A well-deserved salute for 87-year-old World War II Marine veteran Paul Putnik, who now calls Sunrise Assisted Living in Cuyahoga Falls home, for the thousands of hours he has volunteered at the Akron VA clinic.
Laura Dunlop, an Army Korean War veteran, recently drove Putnik to the clinic where Director David Effron presented him with his Akron VA “volunteer hours” awards: one for Outstanding Service, for 12,500 hours; and a second for his service to the Department of Veterans Affairs, for 10,000 hours of devoted volunteer service to veterans.
“Paul Putnik volunteered at the VA Clinic each morning over the years since our Akron VA Clinic opened its doors … he wore his red Marine Corps cap along with his red Marine Corps jacket every day, as this was his signature gear as he walked around talking to the veterans who came to the clinic each day,” Dunlop said.
“Paul started out at the clinic by signing the veterans up to receive the Summit County Veterans Service Commission’s quarterly newsletter. … After the first year this was just the habit of the day for Paul to introduce himself. … He was and is known and loved by all of the veterans, VA doctors, nurses and staff. … Paul has been a friend and volunteer of mine for probably over 40 years and I am grateful for his friendship.”
Paula Gauntner said her father, who has memory loss issues, always referred to himself as a “huckster.” He sold fresh produce door to door, then owned a produce market in Medina. He became a city truck driver, mainly for Spector Freight.
‘We Honor Veterans’
A special salute to Senior Independence’s “We Honor Veterans” program, which honored its military veteran patients and the nation’s fallen soldiers during Memorial Day.
“Senior Independence’s veteran volunteers placed a wreath at the Ohio Veterans’ Memorial Park in Clinton on behalf of veteran hospice patients and adult day care participants,” wrote Senior Independence volunteer coordinator David Wilson. Volunteers later visited the hospice patients and presented them with a framed photo of the wreath.
“The ‘We Honor Veterans’ program is a national collaboration of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA),” Wilson explained. “Patients are honored for their service through honor pinning ceremonies, in-home Veterans Day celebrations, and Veteran-to-Veteran companionship visits, and the community is engaged in giving grateful recognition to the veterans.” To learn more please call Wilson at 330-873-3468 or visit www.seniorindependence.org.
Family of Marines
Mogadore’s David Natko has three reasons to be chest-out proud this Father’s Day. He and his wife, Stefania, have three sons who have committed themselves to the Marines:
• LCpl. David Michael Natko Jr., 25, an Eagle Scout who is observing his first anniversary in the Marines, is stationed in Okinawa, Japan.
• LCpl. Dylan M. Natko, 21, also an Eagle Scout, with nearly two years of service under his belt, is stationed in Hawaii.
• Dakota M. Natko, 17, who will be a senior in the fall at Mogadore High School, has already signed his commitment papers — considered a “Poolee” under the early entry program. He will enter upon graduation.
Walk-a-thon raises $5,700
Big, beautiful bouquets to Holy Family School in Stow, which recently raised $5,700 at its fourth annual “Go for the Gold!” walk-a-thon.
“More than 550 students, teachers and parent volunteers participated in the event that included a walking course around the neighborhoods near the school, as well as other fun activities on the school grounds,” the school’s media specialist, Christine Krinsky, said.
The proceeds from this year’s event go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national fundraiser dedicated to eradicating childhood cancer and the Holy Family School Teachers’ Scholarship.
The students, faculty and staff have eagerly participated in service projects to support the community and local children and those within the school community.
Since its inception, the walk-a-thon has raised more than $40,000, which has been spread to a number of charities.
Counting the hours
The City of Akron PeaceMakers and the United Way of Summit County are hoping the community will not only embrace volunteerism, but also track its service hours during the “Million Hour Volunteer Challenge.”
“Local agencies often rely on volunteers to help get the work of their mission accomplished,” wrote Michael G. Gaffney, vice president, marketing, United Way. “The city of Akron wants to count these hours and show off what a giving community we all live in. … The Million Hour Volunteer Challenge will kick off on June 14 and will run through Sept. 14.”
UW’s director of volunteer services, Andrea Metzler, acknowledged that many of our citizens already volunteer as individuals and some in large groups: “Our hope is that you let us know the number of hours you are volunteering so we can meet our challenge goal of one million hours served countywide, during a three-month span.”
Breast cancer benefit run
Big, beautiful bouquets to the Josette Beddell Memorial Foundation, which is sponsoring its fifth annual 5K Run/Fun Walk on June 29 in Stadium Park’s Shelter No. 5 in Canton, with all proceeds going to aid local families affected by breast cancer and to provide a $500, four-year renewable college scholarship for a student whose family has experienced breast cancer.
The foundation was started by Mary Beddell, her siblings and close friends to honor her mother, Josette Beddell, who died of breast cancer.
The shelter is on Stadium Park Drive Northwest, a half-mile south of Fulton Road Northwest, Canton. Runners and walkers use the park’s exercise track.
Online registration is open at the “events” tab at www.josettememorial.org.
This year’s scholarship winner will be introduced prior to the event. Day-of-event registration opens at 9 a.m. followed by the run/walk at 9:30. For more information, email Mary Beddell at email@example.com.
Shoes for the homeless
Major kudos to the City of Joy Life Enrichment Center, 1140 E. Tallmadge Ave., Akron, whose congregation and community have collected 451 pairs of shoes — gently used and some new men’s, women’s and children’s — which they will be delivering to Haven of Rest Ministries for its homeless clients.
In August, the congregation, led by its pastor Mayceo Smith II, will again do a backpack giveaway with school supplies to area students in need during what is billed as a Community-wide Peace Event, 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 24 at Joy Park Community Center, 825 Fuller St., Akron. Preapproved vendors will be invited to distribute literature and novelty educational items aimed at making the city of Akron a safe place to live. Refreshments are free. Community leaders, police and fire department officials are expected to attend. This event grew out of the 2010 slaying of J’Suan Slayton Sr., an Akron barber and father of two.
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or firstname.lastname@example.org.