The Annual Membership Meeting of the South Side Community Council (SSCC) on June 14 was highlighted by the election of board members and the naming of the Outstanding South Sider.
Board members elected or re-elected that night included: Thomas Shannon Barry, Joe Bielecki, Virginia Carik, Wanda Jankoski, Tom Kolano, Gail Matchett, Catherine Mitchell and Steve Root.
Mr. Bielecki, president of the board of directors, opened the program portion of the by welcoming those in attendance to the Annual Membership Meeting. In the more than 40 years the SSCC has been in existence, he said the organization has done "everything imaginable under the sun."
The list of recent accomplishments included starting or working with the Bar Task Force, the Graffiti Task Force, Green n'at, and more. The SSCC also donates each year to the Brashear Association's annual Holiday Toy and Food Drive.
Mr. Bielecki then turned over the program to board members Eve Trbovich and Ms. Mitchell for the Outstanding South Sider presentation. The second annual award recognizes and commends a resident and/or business owner for their commitment and dedication to making the South Side a better place to live.
Nominations came from members of the community.
"Neighbors know what neighbors do," Ms. Trbovich said. "It's a way for us to know who really cares about South Side.
This year's awardee, Toni Gorenc, has volunteered for numerous projects and events over the years. She has served on the board of directors for the Brashear Association, South Side Community Council and the South Side Local Development Co., South Side Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Library and sat on the South Side Planning Forum.
Ms. Gorenc was also instrumental in forming the Save Our South Side Hospital Committee last year.
"I tried to decline," Ms. Gorenc said. "Fifty other people deserve this more."
When she first came to South Side she would always sign up to volunteer Ms. Gorenc explained. But no one ever called her to help. Eventually, Mike Janesko "allowed" her to help plant flowers at the intersection of East Carson and Sarah streets.
She asked the council members to allow new people who want to become involved to be allowed to help out. She said it could be tough for those who have been doing it for many years because, "new people ask hard questions."
"South Side is really a small town in a big city," Ms. Gorenc concluded. She emphasized again that she felt many people in the neighborhood have volunteered more time recently than she has.
"We need so many more of us," Ms. Mitchell added. "We need more of the people who can give a few hours…A bunch of people giving what they could."