South Side resident Sherri Lynn Dunik was recently announced as one of Pittsburgh's Jefferson Award recipients.
Ms. Dunik volunteers most of her time with the Pilot Club of Pittsburgh, but has been volunteering with many organizations since the age of 12.
In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr., and Sam Beard founded the Jefferson Awards program to honor the unsung heroes of the country. The program is named after founding father Thomas Jefferson, a man who reflected the spirit of excellence in America as author of the Declaration of Independence, President of the United States, and advocate for a free press and freedom of religion.
The Jefferson Awards honors individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service. 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.
Because of their commitment to volunteerism, Highmark, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments have joined the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in this valuable program. This year, community representatives will choose 50 Jefferson Award winners from among those nominated. Each will be highlighted in a newspaper ad and honored at a 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 the 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.
The Pilot Club of Pittsburgh has been servicing the Greater Pittsburgh Area for more than 50 years. Their service focus is brain-related disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, chemical dependency, traumatic brain injuries, and developmental, emotional and mental disabilities.
Pilot International's public service campaign, BrainMinders™ is focused on providing brain injury prevention education to the general public, children, caregivers and professionals in the community. The primary goal of the BrainMinders™ program is to dramatically decrease the number of brain injuries. There are four stages in the program: 4-6 year olds, 7-9 year olds, Baby Boomers, and Seniors.
New members are needed to spread the message of friendship and service as well as "Protecting Your Brain for Life." Club meetings include a business session and educational or entertaining program and feature a fellowship meal. Pilot membership offers opportunities for fun and fellowship along with leadership and self development.
The next meeting is on June 13 at 11 a.m. at Amalfi on Tenth. For more information, contact, Pilot Club president, Mollieann Gray at 412-751-4929.