My Corner, Your Corner: Greater Pittston volunteers make this community great

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio

Service to the community and others can be rewarding. There are those who get paid for their service to others, like someone in the military, and then there’s volunteer service to others.

What makes someone want to give so much of him or herself to help others? Perhaps it’s the feeling of accomplishment, perhaps it makes them feel good or perhaps it’s a sense of duty.

When I think of service to community, the people who come to mind are former Pittston mayor Mike Lombardo, who has been instrumental in the revitalization of Pittston; Rose Randazzo, Pittston City’s Main Street manager; Lori Nocito and Jim Zarra, for their work with the annual Tomato Festival; and Maria Capolarella-Montante, who has been involved with the Pittston Memorial Library for as long as I can remember.

I give credit to the folks who make up the West Pittston Tomorrow organization, which tries to make a difference in a borough devastated by flooding nearly five years ago.

Countless organizations are manned by volunteers like Ron Faraday and Bob Price and others of the Greater Pittston Historical Society. Ron has taken a dream and converted it into a non-profit that’s eligible for grants and helps archive Greater Pittston history so locals will not forget the past.

Let’s not discount those who serve our area politically. Though they do get compensated for their service, it’s a thankless job and, more times than not, a 24/7 job. Political views and practices aside, residents should thank local mayors, council and school board directors for giving time to serve others.

This idea of writing about service to others hit me while I was covering an Eagle Scout event in West Pittston. Tristan Sokash-Minnick received his Eagle Scout award in a ceremony led by Pat and Rosalie Messina in the basement of Corpus Christi Parish. The Messinas have been associated with the Scouts for many years with no intention of leaving any time soon.

As I looked around, I saw those who have given themselves to help others. After all, isn’t part of Scout Law — being helpful? “A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.” This motto is instilled in these young boys and men at an early age.

Raymond Cannell, of Exeter, is a Scout leader. I said to Ray that day, “I’ve never seen you out of a uniform.” He’s made a lifetime of wearing different uniforms.

I don’t know Ray well, but he seems to be a genuine guy, always with a smile, always kind, always with a gentleman’s handshake. He’s a family man as he and his wife, Tami, have three great children in Nicholas, Noah and Breanna.

Ray exemplifies volunteerism and the act of serving. He is involved in the Scouts program and serves as a volunteer firefighter. He’s also a Navy veteran and former first sergeant with the First Class of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He was deployed three times as a guardsman in Egypt and Iraq, with his final nine-month deployment ending in 2013 when he returned from Kuwait.

Thank you, Ray, for all you do for your family, community and nation, and thanks to all those volunteers in the forefront and behind the scenes of our area’s organizations.

Quote of the week

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder.

Thought of the week

“It is never safe to look into the future with eyes of fear.” – Edward H. Harriman, American railroad magnate.

Bumper sticker

“Happiness lies, first of all, in health.” – George William Curtis, American social reformer.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at

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