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McCandless resident honored for volunteer work

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Teresa Amelio of McCandless (back) is the Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen of the Year after winning a competition sponsored by Trib Total Media and Direct Energy. She was honored for her work with North Hills Community Outreach. She and brothers donated the land that has become the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden in Bellevue to the organization. Amelio is pictured in the garden with her grandson, Charlie Palmer of McCandless.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

She didn't get up right away, even as her children urged her to stand.

“I was so surprised I just sat there,” said Teresa Amelio of McCandless, the newest Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen of the Year.

Her designation was announced at a gala dinner at the Sen. John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh on March 30. Amelio previously had been one of five finalists selected from 51 nominees in the second annual competition, sponsored by Trib Total Media and Direct Energy.

Amelio, 74, was recognized for donating family property that now is the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden in Bellevue, a garden that North Hills Community Outreach, or NHCO, uses to grow produce for its food-pantry clients.

“Given Teresa's initial land donation and the ultimate sustainability of her gift, the proverb ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime' certainly rang true,” said Todd Sandford, Direct Energy's vice president, small business.

Because of her laudable work, Amelio earned $5,000 for NHCO and $1,000 for herself. She immediately shared her portion with the four finalists.

“I'm glad Teresa's contribution has been recognized,” said Fay Morgan, NHCO executive director.

The $5,000 grant will be put toward garden operations this growing season.

There were many to thank, Amelio said, such as the sponsors of the event; Morgan, who nominated her; the other finalists, who had given so much to the community; and her mother, Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni, her inspiration.

“I was on such a high at the gala,” she said. “It was a surreal experience for me.”

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or

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