The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 4, 2010

UPJ names Distinguished Alumni Award winner

JOHNSTOWN — Chester “Chet” Thomas has been named Pitt-Johnstown’s 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient.

The award is the highest honor the university bestows upon alumni.

Thomas, a 1966 graduate, will be presented the award at the annual Pitt-Johnstown Proud Celebration on March 20.

Thomas, a native of Somerset County, is the founder and executive director of Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG), also known as Project Global Village, located in Honduras.

After graduation, Thomas joined the Peace Corps, where he served in Colombia until 1969. In 1974, following Hurricane Fifi, he relocated to Honduras, where he worked on the reconstruction of the destroyed areas and started a relief and development organization called CEDEN, which was an association of Christian churches in Honduras. Personally, he also founded an orphanage for the children of parents lost in the hurricane. The orphanage continues to operate today.

In 1976, disaster struck again, and he answered a call from the National Council of Churches – USA to direct a massive reconstruction of 22,000 housing units following an earthquake in Guatemala. In the early 1979, he returned to Honduras, where he currently resides.

In 1983, he started Proyecto Aldea Global, which employs more than 165 people distributed among seven regional offices. The organization also utilizes the volunteer services of several thousand community health, human rights and educational leaders across Honduras.

Thomas’ efforts have resulted in the construction of 74 schools, 18 maternal child care clinics and 115 community health centers that provide health care for more than 500 communities.

Through a physical infrastructure program, more than 1,000 miles of roads have been constructed to help small farmers market their produce, and a ferry boat system was built to transport vehicles across the El Cajon dam.

Thomas’ efforts have led to the construction of more than 350 community water systems.

In addition, the Celaque Highlands Agro Industrial development project, initiated by PAG, has installed more than 130 miles of main water lines to provide irrigation to 600 farmers’ fields, allowing for year-round farming.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • District Deaths July 31, 2014

    July 30, 2014

  • Smaller payout to seniors urged

    State Lottery officials say less means more for seniors.

    July 29, 2014

  • Portage ambulance aid will add portable CPR device, other tools

    Federal funding awarded to Portage Area Ambulance Association will soon put “a third man” alongside their two-person crews when emergencies occur, ambulance operations manager Edward Nelson said.

    July 29, 2014

  • paint_twp building Paint Township considers offering part of building for rent

    Four years after Paint Township built an addition at the Basin Drive building to house its growing police department, much of the new space likely will be offered for rent this fall because the township supervisors say it's no longer needed.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Old Rockwood hotel will soon be history

    The historic – but dilapidated – Merchants Hotel in Rockwood is expected to be razed soon.
    On Tuesday, Somerset County’s three commissioners unanimously agreed to a demolition plan for the building, which was constructed in the 1880s. The arrangement calls for a private citizen, William Nair, to tear down the structure at 703 Main St. in exchange for being allowed to keep any salvageable materials.

    July 29, 2014

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 30, 2014

  • ATV blast ready to roll at Rock Run

    Organizers are keeping the spirit of the Fisher’s ATV Reunion at Rock Run Recreation Area alive despite losing the support of the award-winning Outdoor Channel TV show “Fisher’s ATV World.” Now called the Rock Run ATV Summer Blast, the event will continue to offer demonstration rides, motor competitions, product vendors, live music, camping and trail riding.

    July 29, 2014

  • Culvert 1 Preservationists use age-old method at historic site

    Preservation work on two historic culverts associated with the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site has been completed. The culverts were reconstructed using a variety of techniques, including dry stone masonry, which was used to build the culverts more than 180 years ago.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 7/30/2014

    July 29, 2014

  • Officer, civilian motorist injured in crash

    A Johnstown police officer who was responding to an emergency and one other driver were taken to the hospital after they were injured in a three-vehicle accident around 5:40 p.m. Tuesday on Railroad Street at the intersection with Clinton Street and Church Avenue.
    The Johnstown Fire Department said that the three occupants of the third vehicle were not injured.

    July 29, 2014


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.

     View Results
House Ads