The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 27, 2012

Readers' Forum 10-27 | Benefit buoyed by dedicated volunteers

— Everywhere you turn, you see pink, a color that symbolizes breast cancer, a disease that has touched the lives of nearly every one of us. It reminds us that breast cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t care who or how old you are, where you live, how much money you make, or if you are male or female.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it was kicked off with an event that took the diversity of breast cancer to heart. The idea was to give those who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to be part of a fundraiser, the chance to help save lives.

The first Brothers and Sisters Unite for Breast Cancer Benefit Dance was held on Sept. 30 at Ace’s. Dedicated volunteers, led by Carolyn Brumbaugh, put in endless hours. Undaunted by obstacles, they displayed a tenacity to ensure the fundraiser would be a success. Numerous local businesses, organizations and individuals donated baskets and prizes.

Survivors shared their heartwarming personal experiences. The Band-Aids band donated their time and talent. Several thousand dollars was raised for Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center. It wasn’t so much the money that made the feat a success, but rather the people who put their differences aside and profoundly joined hands to fight the disease.

Thanks to Sherry Stalley, who served as emcee, and to everyone else who strived to make a difference in achieving a successful fundraiser.

It was an honor to be part of this event.

Cathy Costlow


Church’s prayer garden offers peace, beauty

If driving along Menoher Boulevard in Westmont and passing the Community Open Door Church, you may see an older man mowing grass, raking leaves, shoveling snow or walking the driveway carrying a large sign on his body. Who is he?

He’s not the caretaker, he’s the pastor, Charles Zimmerman. He came out of retirement and founded the church because of his passion to speak the word of God and to help our community.

He welcomes all, regardless of who you are, where you’ve been or what you’ve done, if you want God in your life.

He doesn’t ask for a penny to run the church. Monetary gifts are given to local organizations that help those in need. He volunteers his time serving on the boards for some of these organizations. He is concerned with our youth and their futures.

In a recent sermon, he spoke of his vision of a prayer garden adjacent to the church. With tears in his eyes and a rattled voice, he spoke of his vision becoming a reality. Open 24 hours a day, all are welcome to enjoy the beauty that God has given us.

As Election Day nears, instead of listening to empty promises, one may want to visit the prayer garden, enjoy the beauty and peace that it provides and listen for the voice of God. He is the one who can help solve our nation’s problems, if only we’ll listen to his word.

Thank you, Pastor, for all you do for our community. I am proud to be a member of your congregation.

Pam Vranich


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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