Ross Township presents 1st citizen of the year award to couple who bear its name
In February Ross Township officials announced plans to recognize the countless residents who quietly use their time and talents to make the community a better place to live.
On Wednesday, the inaugural Durachko-Gottfried Ross Township Citizen of the Year Award was presented to the couple who bear the honor’s name — Dr. Peg Durachko and her late husband Dr. Richard Gottfried of Ross, who was one of the victims killed at the Tree of Life mass shooting last October.
Durachko attended the May 22 meeting to receive the honor.
“Through their dentistry practice, various causes and regular volunteerism, Dr. Durachko and Dr. Gottfried worked tirelessly to make Ross Township a special place to live and raise our families,” said Commission President Steve Korbel.
The commissioners plan to present the award annually to a Ross resident or group of people who have made a “meaningful and significant impact on our community,” according to officials.
Gottfried graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1974 with an undergraduate degree in English literature, according to a biography posted to his dental practice’s website.
He went on to receive a dental degree from Pitt in 1980, the same year he married Durachko, also a graduate of Pitt’s dental school.
The couple started their own dental practice in Ross in 1984 and were planning for retirement when the shooting occurred.
Gottfried and Durachko volunteered with the Catholic Charities Free Dental Clinic and served as marriage mentors at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in West View.
Copies of the plaques and a photo of the people who receive the award will be displayed in the township’s community center.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .