Catholic Charities celebrates honorees

On May 20 at the Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center at the Oncenter in Syracuse, Hank Fust, Sister Dolores (Dolly) Bush, OSF, Sister J.P. Ridgeo, OSF, and Sandy Baker will receive awards for being outstanding examples of community leadership at the 30th Annual House of Providence Dinner. Dan Cummings of

WSYR News Channel 9, and the husband of diocesan Chancellor Danielle Cummings, will emcee the awards program.

   Hank Fust will receive the organization’s President’s Medallion, which is given to an individual who has significantly enhanced Catholic Charities of Onondaga County and the community through his/her volunteer efforts with an emphasis on concern for others. Fust, a member of Holy Cross Parish in DeWitt and a CPA for the past 45 years, is on the board of directors for a number of organizations including Bishop Grimes Jr./Sr. High School, National Boys & Girls Club of America and is on the Board of Trustees for Le Moyne College. “I am elated to win [the President’s Medallion],” stated Fust. “It’s an honor, but I’m not sure I’m deserving of it. I just believe in giving back to this area because I grew up in Syracuse. I went to St. Vincent’s School and then on to Le Moyne and I firmly believe I am who I am today because of these schools. I think Syracuse needs help with its inner city kids and this is an area that I want to devote my time and energy to. Today’s kids are Syracuse’s tomorrow. I want to be a role model and believe we all can be. We can make it possible for children in this area to have the opportunities they need to succeed and make a difference.”

   Sandy Baker will be receiving the Humanitarian Service Medallion, which honors an individual who, through a life of service both professionally and personally, consistently improves the lives of others. Baker, a parishioner at Grace Episcopal Church, is the senior director of business development & corporate strategy for Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS). She was raised in Syracuse and lives in Baldwinsville. She has been an elected official and trustee for the Village of Baldwinsville and has worked in the county legislature on the Clean Indoor Air Act, helping Onondaga County to be one of the first counties in the state to adopt the Act. Baker has also been a familiar force on the board of directors for the Baldwinsville YMCA, Chamber of Commerce, Theater Guild, and has volunteered her time for her church’s youth group and youth ministry. “Everything I’ve done is based on my being raised in faith with love and support,” stated Baker. “I certainly feel like I am not worthy of the [Humanitarian Service Medallion] but I look at it as a good opportunity to share what Catholic Charities and the House of Providence does and how lucky we are to have these great organizations here. I was raised in Syracuse, and I love it here. I believe it’s one of the best places to live.”

   The Bishop’s Medallion, which honors individuals who have served as a role model of services to others and are devoted to actively serving people of the diocese, will be awarded to Sister Dolly Bush, OSF, the director of Church of the Assumption’s Franciscan Northside Ministries and Sister J.P. Ridgeo, OSF, coordinator of medical services for the ministry. The goal of the ministry is to create a safe and accepting environment where all members of the community can receive medical, legal, social and spiritual assistance. The ministry has over 100 volunteers. “We were surprised to receive this award, but we receive it on behalf of all our volunteers,” stated Sister J.P. “Without their help, the ministry wouldn’t exist.”

   Sister Dolly agrees. “It’s a great honor for us to receive this award, especially when I think of the recipients who have received this award in the past.
The services we provide give people an opportunity to step up and take opportunities that are imperative for them to live their lives. We just keep on doing the day-to-day and hope that what we do has an impact on the community.”

   Proceeds from the annual House of Providence Dinner will be used to benefit Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, which serves over 22,000 people each year, providing services such as homeless shelters, food pantries, prescription assistance, job training, mental health services, support for veteran families and assistance to the elderly. To attend the dinner, visit www.ccoc.us or call Toni Maxwell at (315) 362-7528.

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