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November 2012
Congratulations to the 2012 Verizon/Frontier/FairPoint/Telcordia (V/F/F/T) Pioneers Hall Of Fame inductees who were recognized at the Pioneer Conference in Washington, D.C. on November 3, 2012! This awards program was conceived to honor the “Best of the Best.” The Pioneers selected for this honor have generously provided many years of their time and talents to serving their communities.

Special thanks to the following people for another successful Hall of Fame banquet: Ann Cove, administrative chair; Gabe Olah, awards chair; Diane Rodger, program/audio chair; Paul Redline, official photographer chair; Steve Kohn, executive director- V/F/F/T and Deb Foley, incoming executive director – V/F/F/T.

Alexander Graham Bell Chapter #15
Roberta “Bobbie” Tolson Roberta "Bobbie" Tolson

For several decades, Roberta “Bobbie” Tolson, because of her perseverance and dedication has provided an expression of nurturing and love throughout Montgomery County, Maryland. Bobbie and her team of Sunshine Girls have provided Hug-A-Bear, Lap robes and Pillows to local Police departments, Hospitals and Domestic Centers. Each item is packaged and delivered to individuals at Montgomery General Hospital, local Domestic Violence shelters and Nursing homes in the Montgomery County area and an annual delivery to the Rockville Police Department.Over the years, under her leadership, Bobbie and The Sunshine Girls have provided more than 10,000 items which include Hug-A-Bears, Soft Pillows, and lap Blankets. At times, if there was a shortage due to the team not being able to get together, Bobbie would create the monthly quota to meet the needs.

Bobbie has diligently given of herself for over 30 years to Telephone Pioneers and we are eternally grateful. She has been a true Pioneer, making a commitment to her community and an excellent team player.

W.J. Denver Chapter #20
Joan Carney Joan Carney

Joan is not one for attention. She does not like to be in the limelight. She is constantly and quietly working on projects in her community to make life better. She has been a Pioneer for 25 years and the Tri County Club President for over 10 years.She is always enthusiastically bringing Chapter projects to schools and hospitals in her area. Joan has been instrumental in leading our Hospitalized Veterans week Project every year. For over 15 years Joan has made sure the Veterans at the Northampton Veterans Hospital and the Soldiers Home in Holyoke are not forgotten. Each Valentine’s Day Joan is there with some kind of goody for them.

Joan has worked with Schools on our dictionary project, brought sneakers to children in need on our Happy Feet project and is always ready for a new commitment. Joan teamed up with SAGE Books to help soldiers and children in Afganistan by sending beanie babies and helmet liners to put a smile on our soldier’s faces and to let them know they are appreciated.

In the Fall of 2011 Joan lead a day of fun, art and education at the South Hadley Library. She arranged for artist Susan Pecora to paint a picture of the library outside in front of a live audience giving children art lessons at the same time. Each child brought home a picture they drew, a dictionary and a scholastic book.

Joan Carney is an asset to the Pioneers and her community.

Excelsior Chapter #98
Nina Gordon Nina Gordon

Nina Gordon started Pioneering as a “Future” Pioneer and she has always been ready to take on any task asked of her. She has attended numerous Chapter and Region projects, twice at Camp Badger in Spencer, NY, VP project in Sharon, MA and most recently the VP project at Camp Fuller in RI (just to name a few) over the last 20 years.Nina participated in many Pioneer Playground Map paintings at local schools in her area. She arranged to get a TV with a DVD and movies for the Domestic Violence Shelter in Elmira.

Nina volunteers at the Coffee Hour for the residents of the Bath VA hospital and annually organizes Casino Night, where the Pioneers donate dinner, snacks and numerous games and the Veterans can win commissary books. Nina was honored by the Bath VA hospital for her countless hours of volunteering for the Veterans.

Fort Pitt Chapter #13
Marie West Justine Marie West

Those who meet Marie West for the first time would assume her to be a quiet, unassuming person. Maybe so, but consider her current itinerary – treasurer of the Czechoslovak Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh for the past twenty two years, president of her local AARP club, and member of her church council. Past history includes a term on her local borough council and president of her local women’s club in addition to several terms of office in the Fort Pitt Chapter.Amidst all of the above, whom do we first think of when a volunteer is needed? Just one call and the reply is, “Sure, John, my Pioneer Partner, and I will be there”. She always has amusing stories about her Pioneer experiences such as her tale of addressing envelopes for local charities for hours when she and John each received $2.00 for lunch and carfare.

Marie’s consistent good nature makes her a pleasure to work with and she and John can always be counted upon to lend their support to help to ensure the future of the Fort Pitt Chapter.

Jasper N Keller Chapter #33 – FairPoint Communications
Christina Shea Christina Shea

Christina stepped up to the position as club President and brought the Pioneers back to the Portland area. She is very active with the March of Dimes, Animal Rescue League, schools in the community, the Ronald McDonald house, the Westbrook Food Pantry, the Make a Wish organization and many more non-profit agencies in the Portland, Maine area. Christina along with her husband Chris and their two children Connor and Kyra volunteer at Council projects. In fact, Connor (age 5) raised the most money one night at the Mall for the Salvation Army bell ringing.Christina has been very instrumental in clearing out various storage areas in the council area. She has saved many valuable antiques from either being destroyed or misplaced. We at the Keller Chapter are thankful to her for this.

Even though Christina hasn’t been a Pioneer for long, she has made a huge impact on the State of Maine and the Portland Council. We in the Jasper N. Keller Chapter are lucky to have her at the helm in Portland, Maine.

L.H. Kinnard Chapter #7
Roger Martz Roger Martz

Roger is an indispensable Pioneer member of the LH Kinnard Chapter. He leads (for 30 years) the housing and logistics committee of the Sports Jamboree, coordinating housing for approximately 300 people including contestants, their families and volunteers. He knows every in and out of working with the National Guard base where the Jamboree is held to secure needed items for the Jamboree.Roger worked with his partner, Lilly, for many years, taking Woodsy Owl to schools and parades to educate children about the anti-littering program. In 1972, he and Lilly had to be evacuated during the Agnes flood while they were in the middle of a Woodsy Owl program! As Council Environmental Chairman, Roger worked closely with the Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation, coordinating local Pioneers in collecting samples of gypsy moths to help the state eradicate the moths.

Roger has been Senior Life Member Rep and Susquehanna Club President. He continues to work with educational programs at schools, distributing dictionaries, books, and gift cards to teachers. For many years, Roger coordinated our Pioneer stand at the Bloomsburg Fair, educating the public on what Pioneers do in the community, and working with the Verizon external affairs manager on the company presentation at the fair.

Roger volunteered for several years as the Region Talking Books coordinator, conducting Pioneer training for local volunteers and attending Library of Congress meetings on Talking Books. Roger also is the longtime chairman of the Kinnard Chapter picnic held at a local amusement park, setting up bingo, games for kids, ride tickets, and food.

Roger Martz is actively involved as commander of the local VFW post. He coordinates the annual VFW Voice of Democracy scholarship program for high school seniors.

Liberty Bell Chapter #6
Ken Kunz Kenneth "Ken"Kunz

Ken has been a Pioneer for more than 35 years serving as the West Council President and Chapter President. Though Ken lost his wife, Alexine in 2010, he never deviated from his devotion to his family, Pioneer Family or his community.Ken assists in the delivery of Dictionaries to students, Heart Pillows, Breast Cancer Pillows and Hug-A-Bears to various organizations. He volunteers at the Coastal Clean Up in Delaware, and the Valley Forge Clean-up where he plants a tree in memory of Pioneers who have passed away in the past year. He assists children fishing at the J. B. Heinz Wildlife Reserve.

He volunteers the evening before the Chapter “Special Needs Christmas Party” wrapping gifts and setting up the room for the next day and then arrives early to set up the lunch trays, escorting the clients to their designated tables, giving out gifts and sees that they get to their bus at the end of the day.

For over 25 years Ken has volunteered twice a month serving dinners at the Ronald McDonald House with the West Council and Gerry’s Gang. He also helps with the Manna Meal Project, painting of Pioneer Playground MAPS and E-Maps, Domestic Abuse projects and the Northern Home for Children, just to name a few.

And in his neighborhood he mows lawns, rakes leaves, cleans the street, etc., plus he is very active in his Church and just coordinated the local 4th of July Parade. There is much more, but we must stop! If only Ken could!

Maryland Chapter #44
Ralph Blunt Ralph Blunt

Ralph joined the Maryland Chapter Pioneers in 1992. He has held several offices in the Maryland Chapter including Chapter President, Life Member Representative and many chair positions. Currently Ralph is the Maryland Chapter’s Dictionary Chairperson and Chapter Newsletter Editor.Ralph is known for his carpentry skills helping with the Habitat for Humanity Project, building handicap ramps, fixing floors, painting, etc. He is also involved in painting playground maps, reading books to elementary students with our Book’em Project, helping with school pantries giving out school supplies with our Students Under Construction Project. Ralph participates in our “Blankets of Honor” project teaching 4th and 5th graders how to make no-sew blankets that are donated to the Veterans at the Veterans hospitals.

Ralph has been involved in many fundraising projects; he helped at the concession stand at the Baltimore Orioles games and helps dish out steamed crabs at our Annual Crab Feast. He helped cook breakfast at our Breakfast with Santa.

Ralph previously was the Chapter Photographer and Chapter Newsletter Editor, he now fills in whenever needed.

McCully Downstate Chapter #81
Llywellon “Lew” Mohr Lew Mohr

Lew joined NJ Bell Telephone in 1953 and has been a dedicated Pioneer since the 1970’s. Currently our Life Member Representative, Lew has been serving since 1991 as Participation Chair and Secretary of the Trenton-Burlington Life Member Club.Lew delivers backpacks, books and dictionaries to schools, helps deliver food to the food banks and is always a welcome visitor to the in-house elderly. He is constantly filling up his van with donated items for various projects. Lew is an active participant at our Sports Jamboree and at Mt. Carmel Guild. We recognized his dedication with our Volunteer of the Year Award.

Lew’s volunteer work started in 12th grade when he was elected the first Student Council President of the new Pennsbury school system. His 40-month enlistment in the US Air Force included a 28-month Germany tour of duty during the Korean conflict. Lew returned home, married his beloved Isabelle (his wife of 55 years), was a Deacon and Elder of Morrisville Presbyterian Church for more than 20 years. He is a member of the American Legion.

In 1953 Lew became active with the Boy Scouts of America program as a scoutmaster and continues scouting today representing the TelecomPioneers. Lew has been recognized many times in Bell Magazine and has received numerous Scouting awards; the Silver Beaver, Henry Clime, James E. West Fellow award, and the United Way Adult Leadership Volunteer Award. A proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners named November 1, 2001 as “Lew Mohr Day”. In April 2012 Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick presented Lew with an American Flag (flown over the US Capital) and Citation Award.

Lew’s contributions have always been marked by a high degree of competence and enthusiasm. Others look upon him as one primarily interested in people and see his strong commitment to Pioneering.

McCully Upstate Chapter #12
Delores “Lorrie” Smith Delores "Lorrie" Smith

Lorrie joined the Pioneers in 1975, but it wasn’t until she became a Life Member that she truly got hooked. As a member of the Warren Life Member Club, Lorrie has held the positions of Secretary, Member-at-Large, Fellowship & Community Service Chairs and Club President twice.As a breast cancer survivor, Lorrie saw a need and initiated the Chapter’s “Lorrie Smith Pillow Pal Project”, where members made pillows and bags and donated them to local American Cancer Society Chapters to be given to mastectomy patients. Lorrie has been very active in the Club’s Bookmark Project, making over 500 bookmarks, which are donated to local libraries.

Other Club projects she’s involved in include cutting, sewing and stuffing Hug-A-Bears and Smart Bears, the Club’s Annual Picnic, where she has been an intricate part in the fund raising activities, the Lopatcong Care Center Project and the Food Backpack Project.

Lorrie has been awarded the Life Member Club’s “Pioneer of the Year” award twice; Certificates of Appreciation from the American Cancer Society and in 2011 was elected into the Hackettstown Senior Hall of Fame for her community service work through Pioneering and the American Cancer Society.

Lorrie is a hard worker; if there’s a volunteer project that needs to be done, she’s there to do it, no questions asked. Her warm personality and generous heart have made her beloved by all she comes in contact with, which is why, when Lorrie asks fellow Pioneers to participate in projects or help fundraise, no one ever says no. Lorrie Smith is the epitome of a true Pioneer.

Mountain Valley Empire Chapter #97
Harold (deceased) and Eleanor Hassett Eleanor Hassett

Pioneers since 1982, Harold, now deceased, and Eleanor have been and still are a force to be reckoned with. They worked together as “ONE” at all the projects no matter what it was or who the chairperson was. They love all that pioneering stands for. They both have their pet projects but no matter what project they showed up to work and responded as if it was their own project.Whenever the chapter needed help they were always the first ones to volunteer. On crutches, Harold came to many projects such as Pioneer Playground MAP painting, Camp rehab and the closing of the club meeting room which was in a Verizon building that was sold.

They were both recognized by the chapter in 2005 as Life Members of the Year. When Harold passed away in April of 2011 a great void was created in our chapter. He is greatly missed. Eleanor continues on with the same spirit that has made this dynamic duo vital members of our chapter. Eleanor continues to host the club meetings and Heart Pillow workshops in her home.

Nova Five Chapter #5
Sheila Etheridge Sheila Etheridge

Sheila Etheridge has been a dedicated Pioneer for over thirty years. She over extends herself when asked to fill in for a position or assist with any project. Sheila initiated a partnership program with the Red Cross, which allowed pioneer members to take courses for Disaster Preparedness during Cancer Awareness Month. Sheila was instrumental in having pioneer members partner with The Cancer Society to answer incoming calls where callers were informed where to go for free exams. She also organized a partnership with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and established a check point for Nova 5 Chapter.Sheila volunteered with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) North East Queens Branch with back to school projects where books, dictionaries, school supplies and backpacks were distributed to needy students within the Queens school district.

Sheila held many positions at the Chapter level, including Membership, Participation and Community Service Chairs and also held meetings and training classes. She was the project leader for the Centennial project and Feeding America’s Hungry, which serviced the New York City area.

Sheila has been Council President and Vice President, Life Member Rep and various other chairs.

Sheila’s enthusiasm reminds us what pioneering is all about, helping those in need in our communities.

Old Dominion Chapter #43
Clarice Troutman Clarice Troutman

Clarice Troutman has been a Telephone Pioneer since 1968. During her years as a Pioneer she has served as 1st Vice President and President of the Peninsula Council 1999-2001. Utilizing her knowledge of those positions, she has willingly mentored members who have followed her in those offices. She is currently a ‘Director-at-Large’ of the Peninsula Council. In addition, as chairman of the Fellowship/Calling Committee, she contacts 12 pioneers monthly with updated information on the regular monthly meetings and has them call the members.Clarice has chaired the Peninsula Council’s ‘Annual Picnic’ Committee since its’ inception in 2001. Our Council members look forward to the lunch and games as the culminating group event of the meeting year.

For over 3 years Clarice has delivered dictionaries to the 3rd graders of Gloucester County, Virginia schools. She commented that each year the children get very excited about receiving their very own dictionary.

Clarice was instrumental in initiating our Council’s annual cakewalk fundraiser. She also donates beautifully handcrafted purses and credit card holders for fundraising. Clarice is a willing volunteer and she delights in the services she performs for the community. Clarice volunteers for the Salvation Army, including its annual Kettle Collection project. She volunteers by ‘ringing the bell’ throughout the collection season, which collects funds in July, November and December for use at Christmas.

Since 2003, as a volunteer with the Meals on Wheels organization, she delivers meals twice weekly to homebound adults. She also gives the recipients gifts and cards on special occasions. She donates newspapers monthly to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association.

Paumanok Chapter #85
Maryann Wiese Maryann Wiese

Maryann has been a pioneer since the early 1970’s. She shows true pioneer spirit in all she does. She is currently the chapter partner chairperson and the Sagamore Life Member Club fellowship chair.Maryann is involved in many community activities including the veteran stand-downs, the packing of supplies for our soldiers overseas and the POW/MIA ceremony at Eisenhower Park. She was awarded a citation from the Nassau County Executive Office and the Veteran Service Agency for these efforts.

She has crocheted and knitted lap robes, baby blankets, preemie hats, prayer shawls for hospitals and nursing homes on Long Island. She can be found at nursing homes assisting the residents as they playing bingo, serving snacks and Christmas caroling. She is always there whenever we call upon her.

Maryann volunteers at park cleanups, walkathons, golden donor calling and blood drives, Special Olympics and the Easter Egg Hunt at Mill Neck School for the Deaf to name a few. She is very active in her church as treasurer for their Christmas fair and is a member of Maria Regina’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Gang making sandwiches and spearheading food drives for those less fortunate.

Thomas Sherwin Chapter #14
Joan Marino Joan Marino

The story begins at a Pioneer Luncheon in 1989 when one of the Council members handed Joan three Hug-A-Bears to sew. After that she asked the Company for a few volunteers to help her make more. Six volunteers arrived, then ten and then they grew to thirty within a year. They meet every Tuesday to sew and stuff them. This enthusiastic group at the Peabody Council on Aging work hard to help the Pioneers. Hug-A-Bears are always ready to take off to any areas or organizations in need. Joan organizes the appreciation luncheon for the Hug-a-Bear ladies.She volunteers; to serve meals at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, in Boston, Massachusetts; the annual cookout at the Brockton VA Hospital; and Bingo night at the Chelsea Soldiers Home, making and serving sandwiches to our Veterans.

Joan helps with the assembly of ditty bags for our Veterans at Christmas time. She is involved with the Children’s Christmas Project for needy children with the wrapping and the delivery of items, volunteers at the Annual Special Needs Event at Triangle, helps with making lunch for the clients and with any other activity that take place on this day.

Joan is truly an extraordinary woman who has given her time, talent, determination and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others.

West Virginia Chapter # 42
Jesse Elwood Brown Jesse Elwood Brown

Elwood was President of the Charleston Life Member Club in 1988 when the “Sawdust Gang” began. A group of 22 retired telephone men who wanted to help others. Elwood and his gang helped build two houses, later adding two rooms to other homes in Alderson and Mullens, West Virginia.He assisted in building handicap ramps for the “Make-A-Wish” foundation throughout the Kanawha Valley for more than 15 years. Age took its toll and the gang retired after their last project building a handicap ramp in 2007. The hours volunteered by Elwood over 19 years adds up to more than 40,000!!

Though retired from the manual sawdust jobs of volunteering, Elwood remains active and involved through the Charleston Life Member Club.

He volunteered in Elkview, West Virginia at Goodwill Industries remodeling a store; Net Day wiring at Bridge Elementary School; the Christmas in April Project building a deck and ramp at a residence for a disabled woman in Tuppers Creek, West Virginia; and with Safety City installing lines to prepare for a security alarm system in Charleston, West Virginia.

Elwood says, “As chairperson of this special group (Sawdust Gang) I give thanks to all of them. They are special in my heart forever and friends for life.”