Salvation Army recognizes those 'doing the most good'
Peggy Watson was leaving Station Square after dinner a number of years ago when she came upon the Salvation Army band playing for a kettle drive.
She made a donation and thought, “If that works for me, maybe it will work for everyone else.”
The Canonsburg woman played in the army's band for several years before being recruited to run the organization's music program locally. Her music duties grew over the years.
Today, she teaches music to youths and adults in Monessen, giving them instruments to keep as long as they keep learning music.
That's how she is doing the most good.
Tuesday night, Watson was among those who received the Mon Valley Citadel's Doing The Most Good awards. Also honored were Monessen Elks Lodge 773, the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation and Rostraver Elementary School. The dinner event took place at the St. Spyridon Hellenic Center in Monessen.
“She's not just teaching them music, she's teaching them discipline,” said co-commanding officer Lt. Susan Thwaite.
“She's broadening their world.”
The Elks were honored for donating the use of their swimming pool during the Salvation Army's summer camp.
“We were pleased to work with the Salvation Army this summer,” Elks Exalted Ruler Bernie Thieser said. “We were glad to have you and look forward to next year.”
The Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation made a sizable donation in November 2011 to the Salvation Army.
“We were able to use these funds all year to help those who are not eligible for other programs to get electricity, gas, kerosene,” Thwaite said. “It's just a blessing to have people like that in this area.”
Rostraver Elementary School was recognized for its Stuff a Bus program last Christmas. Students and faculty members donated toys, which were stuffed on a bus and delivered to the Salvation Army.
In her opening remarks, Thwaite said the Mon Valley Citadel has grown tremendously since she and her husband, Joel, arrived in mid-2010. Today, 125 children are involved in youth programs that 2 1⁄2 years ago had just 10. Last summer, 115 children participated in the summer program that included breakfast and a hot lunch as well as entertainment and guest speakers.
The food pantry has tripled in size, feeding 120 families in October. Meals are also delivered to Westgate Manor with the help of students from the Agape program and the Belle Vernon Area Home Economics Club.
“We are just loving the area, loving the people and loving your being here tonight,” Thwaite said.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.