On September 25th, at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Bishop Michael Duca and many of our Vincentian Conference volunteers gathered to celebrate another year of dedicated Vincentian service in our community. At the Mass, Bishop Duca recognized a number of Vincentians who have distinguished themselves through their ministry to the needy. Along with Bishop Duca, St. Vincent de Paul Council President Crystal Chatelain presented awards to some of our outstanding volunteers.
The first award of the night was the 25th Anniversary Award, which was given to Mrs. Louise Prosser. Mrs. Prosser has been a member of the St. Vincent de Paul group at Our Lady of Mercy for over 25 years. During those years, she has given of her time and her effort, serving God’s poor in a remarkable way. Our Lady of Mercy is a wonderful parish with wonderful people making a difference in the lives of those in need. We thank Mrs. Prosser and also Father Cleo Milano for his support of St. Vincent de Paul’s work throughout the Diocese.
Our next award of the night was the Be a Light Award, named in honor of Bishop Ott who said, “If I have been a light in some small way, then all of us can be a light.” We recognized Mr. A. C. Monin for being a light by providing meals for 28 years to the homeless at the Bishop Ott Shelters. Mr. Monin was unable to attend the event, and Crystal Chatelain accepted the award on his behalf.
Saints Cosmas and Damian are the patron saints of pharmacists and this was the next award to be presented. Our community pharmacy continues to serve people in need of prescription medicine, and we are only able to do so because of the dedication of our volunteers. Ms. Theresa Hollins was presented the Saints Cosmas & Damian Award for her 23 years of volunteering at our pharmacy. Ms. Hollins has done a phenomenal job of making a difference in the lives of people who are sick and suffering.
Our next award was the St. Vincent de Paul Stores Community Volunteer Award. Every year, our St. Vincent de Paul stores help thousands of needy individuals and families with much needed items such as clothing, furniture, and other household necessities – all free of charge. Our efforts also raise financial resources for our charitable programs through a very successful car donation program, which will raise over $100,000 this year. On this special night, we recognized Mr. Jack Snee, a St. Vincent de Paul Conference Vincentian from St. Patrick Church, for his outstanding volunteer work in helping us to raise these critical funds. Jack has played a vital role in our mission of charity and, because of his efforts, we have been able to feed thousands, provide thousands of guest nights of shelter, and fill prescriptions for those in need.
Our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room is on track to serve over 270,000 meals this year. Because of the outstanding work of our Dining Room volunteers, we are making a difference in our community. This year’s Heaven’s Helpers Award was given to Mr. Anthony Bacile for his community volunteerism at our St. Vincent de Paul Dining Room. We rely on dedicated volunteers like Mr. Bacile to provide this critical service 365 days a year.
The final award of the night was our St. Vincent de Paul Top Hat Award. The name of this award comes from Frederic Ozanam, who founded the Society in 1833 as he visited the poor in his top hat. This is the highest award that can be given by St. Vincent de Paul for exemplary service. This year’s Top Hat Award recipient was Mr. Kevin Patterson. Through his outstanding Vincentian volunteerism, Kevin established the St. Benedict the Moor St. Vincent de Paul Conference. He also plays a critical role in our Diocesan Council leadership. Kevin currently serves as Secretary of our St. Vincent de Paul special works Board of Directors. His commitment to serving God’s poor as a Vincentian has truly made an impact in our community. He is a long time Vincentian who joins many other exemplary Vincentians in our Top Hat Hall of Fame.