Volunteers receive thanks at annual luncheon

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Around our town with Cathy Finnegan Jay and Michele Gillian stand with volunteers Joe and Doris DiCorcia, Barbara and Bob Lautenschlager and Mike Dattilo at the Ecumenical Council luncheon.

The Ocean City Ecumenical Council held its annual volunteer’s luncheon at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church on a bright sunny day to thank those who work at the Food Cupboard and Clothes Closet. Sue Baker and Nancy Notaro greeted guests when they arrived and gave them their nametags. Don Paul was stationed outside St. Peter’s in the Wesley Avenue parking lot, which was filled with trucks of men working on the major renovations at the church, to direct volunteers to St. Peter’s lot on Central Avenue or the Presbyterian lot across the street.

I caught up with Andrea Paul, chair, and Carol Evans, co-chair, in the kitchen setting out ShopRite sandwiches, salads and fruit for the luncheon with the help of Ecumenical Council President Elaine Wilson, Rissa Trofa and new volunteer Neva Zelem. Gene Lindacher, who had to be at work in the Food Cupboard at 1 p.m., took pitchers of water and iced tea to the tables in the dining room.

Warren Hughes entertained at the piano while Cathy Guinosso, Jean Robinson, Joan Kassarich and Anne Gallagher set out bowls of chips. Jean played a round of golf before lunch while Joan recently saw two Broadway shows. Anne just got home from a vacation in Myrtle Beach. Eileen and Jim Locke keep busy at St. Peter’s working Name Tag Sundays, serving as greeters and are on the hospitality committee. Jo Ann Dower wouldn’t let me take her picture as she’s not a volunteer, and just came to help serve lunch. Eleanor Eason is headed to Arizona to visit friends.

Jean Simpkins and Pat Angarano modeled some of the jewelry they would be selling at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church’s holiday fair on Oct. 27. Ruth McCall told me her son writes for the Atlantic City Press. Gwen Pieklo said she loves working at the Clothes Closet and watching how excited the children are when they get new clothing. Betty King is headed for Las Vegas with her daughter to gamble and see some shows. Lynn Brock can be seen sitting on the new boardwalk bench she purchased in memory of her husband, Joseph ”Brocky” Brock Sr., and she derives great comfort relaxing there.

I enjoyed lunch chatting with Mark Bruesehoff, Karen Ellis, Barbara Piston, Ginny Gifford and Donna Yerger. Mark Bruesehoff told me about his mission trip to Namivia, Africa in May and plans to return again next year. Karen Ellis started working for American General on Asbury Avenue in 1960 and, after 50 years, retired a couple of years ago. Karen recently returned from a vacation in New England and Newport, RI. This is the eighth summer Barbara Piston has taught Bible School in the Canadian Northwest Territory. Ginny Gifford reminded me about St. John’s Annual Oyster, Ham and Chicken Dinner Oct. 15 and 16. Donna Yerger recalled being my neighbor when she was a teenager and her parents owned Baker’s Chicken Cottage across the alley from our home.

The lovely fall flower arrangements on the tables were donated by Linda and Mark Videtto at Spinning Wheel Florist. Doris and Joe DiCorcia recently toured the SS New Jersey in Camden where over 300 people gathered for a reunion. Joe served on the SS New Jersey in 1945-46 and 1950-52. Barbara and Bob Lautenschlager celebrated daughter Susan’s 48th birthday at the Air Show Sunday followed by a family gathering where the clan enjoyed Joe Taccarino’s hoagies from Voltaco’s.

Eleanor Pratt wore a purple dress and she enjoyed the luncheon with my neighbors, Alice and Bill Crockford. When I stopped to chat with Debbie Buckley and Elena Steencken, Debbie told me her maiden name was Steencken, which is Dutch, but they are not related. Marge McGuckin was also at this table with Elaine Perino and Eileen Adams. Dottie Cianci, who heads up the Food Cupboard, stopped to talk and missed getting her picture taken. Pat Crowley was looking forward to Shore Medical Auxiliary’s luncheon and fashion show at Greate Bay the next day. I caught Michele Gillian checking out the life size Spiderman figure Brian Roberts got at a yard sale to use with one of his sermons this summer. When I stopped to talk to Rich Hawthorne, Mary and Warren Hughes and Diana and Peter Probasco, Diana told me she can’t wait to walk across the bridge and have lunch at The Crab Trap. Jane Doran couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant she was having dinner at last week when I ran into her until I told her it was the Windjammer. Avid runner, Sue Baker, told me she is a featured runner in Ocean City resident Carol Hansen Montgomery’s book that just came out, “Tapping the Fountain of Youth – Profiles of Women Runners over 50.” Sue told me Sue Reich, at 54 years, won the Atlantic City Triathlon last Saturday.

I hurried back to my table when President Elaine Wilson started the program. I enjoyed the sheet cake from Ward’s during the speeches. Sally Condon, who worked the Clothes Closet for years, received the Volunteer of the Year award from Anne Gallagher. Sally admitted she was “flabbergasted” with the award. John Dower, Ecumenical Council trustee, closed the luncheon with his rendition of “How Great Thou Art.” Kris Stanwood was in charge of programs for the luncheon. As I exited the Stainton Room to go back to work, I spotted Phil Young and Bill Bateson hurrying by to clean up after the luncheon.

On a beautiful September evening, Ocean City residents gathered in front of the Sixth Street firehouse for the dedication of the 9/11 memorial sculpture. Courtney Huff gave Jim and I our programs and we stopped to chat with Joe Sheppard and Ken Cooper, then we took seats in the bleachers with Marlene Sheppard and Winnie Piriano dressed in red, white and blue outfits. Cecelia Dugan wouldn’t let Leslie Skibo sit in my seat when I got up to take pictures. Thanks to Sally Huff who helped me get the firemen together for a picture. Brenda Green told me her brother, Brian, was one of the Ocean City firefighters who went to NYC to help with search and rescue after 9/11. Mike Dattilo didn’t seem to mind when I straightened his tie before he stepped up to the podium.

The service was emotional with patriotic music and the invocation and remarks by Rev. John Jamieson, comments from Chris Breunig and Chad Callahan and dedication of the memorial sculpture by Jay Gillian. Pat Smith made sure to get lots of pictures on her camera. After the ceremony, Jim and I caught up with Linda and Curt Gronert and Wilma Dubil, who was looking for husband, Bob. Joyce Trofa looked cozy and warm in her bright pink Rowan hooded sweatshirt. I chatted with Jen DeVleiger who was carrying her son’s football helmet while her children sampled cookies served in the firehouse. Cathy and Joe Rebl were beaming as their granddaughter, Julia Wilson, closed the ceremony singing “God Bless America.”

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