the Clarion Area Agency on Aging received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Kimberly Titley is Volunteer of the Year, the Clarion Psychiatric Hospital is the Business of the Year — Economic Development, and Highland Oaks at Water Run is the Business Education Partner of the Year.
Citizen of the Year
Traci Myers was born in Wilkinsburg and graduated from Franklin Regional High School and then attended IUP with a dual major in psychology and criminology. She also entered the IUP nursing program and graduated with a degree in Criminology, a degree in Psychology, and a degree in Nursing. It would still be a while before fate brought her to Clarion.
“Her ability to speak life and love into every person she encounters is unmatched,” said Tracy Becker, executive director of the Clarion Area Chamber. “The bottom line is that to her children she is the perfect balance of the parent and best friend. To the community, she is the heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears of the Cancer Center at Clarion Hospital. Staff and patients alike feel that it has become an outpatient health care facility of excellence because of her dedication and passion.”
Myers began her career in nursing at Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia in 1984, working as a staff nurse and a nurse manager on the medical/surgical floor. In 1988, she moved to Lancaster and worked at the Community Hospital of Lancaster as a staff nurse on the medical/surgical floor and also in the medical oncology unit until the middle of 1993.
Myers first brought her talents to Clarion in 1993. For the next 10 years she raised her two children, Ellen and Greg, and was very involved with the PTA at Immaculate Conception School and with Clarion Hospital Ambassadors. In 2003 she took a position with Dr. JoAnn Dragun at the Cancer Care Specialists in Franklin. Her employment was eventually transferred from UPMC and moved to the Radiation Oncology Department at Clarion Hospital from 2007-2009. She then served as nurse manager at the Cancer Center at Clarion Hospital and internal medicine, Office of Dr. Robert Luderer, where she still serves as an amazing asset.
Some of her main accomplishments at the Cancer Center include her vision to bring radiation oncology back to Clarion Hospital after UPMC pulled its equipment out of the unit. She helped with or attended every fundraising event that was held for the campaign to raise $2.5 million for a linear accelerator. She helped create the Patient Care Fund to help patients who were struggling to pay utility bills, buy groceries, or purchase gasoline for transportation to and from treatments.
Myers helped create the Clarion Sunshine Project, a nonprofit foundation to help patients with unforeseen and expensive costs associated with co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses that insurance companies do not cover. She also attended or has spoken to countless fundraising events over the past eight years.
She invests time into the young people in the community, including encouraging a little girl to hold her lemonade stand every summer, and a young man who was working on his Eagle Scout project to create a pavilion outside the cancer center for patients to enjoy the summer months.
Myers’ daughter, Ellen, eventually followed in her mother’s footsteps and is now an ICU nurse. Her son Greg lives in Franklin, Tenn. and is in the market for a position in environmental sciences.
Stephanie Wilshire was honored with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award, an award given to someone who has dedicated his or her life to worthy causes or somehow made an impact in society or in the lives of others.
Wilshire first came to Clarion from Chambersburg when she enrolled in Clarion State College as a German major where she also studied in Germany for a summer. She met her husband, Ron, and immediately after graduation she managed the Clarion area’s first self-service gas station at Exit 60 on Interstate 80. This was one of the first signs of her flexibility.
The couple later moved to New Bethlehem where she was a substitute teacher and held German classes for youngsters in the area. She later went back and earned her master’s degree in rehabilitative sciences with a concentration in gerontology.
In 1977, Wilshire went to work at what is now the Clarion Area Agency on Aging as an outreach worker. She rose through the ranks in the organization and is now the executive director. During her time there, she accomplished many things, including the establishment of the Clarion Main Street Center, serving as president of the statewide Directors of Aging, helping move the organization from a county agency into a private-nonprofit group, and just last year opened a new headquarters on Route 322 east of Clarion. She will be retiring this year after 40 years of service.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with older people throughout the various stages of my career,” said Wilshire. “There’s simply too many stories to tell but I’ve always been fortunate to have an outstanding staff throughout the years.”
Wilshire was a key member in starting the Senior Wellness Council in 2007, a group still active that holds two events each year, bringing social, recreational, spiritual and educational activities free of charge to an average of 230 seniors in Clarion County and the surrounding areas. She also worked to obtain a $10,000 grant from the state to provide education for seniors and use it for Senior Wellness Council activities.
She is also active with her church, Immaculate Conception, serving as a long-time church organist and member of Parish Council.
The Wilshires have four children: Hilarie, an elementary music teacher in London; Adam, a licensed professional therapist in Ebensburg; Allison, a data analyst with Gateway Health in Pittsburgh; and John, an Autism Support teacher in Harrisburg.
Douglas L. Sharrar
Volunteer of the
Kimberly Titley was selected as the winner of the 2018 Douglas L. Sharrar Volunteer of the Year Award. Born in Clarion, she is the daughter of Lloyd Sr. and Peggy Bachman. She has three older siblings, Ken, Dan and Deb, and a younger brother, Lloyd Jr.
Titley has served on the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry Board of Directors since 2013. During that time she has served on almost every committee at the chamber, and was co-chair of the Autumn Leaf Festival in 2016 and festival chair in 2017. She volunteered to co-chair the Christmas Committee and help organize the parade in 2017 and 2018, and has decorated the chamber office for several years for both the festival and Christmas season. She even built and donated games for the Touch-a-Truck and kid’s carnival event during Autumn Leaf Festival 2018 and has volunteered the use of her own games for both the “I Love Clarion” event as well as the Clarion Barbecue Festival for several years.
She also donated her time over the years with various organizations. She was involved with “Once Upon a Christmas” for several years and has been active with Girl Scouts. She was also a volunteer with the Fellowship of the Clover 4-H Club from 2005-2013 and she volunteered with the Keystone Music Association from 2010-2012.
Business of the Year — Economic Development
The Clarion Psychiatric Center was awarded the 2018 Business of the Year — Economic Development Award.
The Center has been a major regional resource for children, adolescents, adults and the Clarion area community for 30 years. In 2018, it expanded on that success with a $12 million expansion that added 36 new acute inpatient beds, now serving up to 112 people at any given time. The new expansion also called for an expanded workforce. At full capacity, the facility expansion adds up to 70 new employees, bringing the total employed to 225 people. The new addition increases the capability of helping Clarion County residents, and includes a conference center for mental health training for treatment providers in the region.
The business showed its understanding of the need to improve upon the local economy by hiring local construction companies and contractors for as much of their expansion project as possible.
Business Education Partner
Highland Oaks at Water Run was recognized as a 2018 Business Education Partner of the Year. Highland Oaks partners with Clarion University to provide students with experience opportunities in the field.
In January 2018, Highland Oaks established an internship program specifically targeting Clarion University students. Since that time, five interns and four co-op students have completed their field experience in various departments and specialty services throughout the company. Highland Oaks works very closely with the faculty of the College of Health and Human Services to provide the educational experiences necessary to help students develop their skills and understand requirements of their interested occupation. They have provided 14 first- and second-year students in the Rehabilitative Sciences Program with 12 service learning hours each, all during the fall semester.