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2013 Community Health Leadership Academy

2013 Champions of the Community

         What does it take to become a Champion of the Community? It takes a long term commitment to volunteerism for the betterment of the greater Phoenixville region. The
Phoenixville area has a great tradition of community giving. Four individuals, who exemplify such a giving spirit, were honored by the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation as “Champions of the Community” for 2013.


        The Champions of the Community Award Program was created by the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation thirteen years ago to honor area citizens – unsung heroes – who freely give their time, talents and resources to make our greater Phoenixville communities better places to live, to work, to play and to raise a family. Since that time sixty-two people have been recognized as community champions.


This year twenty-four nominations were received from within the greater Phoenixville area. An independent selection committee, facilitated by Lynn Pike Hartman the Foundation’s Vice President for Program, gave consideration to each nominee and chose four as the 2013 Champions of the Community. As a part of their award, each Champion received a $2,000 donation, made in their name, to the charities of their choosing. These Champions, as well as all the 2013 nominees, were honored at a luncheon on November 22nd, held at the Phoenixville Country Club.


George Mansur was nominated by the Church Council of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. For more than 17 years Mansur has been giving back to the Phoenixville community through the Kiwanis, through St. John’s Lutheran, the Firebird Children’s Theater, Diversity in Action and Alianzas. He has served in a leadership role
with the Phoenixville Kiwanis, chairing the Children’s Plaza Arch project on Bridge street and co-Chairing the Children’s Summer Programs at the Plaza. He is a key leader in interfaith relationships planning an Interfaith Prayer Breakfast in an act of healing after 9/11, and other such interfaith activities. The common thread that weaves all of these organizations and activities together is his commitment to building bridges and understanding between the religions and peoples of the world and bringing the people of
Phoenixville into these important conversations. In their nomination St. John’s said, “George’s gifts of wisdom, his passion for the poor, for peace, his love of learning, and love of Phoenixville are a true blessing for us”.
Mansur requested his $2,000 charitable award be divided among Alianzas, Firebird Children’s Theatre, and Diversity in Action.


Ellen McNeill was nominated by Sister Christine Kranichfeld. For over twenty-five years McNeill has been a part of the St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter. She started in
1988 in the basement storage area and over the years moved upstairs to eventually Chair the Board of Directors. She helped lead St. Mary’s from an affiliate of the Sisters of St. Francis to an independently incorporated organization. Along the way she spearheaded efforts to raise the funds necessary to keep St. Mary’s going. In her nomination Sr. Chris said, “It may seem that all these many hours served the Shelter but not the Community. But it is because she has competently handled the internal affairs that the staff was
free to handle the residents. It was because she raised the dollars to pay the bills that the Shelter could extend services to the needy. It was because she helped to assemble the food baskets that we fed the needy. So you see, she is like the capable ER nurse, she doesn’t do the surgery, but you would perish without her.”
McNeill requested her $2,000
charitable award be given to the St. Mary’s Franciscan Shelter.


David Meadows was nominated by Brian Gallagher. Meadows has volunteered with the Phoenixville Fire Department for over forty years. Over the years he has served
in various positions in the fire service and he currently serves as President of the Phoenix Hose, Hook and Ladder Company No. 1. Meadows has also served on Borough Council and has volunteered with the Phoenixville Library and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. In his nomination Gallagher stated, “A great personality trait is his ability to always listen, to be a calming voice and review all possibilities before rendering a position or decision. This trait has served him well in life, with the utmost respect by his peers and friends and the development ofhis two adult sons following in his footsteps.”
Meadows requested his $2,000 charitable award be awarded to the Phoenix Hose, Hook and Ladder Company No. 1.


Robb Spitz was nominated by Dodi Strunk. Spitz has been a volunteer with the
Phoenixville Marion Youth Club for more than 20 years and has served on the
Executive Board since 1994. Presently he serves as Vice President and as the Boys Basketball Commissioner. Under Spitz’s tenure as Commissioner the basketball program has grown more than 100% and provides instruction and competitive play for more than 300 children in our area. He is also a graduate
of the Community Health Leadership Academy where his leadership project was to
re-organize the internal policies and procedures of PMYC. Spitz also co-chaired
the Leadership Academy Anniversary project to build a Chess Park in Reeves Park
in memory of fellow graduate James Deoria Sr. In her nomination Strunk said,
“Friends would describe Rob Spitz as 'the go-to guy’. Whatever you need: a
hammer, a truck or a helping hand – Rob is your guy."
Spitz requested that his $2,000
charitable award be given to the Phoenixville Marian Youth Club.


Other nominees who were acknowledged at the award luncheon were Daniel Baer, Joan Beregi, Timi & Walter Cory, Gwynne Hagee, Claire Harper, Diedra Heitman, Brett Illig, Emil [Jay] Kolick, Susan & Bob Marshall, Jacob Martinez, Antonietta Maruscak, Susan Meadows, Teena Peters, Joseph Rowan, Rosalyn & Bernard Sheckleford, Alexander Szabo, Jr., and Eubank [Ted] Travis-Bey.


Louis J. Beccaria, President and CEO of the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation said, “The Foundation also strives to be a champion of community health … physical, mental, social, economic, and civic. Each year we search for those ‘unsung heroes’ of our community – those who are often overlooked for their efforts to make the greater Phoenixville area a better place. We feel privileged to be able to honor them. They contribute significantly to the overall health and quality of life of our community.”