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Salvation Army recognizes those 'doing the most good'

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Peggy Watson, music instructor for the Salvation Army in Monessen, gives her thank-you speech for the Doing the Most Good award as Lt. Susan and Lt. Joel Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel listen, at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Hellenic Center in Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Peggy Watson, music instructor for the Salvation Army in Monessen, gives her thank-you speech for the Doing the Most Good award as Lt. Susan and Lt. Joel Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel listen, at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Hellenic Center in Monessen.
- Sophia Friday 2, enjoys some cake at the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. She is the granddaughter of Lt. Susan Thwaite of the Salvation Army.
Sophia Friday 2, enjoys some cake at the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. She is the granddaughter of Lt. Susan Thwaite of the Salvation Army.
jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Tyrik Davis of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel Teen group gives the invocation at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Hellenic Center in Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Tyrik Davis of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel Teen group gives the invocation at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Hellenic Center in Monessen.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Jeff Riker served as master of ceremonies at the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Jeff Riker served as master of ceremonies at the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Lt. Susan Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel gives her remarks at Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Lt. Susan Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel gives her remarks at Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Monessen.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - From left, honorees Peggy Watson, music instructor, Ashley Bergamasco, kindergarten teacher and Jennifer Godzak, principal of the Rostraver Elementary School; Bernie Thieser, Exalted Ruler of Monessen Elks Post 773, Lt. Joel and Lt. Susan Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>From left, honorees Peggy Watson, music instructor, Ashley Bergamasco, kindergarten teacher and Jennifer Godzak, principal of the Rostraver Elementary School; Bernie Thieser, Exalted Ruler of Monessen Elks Post 773, Lt. Joel and Lt. Susan Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Lou and Glenda Mavrakis of Monessen and Joe Greco of Donora pose for pictures at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Lou and Glenda Mavrakis of Monessen and Joe Greco of Donora pose for pictures at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Master of Ceremonies Jeff Riker and Salvation Army Lt. Susan Thwaite go over the program before the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Master of Ceremonies Jeff Riker and Salvation Army Lt. Susan Thwaite go over the program before the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Monessen.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Lt.Joel Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel gives closing remarks at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Lt.Joel Thwaite of the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel gives closing remarks at the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Patti Bigi, Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel board president, left, and Donna Doney of Smithton are pictured at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Hellenic Center in Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Patti Bigi,  Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel board president, left,  and Donna Doney of Smithton are pictured at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Hellenic Center in Monessen.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - The Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel Teens sing during the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. From left are Paulette Getchey, Lauren Anderson, Paige Drew, Alana Duncan, and Brianna Stout, all of Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>  Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>The Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel Teens sing during the Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. From left are Paulette Getchey, Lauren Anderson, Paige Drew, Alana Duncan, and Brianna Stout, all of Monessen.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Donora Mayor John Lignelli, left, and Herman Bigi of Carroll Towtnship attended the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Monessen.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Donora Mayor John Lignelli, left, and Herman Bigi of Carroll Towtnship attended the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, in Monessen.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Alice Thieser of Monessen places tickets in silent auction at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Alice Thieser of Monessen places tickets in silent auction at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - From left, Bart Meikle of Greensburg, Tom Totin of Greensburg, Mary Hughes, Salvation Army Senior Soldier, and Marshall West of Monessen are pictured at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>From left, Bart Meikle of Greensburg, Tom Totin of Greensburg, Mary Hughes, Salvation Army Senior Soldier, and Marshall West of Monessen are pictured at the Salvation Army's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent - Senior Soldier Larry Boyd gives the benediction during the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Jim Ference | The Valley Independent</em></div>Senior Soldier Larry Boyd gives the benediction during the Mon Valley Salvation Army Citadel's Doing the Most Good dinner on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012.

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Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 12:11 a.m.
 

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 12 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 cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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