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Red Cross to honor 1st 'Community All-Stars'

| Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, 12:16 a.m.

“Every day, ordinary community members do extraordinary things, but they rarely receive the recognition they deserve,” the American Red Cross in Armstrong County said in a statement, adding that it plans to ensure such individuals are honored for their good deeds.

The Red Cross in Armstrong County will host its inaugural Community All-Stars event from 7:15 to 9:30 a.m. Nov. 19 in the Kittanning Country Club, 218 Belltop Drive, North Buffalo.

The event is sponsored by Snyder Associated Cos. and Farmers and Merchants Bank of Western Pennsylvania.

“Armstrong County is a wonderful place where community members are doing extraordinary things every day,” said Donna Pacella, executive director of the local Red Cross. “We are humbled to be able to recognize these individuals for their contributions to the local area.”

The breakfast event, planners say, will serve to recognize community members who have gone above and beyond in various capacities; these individuals will be recognized as “Community All-Stars.”

The Red Cross said the following community members and organizations will be recognized:

• Law Enforcement All-Star: Sgt. William C. Evans

In May 2013, Evans of the East Franklin Township Police Department was dispatched when a call came in that an individual was unresponsive. Thanks to his calm response and swift action, as well as his more than 30 years of service as a volunteer firefighter and law enforcement officer, Evans was able to stabilize the individual until paramedics arrived. His quick actions saved the person's life.

• Good Samaritan All-Star: Clifford Fennell

Last July, Fennell saved a woman's life when she caught on fire at a gas pump at the Shop ‘n Save in Franklin Village Mall. Fennell quickly pushed the woman to the ground to extinguish the flames. His quick response prevented the fire from spreading and causing further injury to the woman and destruction at the gas station. His actions potentially saved the lives of other individuals in the vicinity.

• Educator All-Star: Jason Zimmerman

Zimmerman, a faculty member with Lenape Technical School and Penn State University, goes above and beyond the call of duty in his role, encouraging his students to embrace success and excel not just in the classroom, but in life. He is the adviser for Students Against Destructive Decisions and assists with other extracurricular activities. He remains in contact with many of his students post-graduation, showing dedication to their continued success and growth.

• Educator All-Star: Dawn Kocher-Taylor

As the administrative director for Lenape Technical School, Kocher-Taylor prides herself in helping the school develop a workforce that meets the needs of the local industry and prepares her students to excel in their future careers. She is passionate about her work and much involved in the community. In addition to her role with Lenape Technical School, Kocher-Taylor is the president of the Armstrong County Chamber of Commerce and a board member with the newly formed Alle-Kiski Strong Chamber of Commerce.

• Community Partner All-Star: Farmers and Merchants Bank of Western Pennsylvania

Farmers and Merchants of Western Pennsylvania epitomizes the concept of a “hometown” bank, serving as both a strong financial institution and dedicated community partner. In addition to its generosity with donations and sponsorships, the bank has an active volunteer steering committee, led by Melissa Schaeffer, which strives to provide various volunteer opportunities to bank employees.

• Professional Responder All-Star: Armstrong County 911 Dispatchers

When most people hear the term “professional responder,” they think of paramedics, EMTs, lifeguards and firefighters. However, they often forget about the highly trained individuals who must provide direction and instruction in order to dispatch responders to emergencies. The Armstrong County 911 Dispatchers are vital to the emergency-response chain in the county, and the information they provide can often mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.

The Red Cross solicited and accepted nominations from area organizations, foundations and industries for community members who are deserving of the awards. An independent selection committee of local business professionals selected the recipients in each All-Star category.

Tickets to the event are $15 and can be purchased by calling 724-834-6510. Event and sponsorship inquiries may be directed to 724-465-5678 or Tessie.Amaranto@RedCross.org.

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