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PLUM Churches:

Bethany (Bethel Park)

Bethany (Dormont)

Christ (Duquesne)

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Luth. Church of Our Saviour

Messiah (Munhall)

Resurrection (Oakdale)

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St. Paul's (Canonsburg)

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Trinity (Sheraden)

Zion (Coraopolis)

       

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Our Newest Mission Event:

 

Trinity Lutheran (Mt. Oliver) is presenting a twelve month Mission Program.  All programs and lunches are free.  If you need more information concerning any of these programs, please call the church, 412-381-9215, or email us at telcmo@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Arlene Oehling named a finalist for Jefferson Awards for Public Service

 

                                                                                                                                  Arlene Oehling     by Kurt Weber/Post-Gazette

 

Jefferson Award winner

The Sunshine Lady lifts residents' spirits in nursing homes

April 30, 2014 12:00 AM

By Mackenzie Carpenter / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

In nursing homes around the region, she makes a point to seek out those who never get visitors -- along with anyone else who needs a lift to their spirits.

 

At Atria and Manor Care, Paramount and Overlook Green, Arlene Oehling is known as "The Sunshine Lady," singing songs, dancing, joking, in costume and hoisting props.  Just before Easter she donned an Easter bonnet while singing "Easter Parade," accompanied by accordionist "Mikey D," aka Duwayne Dorich.

 

"I never met anyone like her who had so much enthusiasm and kindness of heart," said Mr. Dorich.

 

Ms. Oehling is one of six local finalists for Most Outstanding Volunteer for the Jefferson Awards of Public Service, a national program that recognizes public service.  An awards ceremony will be held Tuesday (May 6, 2014) at Heinz Field, where the winner will be announced.  That person will represent Western Pennsylvania at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer.

 

Launched in 1972, the local version of the program is administered by the Post-Gazette with sponsorship by Highmark and BNY Mellon.

 

PNC Foundation will donate $1,000 to Bethesda Children's Home in Meadville, Crawford County, on behalf of Ms. Oehling.

 

At age 75, Ms. Oehling may be, in her words, "Officially, officially, officially retired," but she nonetheless spends 40 to 50 hours a month visiting seniors at more than half a dozen nursing facilities near her home in Carrick.  Because she drives there on her own, she can't go very far, but she's out of the house every Wednesday.

 

Ms. Oehling is not a professional singer.  She was a drum majorette at Carrick High School but spent her career behind a desk as a secretary before retiring a decade ago.  Still, she's good at what she does -- which is to connect and cheer up a roomful of people who might be lonely or sad or discouraged.

 

"So many people who live in these homes never get visitors," Ms. Oehling said in a recent interview about her "gigs" before more than 50 residents at a time.  "I just love being with them."

 

"Arlene has touched the hearts of hundreds of people," said Sherry Campbell, who nominated Ms. Oehling for the Jefferson Award and was her former supervisor at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Pittsburgh branch.  She noted that Ms. Oehling, who never married, spent years caring for her mother and brother and today has no family.

 

"The bright side is where she dwells, yet she gets little credit for that, nor does she seek any," said Ms. Campbell.  "It comes as no surprise to me that she chooses to spend holidays with those in nursing homes bringing some 'Arlene sunshine' and happiness to them.  In our busyness and self-importance, so many of us don't recognize the real heroes for their contributions to the heart."

 

A native of Mount Oliver and a graduate of Carrick High School, Ms. Oehling worked for 371/2 years at Greyhound, rising to the level of executive secretary before being let go when the company downsized.

 

That same year, Ms. Campbell hired her to work at HUD.

 

"She's just not like other people," Ms. Campbell said, noting that until her own retirement, every year on the anniversary of her employment Ms. Oehling would send her a card with the number of years she had worked at the department and still never misses her birthday or holiday.

 

Most of her audience today can't dance, but Ms. Oehling takes the hands of people in wheelchairs to urge them to sing along or get into the spirit of a particular holiday or season or just have fun (when she sings "Mona Lisa," she whips out a portrait of the painting and always gets a laugh).

 

"They can't stand up, but I just hold their hands.  I remember one younger man was in a wheelchair and he said, 'You know what?  You're the kind of woman who could probably make me walk.'  That made me feel wonderful."

 

She's become so familiar in the senior community "I even get stopped at Giant Eagle by a family member, where they say, 'Oh, hi, Sunshine Lady.  My dad loves you.'

 

"I never considered that this was something I would do, but it's good for my heart."

 

The shows don't always go perfectly smoothly -- once, a resident in a wheelchair ran over her toes. It hurt, but she wasn't injured.  "Someone must have been looking out for me," she said.

 

Recently, she appeared at the Atria in Baldwin and at The Palms at O'Neil in McKeesport, and she'll keep on going for as long as she can.

 

"It is not a surprise to me that she burst into her own sunshine when she retired," said Ms. Campbell.  "She has too much happiness to share -- so much love in her heart.  The upper crust of a company may never know her name, but to hundreds of people whose hearts she's touched and made whole again -- they'll never forget her name, and that's why I nominated her."

 

UPDATE (May 6, 2014) - Fourth-grade girls win Most Outstanding Volunteers at Jefferson Awards

 

May 6, 2014 11:23 PM

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

 

"O’Hara Elementary fourth-graders Griffin Kerstetter, 10, of Fox Chapel and Annie Yonas, 9, of O’Hara, were selected Most Outstanding Volunteers from among six finalists in the Jefferson Awards for Public Service Program.

 

A ceremony honoring the girls took place Tuesday night at the East Club at Heinz Field.

 

The finalists were selected from 50 local Jefferson Award winners for 2013.

 

The girls were honored for creating the Home Lost Project, which turns discarded T-shirts into blankets for the homeless. They will now represent Western Pennsylvania in the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony that will be held in Washington, D.C. sometime this summer."

The Nobel Prize for volunteerism

The Jefferson Awards was co-founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Sen. Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard, as the ‘Nobel Prize’ for public service.  Named for one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers, and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Jefferson Awards’ central tenet is that each and every citizen shares a responsibility to work towards the betterment of their communities through economic participation, public service, volunteerism and other such efforts to improve life for all.  Today, the mission of the Jefferson Awards is to recognize, inspire and activate volunteerism and public service in communities, workplaces and schools across America.  As President John F. Kennedy once said, “One person can make a difference and every person should try” and to date, over 50,000 individuals of all ages have been recognized by the Jefferson Awards for their efforts to make the world around them a better place.  For more information on The Jefferson Awards, visit www.JeffersonAwards.org.

 

Now known as the "Nobel Prize for volunteerism", the Jefferson Awards honors individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.

 

Recognizing Pittsburgh's volunteers

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local.  Past Jefferson Awards recipients on the national level include Oprah Winfrey, Peyton Manning, Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice, Faith Hill, Lance Armstrong, and Gen. Colin Powell.

 

In 1976, former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editor John Craig established a local program honoring Western Pennsylvania's "Community Champions" - everyday citizens who encountered problems in their neighborhood and created solutions to fix them.  Today, the Post-Gazette continues to honor outstanding volunteers each week through the Jefferson Awards program.

 

Partners in the cause

Because of their commitment to volunteerism, Highmark and BNY Mellon have joined the Post-Gazette in this valuable program. This year, community representatives will choose approximately 50 Jefferson Award winners from among those nominated. Each will be highlighted in a newspaper ad and honored at an elegant reception at which they will receive the bronze Jefferson Award medallion, commissioned by the Franklin Mint.

 

Local leaders then choose six to eight of those honorees as finalists for our region's Most Outstanding Volunteer award. One winner will be chosen and will represent Western Pennsylvania at the national Jefferson Awards ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

Our Sunday School's Farm Mission Project

Old MacDonald had a farm...and so can Trinity!  Our Sunday school children and Adult Bible Classes are doing the farm project again this year as our Mission Project.

 

Specific PIGGY BANKS are placed throughout Church – so feel free to help feed our “pigs” so that we can help feed others!

 

So far this year we have collected $262.02, including donations from the Palm Sunday and Easter Breakfast.  Please keep up the great work and maybe we can purchase a cow and other animals for them this time!!! 

 

 

 

 

         

 
   
 

Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773