Galway PTSA Honors Three Volunteers

Galway PTSA Honors Three Volunteers
Posted on 09/15/2021

Galway PTSA, in association with the New York State Parent Teacher Association, is delighted to celebrate three wonderful members of our community and confer on them Honorary Life Membership Awards.


The purpose of the NYS PTA Honorary Life Membership Award is to recognize individuals for their contribution to the welfare of children and youth. Recipients are nominated by members of their community for consistently demonstrating a dedication to the students of Galway. They show effort and significant contributions above and beyond the normal job expectations over an extended period of time. They have outstanding personal qualities and a continued availability and willingness to serve our youth. 


Our three award winners tonight exemplify those qualities, and we are very fortunate they have chosen to serve our Galway community.

 

Our first recipient is Mark Bombard. Mark was nominated by a parent for his work as the Galway Cub Scoutmaster and an active volunteer in the Boy Scout program. They described him as “kind, generous and very understanding to our Galway children and is an example for all when it comes to ‘Do a good turn daily.’ Mark challenges our youth to reach their full potential, encourages them to try their best, and always lends a listening ear of concern and compassion. He is deserving of this volunteer award because he gives countless hours and effort into helping our local Scouts become respectful and caring adults.”


The Boy Scout website says: “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Scouting programs are designed to give kids and young adults the skills they need to unlock their full potential and to live life outside. Scouting is a place where young people can grow to become their very best future selves.” Galway PTSA President Emma Obern would agree: “We have all watched either our own children, or those of our friends and neighbors, mature and develop as they’ve progressed through Scouting, and Galway has produced many Eagle Scouts. But none of these programs and good intentions could go anywhere without volunteers who also believe in the mission and who are willing to give up their time and energy to lead their packs by example.  Galway is very fortunate that Mark is such a volunteer and has served as a guide and mentor to many young people. We look forward to watching more of our children reach their full potential with his help.”

 

The next award winner is Amy Thompson. Amy is the mastermind behind our school’s Food Service team and makes sure no one goes hungry. 


“I don’t know about you, but one of the most challenging questions in my day is “what’s for dinner?” said Mrs. Obern. “I cannot imagine the logistics of feeding hundreds of people two meals a day, on a strict budget, with nutritional standards and full accountability for everything you’ve served.  And doing it with a smile on your face and compassion for the rest of your team.That’s great leadership.”


Mrs. Obern and other PTSA volunteers have had the privilege of working alongside Amy and her team when they held picnics. “We’re always welcomed and shown so much kindness and tolerance as we blunder round the kitchens getting in the way,” said Mrs. Obern. “By the time we show up, most of the work is already done, yet we get to take the credit by serving lunch to everyone. There have been many occasions during just the last year, when I’ve emailed Amy with my latest hare-brained scheme for a PTSA event, and she never hesitates to help.  There were so many things we could not have done without Amy, including Valentine’s treats, picnics, Bus Driver Appreciation, and lots of the prizes in our Scavenger Hunt.”


Amy does so much more behind the scenes. Superintendent Brita Donovan and JHE Principal Michelle McDougall said: “Amy works hard to provide what our students need to be ready to learn. She has also successfully mentored students. She regularly works and donates to our local food pantry. Implemented the Farm to School program and serves on the District COVID-19 Steering Committee. She is a big-hearted wonderful person and one of the most sincere and compassionate individuals. She has been known to take her staff shopping for their work clothing and bring families in need special meals. She went above and beyond during the pandemic by preparing large amounts of food complete with recipe cards for families and she is always willing to lend a hand.”


The third winner is well known to anyone who has been involved in Galway PTSA in recent years. Crystal Walker has served in various positions, until last year rotating between President and Vice President, because no one else was willing to take on the responsibility. Crystal has also been active in the Cubs and Boy Scouts for many years, as her son Matthew worked his way through the ranks to be an Eagle Scout.


“Crystal is one of those people who brings light, smiles and compassion to any situation. She is a peacemaker, bridge builder, and supporter of all. She steered Galway PTSA through a tricky transition, and I can honestly say if it weren’t for Crystal turning up at my house one day, I would not have taken on the Book Fair and I would not be standing here as the person who finally agreed to be PTSA President,” said Mrs. Obern. 


Crystal always sees the best in everyone and every situation. She is not just a glass half full person; she is busy filling everyone’s glasses. She is also known as the person most willing to dress up for little to no reason. Whether it’s as a potato, Minnie Mouse, or Pete the Cat, if there’s a super enthusiastic character at your event, it’s probably Crystal. There was speculation that her recent pregnancy was just an excuse to wear an avocado costume, but we never saw the pictures. And if she’s not dressed up, Crystal is still the super enthusiastic person at your event.

Even this year, with the impending arrival of baby Ruby, Crystal was helping to organize PTSA’s contribution to Prom. She is someone you can always rely on and who stands by her commitments. We were very impressed by the careful scheduling of the birth, which enabled her and Ruby to be part of Prom. And we’re all thrilled that the arrival of the newest Walker Family member means we can enjoy many more years of Crystal’s participation in Galway PTSA!  

 

In addition to the Lifetime Member Award Winners, there are several other people the PTSA would like to thank. 


“Most of the people I’m going to thank have spent far longer in PTSA than me. I have the privilege of joining an organization which they helped to shape and sustain,” said Mrs. Obern. They also followed in a long line of volunteers, as this is Galway PTSA’s 70th anniversary. 


“Because of COVID, we haven’t been together for 18 months. We never got to thank anyone for their contributions. I’m not going to give a long speech about everyone, but these ladies are the ones who have kept our events running, kept PTSA a part of our school, and we are forever grateful for all you have done and continue to do for our community,” said Mrs. Obern. “I’d like to thank Cheryl Malanoski, Amy Willbrant, Allison Fasolino, Lauren Jordan, Julie Ramsey, Christine Gauss and Gabby Sowle. I’d also like to thank our latest volunteer Chairperson, Hilary Clemens, who is taking over the Dance Program. This is a busy role on a normal year, we all know there’s been nothing normal in the last 18 months. So, thank you Hilary, and please thank the rest of the Dance Committee, we really do appreciate all your hard work. One last lot of thank yous. To my fellow Board members, Amber, Barb and Trisha. I know I’m a pain in the arse at times, particularly early in the morning, but I’m thrilled you’ve all agreed to be part of the team who gets to look after Galway PTSA this year. I’m looking forward to working with you all.” 

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