April is National Volunteer Month. Nine volunteers from the city of Allentown were honored last night with a Mayor’s Service Award from Mayor Ed Pawlowski. The recipients were nominated for their volunteer efforts in faith based or community organizations. In addition the Snow Angels group received a Service Award for its volunteer efforts to provide snow removal services for qualifying senior citizens.
Vincenta Contreras, Secondina Barreto, Luis Gonzalez, Carmen Cruz, Rosa Gonzalez and Felix Escalera were recognized in the faith based category; Emilia Dolores Odi, was honored in both the community and faith based categories and
Paulette Hunter and Emilo Gumbs were honored in the community category.
Felicity Febres and Jesse Farr were presented with the second “Hero Up Award” in memory of the late Zachi Telesha. The 12-year-old Allentown boy passed away in April 2013 after a more than five year battle with cancer. Young Zachi invented his own members of a crime-fighting team called Hero Inc. His 32-page comic book entitled “Hero Up” was published by Rodale Inc.
“Zachi believed that people of all ages are able to do a little something every day to make Allentown and the rest of the world a better place,” said Pawlowski. “I was privileged to know him and I am pleased to honor Felicity and Jesse with the second “Hero Up Award.”
On her nomination form Felicity was credited with always stepping-up to the challenge and making sure that snow was always cleared for visitors at her church. Felicity also showed compassion and practical love while spending countless hours caring for a disabled child.
Jesse has been participating in the Lehigh County Youth Association (LCYA), serving as treasurer, football and baseball coordinator and coach of several sports teams. He also serves snacks and drinks to customers and water to players. Young Jesse also is the first to arrive and the last to leave the fields.
In addition Mayor Pawlowski honored the Love Our City grant recipients for their volunteerism efforts.
Allentown received a $25,000 Cities of Service grant in 2013. Those funds were awarded as $750.00 mini-grants to businesses, organizations, and neighborhood groups. The Love Our City grant projects addressed, but were not limited to, clearing of illegal dumping projects, graffiti removal, cleaning of littered neighborhood blocks and alleys, clearing of tree wells, community gardens, community art and lighting improvement projects.
These groups included: Faith Church, Library Area Neighborhood Association, Liberian Association of Northeastern PA, Community Action Development Corporation – Allentown, Lifechurch, Mosser Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Old Allentown Preservation Association, United Youth from Roberto Clemente Charter School, Hamilton District Main Street Program, Union and West End Cemetery Association, Asbury United Methodist Church, Allentown Central Catholic HS Ecology Club, Oakmont Tennis Club, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, West Park Civic Association, Person Directed Supports Organization, West End Alliance and Friends of the Allentown Parks.