May 28, 2018
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Catholic Charities USA Names Finalists for 2009 National Volunteer of the Year Award

For Immediate Release: April, 2009
Contact: Shelley Borysiewicz, (703) 236-6218

Catholic Charities USA Names Finalists for 2009 National Volunteer of
the Year Award

Alexandria, VA-The spirit of compassion, fellowship, and dedication
shines brightly in the remarkable men and women who have been named
finalists for the Catholic Charities USA 2009 National Volunteer of the
Year Award. Volunteering at their local Catholic Charities agencies,
these committed servants have secured housing for the homeless and
working poor, assisted refugees in adjusting to their new lives in the
United States, provided meals for the hungry, advocated on behalf of the
poor and vulnerable, and done so much more.

Catholic Charities USA's National Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes
the invaluable contributions volunteers make in helping to reduce
poverty in America. Each year, more than 230,000 volunteers assist local
Catholic Charities agencies efficiently and effectively serve nearly 8
million people of all faiths and diverse needs.

"These dedicated finalists provide witness of God's preferential love
for the poor and vulnerable in our society," said Rev. Larry Snyder,
president of Catholic Charities USA. "They are truly doing God's work,
providing help and creating hope without seeking anything in return."

The 2009 award recipient will be announced during National Volunteer
Week, April 19-25, and will be honored at Catholic Charities USA's
Annual Gathering on September 26 in Portland, OR.


****For nearly 60 years, 91-year old Dorothy Gietl has been a mainstay
for Ladies of Charity, a volunteer organization of Catholic Charities of
Buffalo, NY. Her energy, focus, commitment, and compassion belie her
nine decades. Each week, Gietl lugs, tugs, sorts, repairs, takes
inventory, and solicits donations for Fresh Start, a ministry she began
in 1993 to provide material assistance to those forced to start anew due
to floods, storms, fire, illness, unemployment, spousal abuse, or
re-entry into the community from prison or rehabilitation programs.
Gietl volunteers 17 to 20 hours each week and she has clocked 23,000
hours of volunteer time on this project alone. Her energy knows no
bounds. Having served as secretary and president of the Ladies of
Charity, she actively promotes awareness of the mission of Ladies of
Charity and Catholic Charities and advocates for the poor in the other
organizations in which she has assumed leadership roles, including the
Missionary Sisters of the Divine Child, Catholic Daughters of America,
and the Sodality at Fourteen Holy Helpers.

****The dynamic team of Melissa Kreisa, Elsa Amboy, and Andrea Lee has
been instrumental in creating a broader network of financial and caring
community support for Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County's refugee
resettlement programs. To supplement federal funding for the program,
the trio galvanized their respective faith communities to commit over
$200,000 for housing for newly arrived refugees and recruited a
significant number of passionate volunteers. Thanks to their efforts,
volunteer ESL tutors work with stay-at-home refugee moms; newcomers
receive assistance in adjusting to their new home from volunteers
through the Refugee Partnerships program; the program has forged
critical links to other resources, including a partnership with
Salvation Army, which provides $300 vouchers to the refugees; and the
program has established an emergency fund.

****Since 1999, Donna Springer has served on the board of directors of
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc. She has filled multiple
roles, including board chair and treasurer, and has served on about
every board committee of the agency. Springer was instrumental in
helping the agency raise $14 million to build of a new campus for
Catholic Charities. She handled all the books, billings, thank you
letters, and more. This saved the agency over $40,000 a year in staff
salary. Once the funds were raised and construction started, Springer
stepped forward as the project manager, saving the agency an additional
$75,000 in salary. Through her selfless work, Springer has enabled
Catholic Charities to be better stewards of its funding and serve nearly
800 more clients in need this year.

****For more than 10 years as a volunteer with Catholic Charities of
Fairfield County, CT, Jeanie Tisdale has helped low-income and homeless
families secure safe, supportive, and affordable housing in the
wealthiest county in America. Thanks to Tisdale's unyielding energy and
dedication, Catholic Charities secured more than $6 million in state and
local funding to build a 22-unit apartment complex for homeless and
working poor families. Located in one of the neediest neighborhoods in
Bridgeport, the complex consists of two- and three-bedroom apartments
and provides supportive services to help lift families out of poverty.
Tisdale was also instrumental in renovating a historic Victorian home
into 16 apartments for formerly homeless individuals. She and her
husband Tom chair the Knights and Dames of Malta for the state and are
actively involved in a program helping street children in Haiti.

****For nearly 35 years, Bill Barrett has been helping to feed thousands
of homeless individuals at St. John's Hospice, a dinner facility
operated by Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Throughout his many years at St. John's, the 79-year old has been
involved in numerous volunteer activities. He began working the
suppertime meal program for individuals which eventually evolved into
the current mid-day meal program for men. He has been involved in food
preparation and has waited on tables. He also has lent his time to
washing, sorting and distributing clothing. He even served as the
volunteer coordinator at St. John's. Currently, Bill volunteers one day
a week as office receptionist, where he enthusiastically distributes
mail and toiletries to hundreds of homeless men.

****William Rainford, PhD, MSW, serves as lead legislative advocacy
volunteer for Catholic Charities of Idaho and the Diocese of Boise. In
just five years, he has made an indelible impact in engaging Catholics
and others of good will throughout the state to advocate on behalf of
the poor and vulnerable. A full-time social work and public policy
professor at Boise State University, Dr. Rainford has contributed to
Catholic Charities in substantial ways: he formed a Social Action
Committee, developed a state-wide legislative email alert system,
created a legislative internship program, helped a low-income group
organize to seek just housing a protect tenant rights, helped develop an
interfaith housing alliance, and presented workshops to parishes on
legislative advocacy.

The finalists were chosen from nominations submitted by local Catholic
Charities agencies for exemplifying the spirit and mission of Catholic
Charities in reducing poverty, supporting families, and empowering


Catholic Charities USA's members-more than 1,700 local Catholic
Charities agencies and institutions nationwide-provide help and create
hope for nearly 8 million people a year regardless of religious, social,
or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities
agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital
services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training
to food and housing. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrates its
centennial anniversary. For more information, visit

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