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Lower Burrell man cited by Greensburg diocese for dedication to faith

| Monday, March 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
John Kane of Lower Burrell, left, shown with Monsignor James Gaston in the sanctuary of St. Margaret Mary Church, received the Salt and Light Humanitarian Award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Eric Felack, Valley News Dispatch
John Kane of Lower Burrell, left, shown with in the sanctuary of St. Margaret Mary Church, received the Salt and Light Humanitarian Award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

John Kane believes that you have to give back what you've been given.

Kane's dedication to doing that has brought him recognition from the Diocese of Greensburg Catholic Charities. He's the recipient of the annual Salt and Light Award for Humanitarianism.

The award is given to one individual in the diocese each year. Another award, for philanthropy, is also given.

Kane, 73, will be honored at an April 25 banquet in North Huntingdon, along with the winner of the philanthropy award.

Recipients are selected based upon their demonstration of values like family preservation, inclusivity among races and cultures, moral vision and action and the pursuit of peace and protection of lives, according to Catholic Charities.

Kane was nominated by Monsignor James Gaston of St. Margaret Mary Church in Lower Burrell, where he is a member.

To Gaston, Kane embodies the qualities for which the award is given

“I thought John was a great candidate,” he said. “(The award) is not just about believing in something, it's creating a life around it,” he said.

A member of the church for about 50 years, Kane said that it was around the time his children, now grown, were in school that his interest in giving back began. At that time, he began volunteering his time with educational activities, such as serving on the Burrell School District Board of Directors.

“I have always been interested in helping the children who weren't getting the help at home that my children and others enjoyed,” he said.

To that end, Kane has been involved with a host of efforts throughout the years, among them, serving on the Burrell Education Foundation board of directors, volunteering as a tutor and mentor at the Salvation Army's “Ark of Learning” and the People's Library board of trustees.

In addition, Kane, who retired after a three-decade career at Alcoa, has participated in a number of other community-related initiatives, including the Alle-Kiski Revitalization Corporation, Alle-Kiski Faith in Action and the Burrell and New Kensington Rotary Club organizations.

With his church, Kane has been equally as involved, serving on its parish council and volunteering as a religious education instructor for 25 years. Most recently, he has served as St. Margaret Mary's coordinator of ministry.

“There are so many things going on that they need to be organized and coordinated,” Gaston said. “John helped me very ably.”

Kane credits the people of the parish with making the church's many efforts a success.

“St. Margaret Mary's ministries are very hospitality-centered and welcoming ministries,” he said.

As for the award, he calls his receipt of it a “singular event” and a pinnacle for his life, especially since it is tied so closely to his faith.

Kane said seeing his family following in his footsteps through their own dedication to faith and service is his greatest reward.

“I'm so proud of the fact that my children and grandchildren are carrying on that family tradition,” he said. “That's where I get my real pride.”

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