The Greater Utica Division of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association honored 20 individuals and organizations at its annual Leadership Volunteer Awards Ceremony Friday morning. All of the award recipients have played a crucial role in helping the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association improve the health of the Greater Utica area community. These volunteers, companies, and local leaders help emphasize that “life is why” we do our important work.
Some of the top awards include the Distinguished Service Award, given to Tom Luley, and the Distinguished Leadership Award, given to Steve Gassner. Luley was honored for his work as the Course Director for walk events, including America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk, the Rome Run & Walk, the Kids Walk, and the Fitness Mill Walk. Gassner was recognized for his service as chairman of the Greater Utica Area Advisory Board of Directors.
The Heart Survivor and Stroke Survivor of the Year were also honored during the ceremony. Christine Myers started volunteering after she received a pacemaker. She offered her services as a volunteer to make a difference in other people’s lives. Myers handles many different volunteer jobs, including taking blood pressure readings, making phone calls, and helping with office work.
Stroke survivor Lisa Reichard was an inspiration to many at this year’s America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. She was determined to finish the three-mile course, but knew she would need extra time to finish. She contacted the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to see if she could start early just to make sure she could finish. Reichard crossed the finish line with her daughter and husband supporting her.
The AHA/ASA is also proud to honor Volunteer of the Year Albert Pylinski. Pylinski has filled various volunteer roles over the years with several committees, and will serve as the America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk Chairman next year. This year he helped set a new fundraising record as the Chairman of the Executive Challenge for America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. He was also the top individual fundraiser.
“Without our volunteers, the work the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association does in our community would not be possible,” said Executive Director Jennifer Balog. “We want to sincerely thank all of our volunteers for the hard work they do all year round.”
|Friend of Heart||First Source Federal Credit Union|
|Excellence in Improving Cardiovascular & Stroke Health Care Delivery||Mission: Lifeline Executive Committee|
|Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Elite Honor Roll||Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare|
|Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Honor Roll||Bassett Hospital|
|Outstanding Performance in Youth Market||Riley DutcherCarissa BennettAlain Shantel
PE Teachers Sue Osbourne and Kariane Busch
|Volunteer Youth Involvement Award||Kaitlyn Amarasinghe|
|Volunteer In Office||Christina Poplaski|
|Excellence in Cardiovascular & Stroke Information||Hands-Only CPR Committee|
|Excellence in Diversity||Mary Jane Tottey|
|Excellence in Advocacy||Dr. Frank Dubeck|
|Excellence in Resource Generation||Suzanne Hughes|
|Distinguished Service Award||Tom Luley|
|Distinguished Leadership Award||Steve Gassner|
|Heart Survivor of the Year||Christine Myers|
|Stroke Survivor of the Year||Lisa Reichard|
|Volunteer of the Year of the Greater Utica Area||Albert Pylinski|