Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community honored at Bravo! Brashear
The Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community received this year's Brashear Association Community Service Award. Brashear executive director Hugh Brannan III (left) presented the award to Reverend Jeff Eddings, Dylan Rooke, Derek "The Professor" Zanetti and Jennifer Frayer-Griggs.
Bravo! Brashear, the 96th Annual Meeting and awards luncheon of Brashear Association, was celebrated at the LeMont Restaurant, Mount Washington, on Thursday, Oct. 24.
During the brief Annual Meeting portion of the luncheon, six board members were re-elected: Jennifer Black, Duquesne University; Judy Hackel, Allentown CDC; Elaine Evosevic-Lozada, community volunteer; Dr. Paul Lorincy, podiatrist; Jennifer Maloney, Early Intervention Specialists, Inc .; and, Barbara A. Rudiak, Ph.D ., community volunteer.
The 2013 Georgina Chamberlain Peters Scholarship was presented to Oliver S. Lieberman.
Oliver began volunteering at Brashear when he was 7 years old sorting toys for the Holiday Assistance Program. He continued sorting toys for several years before taking on additional responsibilities with the program including packing and distributing toys and staffing the "toy room."
The older he got, the more complex his jobs became. After enrolling in City Charter High School, he began working with the Student Conservation Association (SCA).
Oliver's leadership skills improved while working with Josh Nard, SCA community program coordinator. Using those skills, Oliver encouraged fellow SCA members to volunteer for Brashear, during the holidays and for the South Side Soup Contest.
He returned to Brashear to complete an internship required by City Charter High School. During his internship, he worked with the agency's children's education program and helped install a children's garden. Additionally, Oliver helped at the food pantry and filled in wherever needed.
After high school he spent a summer exploring the Alaskan wilderness with the National Outdoor Leadership School. Two weeks after the end of his Alaskan adventure he joined the FEMA Corps as a member of the National AmeriCorps.
Based in Mississippi, Oliver traveled throughout the South and then to New York City assisting in disaster relief for Hurricane Sandy.
Oliver is currently a student at Community college of Allegheny County.
The recipient of this year's Community Service Award was the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community (HMBFC) in South Side.
The HMBFC began meeting in 2004 in the former Goodwill building at 26th Street. Services included theatre and the congregation included many who hadn't been able to find a home in more traditional religious settings.
Eventually, members of the church approached Brashear about offering a community meal, The Table, at the center once a week. Senior citizens, pierced and tattooed kids and homeless had a place to go for a meal every Tuesday. Volunteers cooked, served and cleaned up when they were finished.
Brashear noted whenever they asked the church for help with something, it was provided without self-promotion or fanfare. When a client needed an apartment rehabbed, Hot Metal stepped up to help. When toys were needed for the holiday program, they organized a toy drive.
The Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community now calls a former South Side bar its church. Their home continues to offer The Table, now twice a week, and offer community dialogues, meeting space for other groups, programs for kids as well as their church services.