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October 10, 2013

St. Vincent dePaul volunteer saluted

JOHNSTOWN — Don Tedjeske showed up for a day’s work Thursday much as he has for the past 17 years with the local St. Vincent dePaul Society.

Except this time, a group of Johnstown community leaders were waiting with a bouquet of balloons and a big “thank you.”

Tedjeske, a longtime St. Vincent DePaul volunteer and self-described jack-of-all-trades, has used his talents to quietly steer the nonprofit through both day-to-day challenges and major renovations, including the thrift store move and still-underway Family Kitchen remodel.

He was honored for it Thursday by Lift Johnstown as its first Volunteer Spotlight Award recipient.

“This is for all you do for the community of Johnstown and all of the good people served by St. Vincent DePaul,” Lift Johns-town coordinator Brad Clemenson said, handing Tedjeske balloons and a plaque.

“You’re the winner.”

 Tedjeske was chosen among 16 nominees submitted online and through emails to Lift Johnstown. He received the most support, said Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s Megan Livingston, a Lift Johnstown partner.

“You embody what we’re trying to do here,” she said of Lift Johnstown’s mission. “You’re out there volunteering ... making a difference every day.”

Tedjeske, of Roxbury, humbly accepted his award, saying he’d accept it on behalf of two dozen fellow volunteers with the society.

“I’m blessed at this point that I’m able to contribute,” said Tedjeske, who worked in construction before retirement. “I’m just doing what I know to do.”

St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store assistant manager Linda Lowes called Tedjeske “a blessing.”

“I don’t know where we’d be without him,” she said.

Clemenson said Lift Johns-town plans to honor local volunteers quarterly as a way to give thanks to those who make a difference in the Johnstown area.

A new submission period will begin next week – and more information is available on its website, www. liftjohns-town.org.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter

.com/tddavidhurst.

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