PLAINS TWP. — The Greater Pittston YMCA held its annual dinner and awards ceremony on Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Pocono.
With over 300 people in attendance, the event was bigger than ever, according to Greater Pittston YMCA Director Robert Duliba.
“Our goal is to raise $70,000,” said Duliba. “We reached $62,000 and we’ll get there eventually. It funds all of the programs we offer — such as childcare, family and youth programs, memberships and scholarships — so people can afford to come to the YMCA. It all goes back into the YMCA.”
The ceremony featured Wyoming Borough Solicitor Jarrett Ferentino as master of ceremonies and guests, such as state Sen. John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Twp; Lt. Gov. Michael Stack; state Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca; Pittston Mayor Jason Klush and many more.
The awards given out included:
• The Sam Milazzo Volunteer of the Year Award to Michael Sowinski, outgoing board chair for the Greater Pittston YMCA Board of Directors.
• The James & Jean Yates Youth Leadership Award to Brandon Hampton, an employee of the Greater Pittston YMCA.
• The Corporate Distinction Award to Geisinger Health System.
• The YMCA Spirit of Community Award to Joyce Insurance Group.
The biggest award of the night was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Hughestown resident and former state representative Tom Tigue.
“It’s a great turnout,” Klush said. “It’s amazing. The YMCA is a great cause for the city and its a great thing. When I was growing up I used to play basketball there every time I had the chance to. Tom Tigue is a great person and to combine both of them is the perfect combination. It’s a perfect group in the YMCA and the perfect person to be celebrated.”
Tigue served in the U.S. Marines Corps and earned the Silver Star while serving in Vietnam. He also served for 27 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves before retiring.
A graduate of St. John’s High School in Pittston and King’s College, he served on the Pittston Area School Board before being elected to the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, serving the 118th Legislative District.
Tigue served in the state House for nearly 26 years before retiring in 2006.
President of the YMCA Board of Directors Bill Burke said the decision to name Tigue the recipient was an easy one because he embodies the three characteristics that qualify for the award: family, community and social responsibility.
“When you look at Tom’s life’s body of work it’s really been exemplary from a young age,” he said. “He served his nation first and foremost, came back to Greater Pittston and served in a number of different capacities in the public and private sectors and not to mention the Silver Star he got from serving in Vietnam. When you look back on his life, it seemed all too appropriate to honor him.”
Tigue was honored earlier this week on Veterans Day by having a flagpole dedicated to him at the Pittston Area Primary Center in what will soon be named the Col. Tom Tigue Memorial Park.
Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher