Special events paytribute to volunteers


By:Mary Ellen Zangara
   National Volunteer Week was celebrated honoring the people who give their time unselfishly volunteering for others.
   A group of Manville residents were among those who were honored last week for their part in helping others by volunteering. Two award ceremonies took place and volunteers from the borough were honored and recognized.
   On Wednesday night, the 12th annual STAR Awards was held at the Edward Nash Theater at Raritan Valley Community College. The Sharing Time And Resources awards are sponsored by the United Way of Somerset County and the Courier News newspaper, and are given to individuals and groups that exemplify the highest spirit of volunteerism.
   Five volunteers from Manville were chosen from more than 100 nominations for this honor. Recipients were notified with an invitation to the awards and a short note about who nominated them. Families were invited to attend the ceremony with the recipients to share in their honor. Each received a certificate and a STAR pin.
   The program started with the youth volunteer awards. In this category, 10 young men and women were the recipients, including Manville student Jason Zangara.
   "Jason volunteers regularly at the Emergency Care Center at Somerset Medical where he greets and transports patients. Jason also prepares clean stretchers, runs errands, put together charts and performs many other valuable tasks to help patients and staff. Jason is known for being dependable and eager to help those in need," the program stated.
   In the adult volunteers category, Tim Burns was one of the many volunteers honored.
   "Tim, a veteran’s committee chairman of Somerville Elks #1068 and member of the American Legion Post #12 in Somerville, recently devoted his time, energy and resources to numerous efforts to benefit the Lyon’s VA Hospital and various other veterans groups.
   "Collaborating with the Somerville Elks, Tim’s hard work resulted in the donation of more than $160,500 in items and funds that aid disabled and hospitalized vets. Tim is dedicated to ensuring that all veterans be honored, cared for and respected," wrote his nominator.
   Senior volunteer Marie Krantz was also honored. Her nomination read: "Marie serves as a friendly visitor for the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills, visiting and checking in on people, running errands and driving them to appointments. A devoted and enthusiastic volunteer, Marie brings friendship and companionship to the lonely, while keeping in touch with them to ensure their comfort and health. Always willing to take on new clients, she is an untiring source for the VNA and those in need."
   A special Sept. 11 volunteer category gave Ayla Bruckman one of three honors.
   "Ayla is known as a personable and outgoing young woman who sets a fine example for others to follow. In response to the Sept. 11 tragedy, Ayla and two other young ladies made and sold 500 red, white, and blue pins. In just one weekend, the girls raised $400 that was donated to the Sept. 11 relief fund," her nomination reported.
   A highlight of the evening was senior citizen Helen Fedor’s receipt of one of the two highest awards presented that evening — The Christian T. Nielsen Unsung Hero Award.
   "Helen serves as a volunteer job coach for Midland Adult Services/Employment Services. In that role, she helps young adults with developmental disabilities learn the work skills and behaviors they will need to find employment in the community.
   "She accepts and respects each participant, often lending a listening ear when they have a problem and always laughing at their jokes. Helen volunteers five days a week in this program."
   Her nomination added, "Helen gives much and asks for nothing in return. We are blessed in having her with us each day."
   Ms. Fedor proudly accepted the award as her family and other members of the audience applauded. Afterward, a reception was held for all the honored guests and their families.
   On Saturday night, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2290 held their annual Loyalty Day recognition and dinner at the post hall on Washington Avenue that more than 200 people attended.
   Cmdr. Fred Gorbatuk was joined by Ladies Auxiliary President Gloria Kubiak and others in honoring eight people.
   Gloria began by saying, "Tonight we will say thank you by honoring eight individuals who have used the strength of their character to add strength to their communities. Individuals who have given their time, effort, training, skills and knowledge to help others."
   As the names of the honored guests were announced, a short statement was read about each of them. The first one recognized was Outstanding Police Officer Adam Albarran of New York City, who provided a brief account of his day on Sept. 11.
   Alexander Chorny, recipient of the Outstanding EMT award, is a volunteer member of the Chatham Emergency Squad which serves both Chatham Borough and Chatham Township. He has been am EMT since 1999 and volunteers his time and service to his community at a minimum of 60 hours per month. Mr. Chorny, along with eight other members of the Chatham Emergency Squad were dispatched to Liberty State Park on Sept. 11.
   The VFW honored as Outstanding Firefighter, Ken Otrimski, a police officer in a neighboring community and a volunteer fireman who has served on the Manville Volunteer Fire Department for the past 20 years. Mr. Otrimski held the rank of chief for 12 of those years and currently is the new Emergency Management Coordinator for Manville.
   Five people received Outstanding Citizens awards. Mike Chabra works with three organizations that are actively involved in the town all at the same time. With VFW Post 2290, Boy Scout Troop 193 and Cub Scout Pack 193, he organized a facelift effort for the VFW outside the hall. Mr. Chabra also with the help of the Boy Scouts, places 1,500 American flags every year upon the graves of men and women who have fought in America’s wars dating back to the Revolution.
   Cathy Glen-Henkel and Andy Henkel were also honored for all their involvement with Post 2290 as well as the VFW on the local, district and state levels. Both have taken a very active role dedicating many hours to the organization.
   Ron Koes, a retired teacher from the Manville school district and president of MIKES for Manville, has also been very active in town. After teaching 33 years here, he still continues to support the people of Manville even though he no longer lives in town.
   "I do live in Bridgewater, my house is there, my home is there, but my heart is here in Manville," he told everyone.
   Florence Niemiec was honored for her involvement also with the VFW in the local, district and state level. She has worked over the past 51 years for the betterment in the quality of life for our veterans and our community.
   Each of the recipients were given a certificate of appreciation from the VFW and a proclamation from Mayor Angelo Corradino on behalf of himself, Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., and the town of Manville.
   All of the honorees were given a special pin as well.
   Police Officer Albarran presented VFW Commander Fred Gorbatuk with the World Trade Center Bar from the New York City Police Department, receiving a standing ovation as Officer Albarran pinned it on him.
   Congratulations to all of you who have been recognized for all of your hard work in volunteering to help make our community or another community a better place to be.
Mary Ellen Zangara is a lifelong resident of Manville.