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Heritage Days begins with vespers, awards
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
By Tyler Kolesar Staff Writer
PHILIPSBURG -Philipsburg Heritage Days kicked off last night with the Vespers Service, followed by an emotional Awards Ceremony in which 10 local businesses/organizations were honored, as well as three individual awards.
This year's Vespers Service was held at Trinity United Methodist Church. Chairman Jim Pollock said the Heritage Days Committee always likes to show thanks/appreciation to those in the community and to God, and it has become the official start of the Heritage Days celebration.
The Vespers Service included performances from Valley Voices, which will also be performing Thursday night at 7 p.m., and heard from Pastor Mary Jo Bruinooge. Bruinooge, who is the chaplain at Windy Hill, gave a sermon titled "Letters Home" that coincided with the Heritage Days theme of "North and South Come Together."
Bruinooge said she used to date a man who was serving overseas, and always looked forward to the letters he would write back. She also said while letters of war stories are commonly known, the vast majority of letters were just about daily activities, and she read a couple letters from soldiers in the Civil War.
After the Vespers Service, the Awards Ceremony took place. Each year local businesses/organizations celebrating milestones (25 years or more, in five-year increments) are honored. This year the following groups were honored: The Moshannon Lodge No. 391, 175 years; The Progress, 100 years; Charles A. Jones Insurance, 75 years; Gospel Tabernacle Church and Saupp Signs, both 70 years; Reiter Insurance Agency, 50 years; Ricotta Jewelry, 45 years; Philipsburg True Value, 40 years; Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership and Professional Satellite Repair, both 25 years.
Pollock then announced three individuals would be honored this year for their contributions to the community. Two Special Chairman's Awards were given first, to Patty Coldiron and Nathan Myers. Coldiron, a former elementary music teacher at West Branch, has been the music director at TUMC for 40 years (with a room at the church now named in her honor) and has been the director for Valley Voices since its inception 16 years ago.
Myers, a science teacher at the Philipsburg-Osceola Area High School, has been the organist/pianist for Valley Voices also since its inception and has been with TUMC for the past 24 years. Myers has been involved with music in some capacity since the age of 7.
Both recipients were unaware they were to be receiving awards, as their emotions showed. Both also received standing ovations. Coldiron said she is "very, very proud" of teaming with Myers over the years as they have made music their life focus, but wouldn't be where they're at today if they didn't have the support of others.
"We're not a team unless we have all these people that want to sing with us," said Coldiron. "And they come and they give their heart. That's what makes it worthwhile. ... We both thank everyone we've ever worked with."
Pollock then said this would be the final year of the Chairman's Award in its current form. Last year's Chairman's Award was given to Jean Fooks, who died on June 1. Pollock said with the blessing of the committee and Fooks' family members, it will now be known as the Jean Fooks Legacy Award.
This year, the award went to Judy Sinclair. She also received a standing ovation. Sinclair has worked at the Moshannon Valley YMCA for more than 40 years. Pollock said she has made an impact on countless people throughout her years, through programs at the YMCA and other events for the entire Moshannon Valley area. Pollock noted that she has had her share of hardships but has overcome them valiantly and brings a smile to the face of anyone who walks through the YMCA doors.
Sinclair, who also had no clue she was to receive the award and was overcome with emotion, said after all this time she still loves what she does.
"Thank you very much," said Sinclair. "I've loved my job for 40 years and I still do."
Her love for her job keeps her going, and she joked that she doesn't plan to leave anytime soon.
"I know I'm old enough to retire," said Sinclair. "But I don't want to."
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