Four community leaders to be honored by Catholic Charities
By Katherine Long
Sun associate editor
Syracuse Police Chief Frank L. Fowler; Father Thomas J. Ryan, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville; and David and Cindy Hoyne, owners of Kitty Hoynes Pub and Restaurant in Syracuse’s Armory Square, will be honored at Catholic Charities of Onondaga County’s 27th annual House of Providence Dinner on May 23.
The honorees are being recognized for their positive contributions to the community, said Toni Maxwell, an associate director at Catholic Charities. Nominations come from the event’s committee on a rolling basis; members of Catholic Charities’ leadership then present a list of potential honorees to Bishop Robert Cunningham for his consideration and final approval.
Chief Fowler will receive the President’s Medallion, which “honors individuals who, through their voluntary contributions, have immeasurably enhanced Catholic Charities of Onondaga County and the community.” The award will be presented by Catholic Charities Board President Loretta Kilpatrick.
Chief Fowler joined the Syracuse Police Department in 1989 after serving in the Army. He was named Chief in 2009.
“I was always taught by my mother that it’s important to give back to the community and to establish yourself as a positive force,” Chief Fowler said. “That’s why I became a police officer — I wanted to make a difference in the community.” Throughout his law enforcement career, Chief Fowler has worked to open lines of communication and to strengthen the relationship between the police department and the community.
Chief Fowler has also been tremendously supportive of Catholic Charities, Maxwell said. Several years ago, he was an advisor for the Kids Win! program run through Catholic Charities’ neighborhood centers that provided education, exercise and nutrition to children. Chief Fowler often drops in to visit the Bishop Foery Foundation, and has rolled up his sleeves to help with Catholic Charities’ fresh food giveaways.
Chief Fowler said he’s humbled and honored to receive the award, but that he doesn’t do anything in hopes of receiving personal accolades since “we all have an obligation to make things and people a bit better than they were at the start of the day.”
Father Ryan will receive the Bishop’s Medallion, which “honors individuals who, through their care, are devoted to actively serving people of the diocese.” The award will be presented by Bishop Cunningham.
A native of Central New York, Father Ryan became pastor of Immaculate Conception in 2006.
The parish, under Father Ryan’s leadership, is known to go the extra mile to serve those in need, Maxwell said.
“Jesus gave us the command to go serve our sisters and brothers. In faith formation classes and at Immaculate Conception School, we teach and model that service as integral to being a follower of Christ,” he said.
In addition to tithing to numerous organizations, the parishioners of IC are very generous with their time, Father Ryan said, serving at sites that include the Samaritan Center, the Oxford Street Inn, St. Vincent de Paul refugee ministry, Francis House and Cathedral food pantry.
Father Ryan also serves on the boards of a number of organizations, including Amaus Medical Services, Franciscan Collaborative Ministries, Redfield Village and the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse.
Father Ryan was surprised to hear he’d be receiving the award, saying any of the hardworking priests in the diocese would have made excellent recipients. He was also quick to give the credit to his parishioners and to the Catholic Charities organization.
“Through the amazing ministries they do, Catholic Charities makes Christ present to so many people every day,” he said.
The Hoynes will receive the Humanitarian Service Medallion, which “honors individuals who have the consistent desire to improve the human condition through a life of service to others.” The award will be presented by Catholic Charities Executive Director Michael Melara.
In 1999, the Hoynes opened Kitty Hoynes — a pub reminiscent of those in David’s native Ireland — in Cindy’s native Syracuse. Since then, the couple and their establishment have become fixtures in Syracuse.
“The Hoynes and their family have extended hospitality and support to many nonprofit organizations,” Maxwell said. “This award recognizes their service to the community and their generous support of many causes.”
For the last eight years, hundreds of locals have come to Kitty Hoynes to shave their heads at the annual fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which raises money for childhood cancer research. David said starting the event was a “no-brainer,” considering the great need of children and their families. This year’s event brought the site’s eight-year fundraising total to more than $2 million.
The couple also supports Project Children, which brings Catholic and Protestant youths from Northern Ireland to Central New York for six weeks in the summer.
“It’s a chance for both Catholic and Protestant kids to come over and see and experience that we’re all human beings,” David said.
Though he prefers to work “under the radar,” David said he and Cindy are very thankful to receive the award from an organization that does so much good “every minute of every day.”
The House of Providence Dinner will be held in the Main Ballroom at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at the Oncenter in Syracuse on May 23. Tables of ten are available for $1,750; individual reservations are $175. Contact Toni Maxwell at (315) 362-7528 for details.