Kathi Bailey • Lois Coulter • Doug Crooker • Tom Dimitroff • Tom and Sherry Gehl • Patty Ozer • Bethany Rudolph • Paarth Shah • Richard Walters • George Buck and John Yorio
page 2 | people who make a difference | 03.27.11
Celebrating the Committed Caregivers of
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Five to Nine Years First row left to right: Krista Lee, Shanna VanPatten, Dawnelle Coats, Amber Smith Back row left to right: Delores Folk, Becky Elvenia, Lilibeth Dayag, Kim Hedden, Deanna Vosburgh, Terri Radke, April Dilly, Jodi turner and Becky Wheaton.
Ten to Fourteen Years Front row left to right: Heidi Graves and Renee Warner Back row left to right: Beth Downing, Ginny McNutt-Kruger, Heather Bohlayer, and Shelly Jayne Missing: Barb Thomas
Fifteen to Twenty-Five Years Front row left to right: Cindy Blencowe, Robin Lee, Lisa Barrett, Margaret Morford Back Row left to right: Barbara Pickering, Donna Ames, Amy Clark and Peigi Cook Missing: Julie Dann
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JASON COX | THE LEADER
Patty Ozer works with dancers at CMoG for an upcoming show.
A labor of love Patty Ozer choreographs, directs young dancers in story ballets BY DERRICK EK firstname.lastname@example.org
CORNING | Every winter, Patty Ozer choreographs and directs a story ballet for hundreds of young dancers from across the area. Preparing the cast for the production takes long hours each weekend over a span of five or six months, beginning in late summer. The last few weeks are especially frantic. It all culminates with a run of performances before big crowds at the Corning Museum of Glass Auditorium. This year’s show was called “The Road to El Dorado,” about the adventures of two friends and their journey to a city of gold. Past shows have included “The Little Mermaid,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Lion King,” “Beyond the Wizard of Oz,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Hercules,” “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” and “Peter Pan.” Ozer puts her own twist on the classics, though, converting them into story ballets. There’s no dialogue in the shows, although the audience gets a synopsis in the flyer and there’s a narrator. Rather, “they are a dance performance that tells a story,” Ozer said.
Bio Who | Patty Ozer Resides | Corning Teaches dance at 171 Cedar Art Center and directs ballet performances at Corning Museum of Glass. Ozer teaches dance at Corning’s 171 Cedar Arts Center, and she stages her annual productions to give them a showcase for their talents, in a public forum outside of their classes. But it’s not just her 171 Cedar students. She holds open auditions, and draws dancers from private studios across the area. A few adults get involved, too. “I just loving working with the kids and seeing something develop from nothing into a major production, and watching the way the kids bond and become a family,” Ozer said. “We go from 8-year-olds up to adults, and they become like a very large dance family. They support each other, they take care of each other, they work with each other, and its great to watch.” The shows are a labor of love for Ozer.
SEE OZER | 15E
03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 3
When disaster strikes Caton firefighter Doug Crooker responds to emergencies BY JEFFERY SMITH email@example.com
CATON | Volunteer firefighter Doug Crooker has deep roots in the Caton Volunteer Fire Department dating all the way back to his boyhood days. “I used to hear the fire trucks leaving the department when I was a kid,” Crooker said. “I just lived a little bit away, less than a mile from the department. That’s what really first kind of got me involved.” Crooker, 54, has been a Caton fire-
JASON COX | THE LEADER
Doug Crooker is a volunteer firefighter with the Caton Volunteer Fire Department.
Bio Who | Doug Crooker Age | 54 Position | A volunteer firefighter at the Caton Volunteer Fire Department. fighter for nearly 35 years, and during that time he has been to hundreds of emergency calls. “I love doing this,” Crooker said. “It’s
SEE CROOKER | 5E
“I love doing this. It’s a big part of my life. Caton firefighters are dedicated, trained well and the people are well protected. We work as a team here, so it’s hard to take credit for something personally when it a team working together that gets the job done.”
page 4 | people who make a difference | 03.27.11
ERIC WENSEL | THE LEADER
Bethany Rudolph sorts through donations for Haiti.
On a mission Bethany Rudolph raises funds for Haiti relief effort BY BOB RECOTTA firstname.lastname@example.org
PAINTED POST | For West High sophomore Bethany Rudolph, community service means looking beyond her neighborhood. At the age of 12, Rudolph took her first mission trip to Massachusetts to work with an organization that provides livestock to families in ThirdWorld countries. “I worked on a farm helping to raise the animals,” Rudolph said. While this was Rudolph’s first mission away from home, it was not her first exposure to helping those in need. “It’s something I’ve been raised with,” Rudolph said. “When I was younger my family participated in Habitat for Humanity. It’s turned into a habit for me, something that I really enjoy. I want my future to be service related and work with other people.” Rudolph said it was another mission
Bio Name: Bethany Rudolph Age: 15 Residence: Painted Post Profession: Student, Corning-Painted Post West High School. Position: Volunteer, raised money for Haiti trip, this time to the poverty-ravaged island of Haiti in 2009 with a group from Beartown Road Alliance Church, that made a huge impact on her. “It was a life-changing experience,” RudoIph said. “I worked with kids in the community who weren’t fortunate enough to go to school. It was eyeopening to see how lucky I was. It just made me feel so much more grateful for everything I have. I also learned about my faith and to trust that everything
SEE RUDOLPH | 5E
03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 5
Continued from 4E
Continued from 3E
will be all right and to not worry about the details of every minute.” Her experience in Haiti had such a profound impact on Rudolph she knew that when the country was devastated by earthquakes in 2010, she had to do something to help Rudolph organized a silent auction to raise money for Haitian relief efforts. She solicited and received donations from more than 75 businesses, which allowed her to put together about 40 gift baskets to be auctioned off. She also received approximately 40 gift cards for the auction. Rudolph will now take the $5,500 she earned through the auction and travel to Haiti to help rebuild an orphanage that was severely damaged by the earthquake. A lifetime spent helping others has had an affect on Rudolph. She said she’s beginning to look at colleges and career paths. Though it’s still early in her search, she said she’s interested in Messiah College. “I saw it had a lot of international opportunities,” Rudolph said. “I am interested in going global with my mission, interacting with other countries and people of other cultures.” Rudolph said right now she’s leaning toward a career in special education or counseling.
a big part of my life. Caton firefighters are dedicated, trained well and the people are well protected. We work as a team here, so it’s hard to take credit for something personally when it a team working together that gets the job done.” Crooker has served as the department’s medical captain, treasurer and chief. He has also worked on fundraising events and community outreach programs. “Things have changed a lot,” Crooker said. “When I first started (the firefighters) didn’t even use air packs. We would just enter with our nose to the floor. It’s been a long time and a lot has changed, mostly for the better.” Crooker said every emergency is different, frequently with unsuspected outcomes. “I’ve been to so many amazing times, when people
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ERIC WENSEL | THE LEADER
have survived against all odds and to other where the (incident) didn’t seem that serious and people died,” Crooker said. “You just never know.” One situation Crooker will never forget was an emergency call in 1991. “I was in the department when the dispatch came in that my one of my barns were hit by lightning and on fire,” Crooker said. “I knew right away it was one of my barns, I just didn’t know which barn it was until we arrived at the scene. It was quite a scene, 19 fire departments responded to the scene and did what they could to deal with the fire.” Crooker said he has seen plenty of fires, accidents and three plane crashes during his time in the department. “(The department) always has to stay up and be ready for any emergency,” Crooker said.
page 6 | people who make a difference | 03.27.11
Community-oriented Sherry and Tom Gehl help out at Meals on Wheels, Food Pantry BY DERRICK EK email@example.com
CORNING | Sherry Gehl loves Corning, and she’s spent a lifetime helping out the city’s residents. When the Corning Museum of Glass opened in 1951, Sherry was a teenage volunteer. After the Flood of ’72 swept through the city, she worked to preserve landmarks such as the Benjamin Patterson Inn, the Centerway Bridge and old City Hall, which was transformed into the Rockwell Museum of Western Art. She’s done charitable work over the years through St.
Bio Who | Tom and Sherry Gehl Reside | Corning Volunteers with Meals on Wheels, Corning Community Food Pantry, Corning Museum of Glass, the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive, among others. Vincent’s Church and the Corning Area Woman’s Club, among others. Nowadays, she volunteers at Corning Meals on Wheels, bringing hot meals – as well as a bit of companionship – to elderly folks in the area. She also volunteers as a
“If you give to the world, it will come back to you.” Sherry Gehl
receptionist at the Corning Community Food Pantry, interviewing families who apply for assistance. As a docent at the Corning Museum of Glass, she takes groups of schoolchildren on gallery tours, and helps out at special events such as Families Explore. She makes jewelry and
JASON COX | THE LEADER
SEE GEHL | 9E
Tom and Sherry Gehl carry a delivery to their vehicle for Corning Meals on Wheels.
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03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 7
A helping hand Lois Coulter plans homeless shelter BY MARY PERHAM
BATH | Lois Coulter knows exactly why God put her on Earth. “I do believe in the depth of my heart I am here to help the homeless,” Coulter said. “It may not all happen in my lifetime. But I know I am.” Coulter is founder of Shepherd’s Haven of Bath, Inc. – a grassroots, nonprofit organization planning to set up a homeless shelter on 15.5 acres in the northeast corner of the town of Bath on Chrisler Road. Once built, the shelter would offer transitional and emergency over-night housing for those who need a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. But the plan goes beyond that; the $2 million-$3 million complex would include three wings, separated for men, women and families. Stays would be for up to three months. The shelter would also include a
Who | Lois Coulter Resides | Bath Founder of Shepherd’s Haven of Bath, Inc. library, kitchen and cafeteria, chapel, nurse’s station and day care center. Classes would be held to help residents become self-sufficient, with classes ranging from budgeting and saving to raising small livestock and crops. After a background check, applicants could stay at the shelter for up to three months, and be required to have a savings account. The non-denominational project, sponsored by Centenary United Methodist Church, also would be as self-sufficient as possible, relying on its home grown food, private donations and staying away from governmental
MARY PERHAM | THE LEADER
SEE COULTER | 14E
Lois Coulter looks over plans for a homeless shelter in Bath.
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JASON COX | THE LEADER
Richard Walters takes a break from cooking at the Benjamin Patterson Inn.
Here, there, everywhere Richard Walters volunteers with VA, RSVP and Red Cross BY MARY PERHAM firstname.lastname@example.org
BATH | To the casual observer, there’s not much Richard “Dick” Walters isn’t involved in: The Bath VA, RSVP, TRIAD, the American Red Cross, the Steuben County Citizens Corps Council, ARC. Even with that busy schedule, there’s
something the 81-year-old Navy veteran really loves to do – fly his Cessna 172. “I love the freedom, mostly,” Walters said. “And having someone on board. I hate to fly by myself. It’s the most boring thing.” One thing is clear, the New York City SEE WALTERS | 9E
03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 9
WALTERS Continued from 8E
transplant isn’t bored often. A former expediter for a Long Island electronics firm, and father of five, Walters and his wife, Ruth, brought property in Bath and fell in love with the area. He and his family moved to the area when he retired. As a VA volunteer, Walters visits veterans in the hospital and in their homes, and helps a nurse provide hospice care. He’s organized and flown in the fly-over that launches the annual Memorial Day Parade at the Bath VA for the past 16 years. With his love of flying, he is active in the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Keuka Lake Amateur Radio Association, and Historical Aircraft Group. When he’s down on the ground, he helps out with whatever comes to hand, such as installing smoke detectors in homes. “In Canisteo, this one home, I installed five new detectors,” he said, starting to smile at the memory. “Six months later, they move. And tear the house down!” His eyes widen at the thought, the smile becomes a cheekstretching grin. “It’s gone! I couldn’t believe it!” Walters has also gone with Red Cross teams to Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Louisiana to deal with the aftermath of natural catastrophes. “We fed 5,000 in Wisconsin. You feed ’em three times a day, plus coffee and snacks,” he said. He paused before adding the understatement, “We were kind of busy.” Coffee and snacks is something he’s also good at – and supplies them for
Bio Who | Richard “Dick” Walters Age | 81 Resides | Bath Involved with the Bath VA Medical Center, RSVP, TRIAD, the American Red Cross, the Steuben County Citizens Corps Council and ARC, among others. the meetings he attends at the Steuben County Office for the Aging. “He makes the coffee, brings the doughnuts,” said RSVP Director Nan Hammes. “He always comes in ahead of time to set up so the staff doesn’t have to.” Through RSVP, Walters volunteers for a number of senior-assistance programs, such as the crime prevention group, TRIAD. He sits on councils and boards, and offers his opinions on the matters at hand, Hammes said. “He has such a commitment,” she said. “A strong, faithful, commitment. If he says he’ll be there, he’s there. When he has something he really cares about he stays with it. He always makes you feel you’re his priority.” Walters admitted it’s not always gogo-go. “Well, a lot depends,” he said. “I mean it’s not every day.” This weekend, he’s learning how pioneers made food as part of a Benjamin Patterson Inn program. “It’s just who he is,” Hammes said. “If somebody just says ‘Thank you,’” Walters said. “I think, ‘That’s OK then. I’m doing some good.’”
GEHL Continued from 6E
donates it to charity. And during the holidays, she’s a bellringer for the Corning Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign. And for many of Sherry’s activities, Tom Gehl – her husband of 54 years – is right by her side, either directly involved or serving as her “official driver,” she joked. “Both Tom and Sherry love their community and it shows in their endless dedication to helping others,” wrote a Leader reader who nominated the Gehls for this year’s “People Who Make a Difference.” Tom worked for Corning Inc. for 40
years, while Sherry raised the couple’s seven children, who’ve since had 17 kids of their own. When Tom retired 18 years ago, he joined his wife as a “fulltime volunteer,” as he puts it. “We just really enjoy helping people out,” Tom said. “It’s very rewarding.” “If you give to the world, it will come back to you,” Sherry added. The Gehls don’t seem like the type who toot their own horn. But the time they spend doesn’t go unnoticed. “Few people actually live their convictions and beliefs,” said Joe Detrick, Meals on Wheels executive director. “They do. They demonstrate it every day. They’re a great Christian couple.”
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page 10 | people who make a difference | 03.27.11
Restoring pieces of history Tom Dimitroff works to refurbish Corning landmarks BY JEFFERY SMITH email@example.com
CORNING | Tom Dimitroff’s love for local history began in 1963 when he started teaching a local and state history class. Since that time he’s enjoyed sharing his enthusiasm with the rest of the community. “I think it’s so important that people know the history of their own area,” Dimitroff said. “If you really want to learn history and you take a telescope and look towards Plymouth Rock, you’re looking the wrong way. You need to look towards your hometown.” Over the past several decades Dimitroff has worked to refurbish several of Corning’s historical landmarks, many which were deteriorating from a lack of care. Recently he guided a project, along
Bio Who | Tom Dimitroff Resides | Corning Local preservationist and historian. with his wife Celesta “Peetie” Dimitroff, to successfully restore historic signs of the former Hawkes Company buildings on West Market Street. The Hawkes Company was one of the city’s early glass companies, and its founder, Thomas G. Hawkes, was also the co-founder of Steuben Glass Works. “We’re very proud of the sign,” Dimitroff said. In 2002, he was behind getting the badly damaged and faded “People Wall” in City Hall restored. The series of lifesized pictures cover the two-story SEE DIMITROFF | 15E
JASON COX | THE LEADER
Tom Dimitroff is seen at Corning City Hall. Behind him is the “People Wall” he helped restore.
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03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 11
A penny at a time Paarth Shah raises $2,300 for school in India BY BOB RECOTTA firstname.lastname@example.org
HORSEHEADS | Horseheads High School junior Paarth Shah has been involved in community service since he was in sixth grade. His interest in helping others began in 2006 when heavy rains caused flooding in southern and western India. Shah and two other friends with roots in the Indian-American community began a penny drive. While they only raised about $100 a penny at a time, it started the ball rolling. “After that we started giving speeches to local organizations like Rotary and schools,” Shah said. “Things ballooned and with the help of Rotary we ended up raising $2,300. The funds were used to put in 60 computers in two high schools that would benefit
over 2,500 students.” In 2009, Shah traveled to India and held an all-day workshop at the school where he donated the computers. The subject of his workshop was the importance of community service. “I really tried to emphasize the fact that, if I help reach 2,500 kids and these kids help another 2,500 kids the world would be a better place,” Shah said. “I tried to engage them into trying to do something to make their community better.” Raising $2,300 for a school in India would have been enough for many people. Shah, however, had been bitten by the public service bug and wanted to do more. “While I was (in India) I saw a woman on the street who was crying
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SEE SHAH | 15E
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Kathi Bailey poses at base camp for Mt. Kilimanjaro.
page 12 | people who make a difference | 03.27.11
Climbing for cancer Kathi Bailey scales mountains to raise money for society BY MARY PERHAM email@example.com
Bio Who | Kathi Bailey Resides | Prattsburgh
Mountain climber raises money for the American Cancer Society.
PRATTSBURGH | When Kathi Bailey learned a co-worker Carol was stricken with lung cancer she struggled to find ways to help her good friend. “What can you say? You don’t know what to do,” said Bailey, an occupational therapist at Hornell Gardens. “I mean you can fix food, and take things over, but it never seems like enough.” So Bailey, of Prattsburgh, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2008 to raise money for the American Cancer Society. And her friend, Carol – who had succumbed to the disease – was with her in vig-
orous spirit, Bailey said. “I felt her presence,” Bailey said, and laughed. “Kicking me. Pushing me.” An occupational therapist for 25 years, an avid hiker, mother of two and grandmother of two more, Bailey raised $3,992 for the Kilimanjaro climb through Journeys of Inspiration, a joint fundraising effort between the American Cancer Society and the adventure company, Pack, Paddle, Ski. Funds raised through the expeditions go to the Rochester chapter of the American Cancer Society before being distributed to different districts, including Steuben County. The money pays for wigs,
chemotherapy, or to help people who can’t afford screening or tests. The five-day Kilimanjaro climb was a challenge for Bailey, who practiced by climbing Bristol Mountain over and over. “It does take its toll on you,” she said. “But I’d look around. I went with a lot of survivors and families of people who had died of cancer. And I’d think this is nothing compared to being a young mother with cancer who has to get up every morning and get her children ready for school.” Last November, she went on a second Journeys expedition, to Mt. Everest’s base camp, when
SEE BAILEY | 14E
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03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 13
A chance to play
John Yorio and George Buck create baseball league for challenged youth BY JEFFERY SMITH firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG FLATS | A baseball program has offered mentally and physically challenged youths the chance to enjoy the game, strengthen self-esteem and so much more. The Challenger Division, District 6, was started in 2004 at the Big Flats Community Park Little League field, by John Yorio and George Buck. The two men decided to start the league in part because each had a child suffering from a physical issue, and they wanted them to be able to enjoy the national past-time. When the league began, there were two teams with
players primarily from Horseheads, Elmira and Corning, Yorio said. Now the league has grown to eight teams with players ranging from Hornell to Waverly. “In addition to the baseball experience, there are therapeutic and socialization benefits of participating,” Yorio said. “The opportunities to play and the discipline of teamwork, sportsmanship and fair play are hallmarks of the program.” The average team has 12 uniformed players and two coaches. The division is for challenged youths ages 5-21, or those yet to complete high school. The game is one or two innings, Buck said. Each player
is given an opportunity to bat and play in the field. The players have an option to hit off a tee or be pitched to by a coach. There are no strike outs and no one gets thrown out. “Whether its one swing or 50 it’s batter-up until there’s a hit,” Yorio said. “It doesn’t matter if one team has more players than the other because no one is keeping score.” Players are paired with a “buddy” to help them swing a bat, make their way around the bases or field a ball. “Kids learn not only the fundamentals of baseball,” Yorio said. “But also how it feels to be just like other children pulling together as a team, being cheered and earning
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Who | John Yorio and George Buck. Founders of the the Challenger Division, District 6, youth baseball league for disabled youths. JASON COX | THE LEADER
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ing the Elmira Jackals, Covered Wagon and Elmira Structures. “We couldn’t do any of this without the sponsors, and all the people who volunteer their time,” Buck said. Yorio said the Challenge League is currently working to improve the condition of a dugout at the often used field at Community Park in Big Flats, making it handicapped accessible.
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COULTER Continued from 7E
funds, she said. “Once the government gets into it, they will tell you what to do and how to do it,” she said. The daughter and sister of ministers, the Findlay, Ohio, native has worked her way into serving the poor and homeless from the ground up. After Coulter and her second husband moved to California, they met a maid working at the Days Inn where they were staying. The maid was a single mother with three children and two jobs. Because the woman earned too much to qualify for welfare, her family lived in a van. The Coulters helped the woman and expanded their efforts to others living in the motel. When the couple moved to Bath, she began working
BAILEY with the poor, starting with the Sunday Suppers at O’Malley Hall. She became involved with the Continuum of Care, a tricounty effort to focus on the issues of poverty. As she became more aware of the overwhelming needs in area, Coulter began to give away clothing she collected, washing, sorting and storing them floor to ceiling in the couple’s large sun porch. That effort developed into ReThreads, a storefront operation on Liberty Street that also supplies other home needs. But Coulter felt tugged in another direction. Relief agencies in Steuben County would call her, asking if she could locate a place for a homeless person to stay. She would find a place, pay for a room, or bring them into her home. She withdrew from ReThreads to devote herself to
the problem of homelessness in the county. The definition of homelessness itself is vague, according to Coulter. By current governmental standards, a homeless person is a male without lodging for more than a year. But others are homeless because of a natural catastrophe or evictions. Some are technically homeless because they have no permanent address, and temporarily live with friends or family, commonly called “couch surfing,” she said. Others literally live – and die – outdoors. They all have one thing in common, Coulter said. “They’re humans, too,” she said. “They still deserve respect.” Coulter doesn’t just walk the walk and talk the talk. She’s lived it. Her first marriage ended after years of domestic violence. At one point she was
working at a McDonald’s in order to support herself and one of her four adopted children still living at home. Except they didn’t have a home. “I know what it feels like,” she said. Now her efforts are directed raising money for the shelter. She also intends to apply to ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as soon as the final paperwork is completed. Shepherd’s Haven also expects to have a new website up and running soon. Meanwhile, Coulter enjoys planning for a shelter overlooking rolling hills. She said the view reminds her of her favorite Psalm: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
Continued from 12E
the 29 year-old daughter of another workmate learned she had cancer. She raised another $3,000 for ACS and took 16 days to climb to the camp, located at 18,500 feet. She had bronchitis at the time of her climb. Right now, she has no intention of tackling another mountain – maybe. “I don’t plan to do these things,” she said. “It just happens.” Bailey – who also has raised funds for the local ACS Relays for Life – said spending time outdoors is natural. She loves the outdoors, walking, hiking, snowshoeing and frequently spends weekends camping and climbing with friends. On the other hand, her husband Robert said she may have a quiet goal of her own: To go back to the Everest camp when she’s 60. He wouldn’t bet against it. “Well…” she said, and chuckled. “Well, maybe. But not the peak. That would be too much.”
to all of the customers and business owners that continue to support our historic downtown and shopping district. Shop Local. It Makes A Difference!
03.27.11 | people who make a difference | page 15
OZER Continued from 2E
There are no participation fees for the young dancers. She volunteers her time, pays for costumes and props, and rents the auditorium, hoping the ticket sales will cover everything.
DIMITROFF Ozer does a great job of developing young dancers during their years under her tutelage, said 171 Cedar’s Jennifer Warner. “She’s an amazing teacher,” Warner said. “She’s very, very intuitive. She has that kind of
innate ability to understand where all the kids are coming from, and to balance their skills now with where she wants them to be, and where they want to be, in the future. Not everybody can do that. It’s a gift.”
tion can begin. Shah’s volunteering efforts haven’t been limited to India. He’s also acted as judge for youth court, volunteered for Special Olympics and has been involved in various projects through his Interact Club. He’s also served as class president for the past three years. “First I want to get (the crematorium) done,” Shah said. “I’ve started brainstorming. My next project will be in the local community.” Shah said he doesn’t know what his future holds. As a frequent visitor to India, he said the thought of studying
abroad appeals to him. He also said he’s weighing his options of which college to choose and what subject to major in. “Wherever I go to college I’m going to join social organizations there and try to make a difference,” Shah said. “Whatever I do I want to incorporate community service and giving back to others. I’d like to do some humanitarian work, whether that be in Africa, South America, maybe through the Peace Corps, or even at home through Teach for America.”
SHAH Continued from 11E
because her son had died but she couldn’t afford to cremate him,” Shah said. “I decided to build a crematorium in a small village that would benefit 15,000 individuals.” Shah raised money for the project by selling water bottles at sporting events. The Horseheads High School Interact Club also pitched in with the project. He said he’s raised the $20,000 necessary to build the crematorium. Now he’s working his way through the red tape so that construc-
Continued from 10E
interior of the north wall of City Hall, which was originally constructed in 1976. “We’re fortunate to have a man like Tom,” former Corning Mayor Al Lewis said. “He’s so into making sure our community has a presence of art and history. He’s a unique man, a caring man and he’s made a huge difference in our community.” The “People Wall” was a pet project of the late Mayor Jospeh J. Nasser, who used grant money after the 1972 flood to portray the people of Corning. “The pictures right now look better than they ever did,” Dimitoff said. During the 1972 flood, Dimitroff operated a shelter for flood victims at Corning Free Academy, which housed hundreds of homeless. A project Dimitroff is currently hoping to see completed
is a city historical architectural survey. The survey could be the first step toward future preservation of historic landmarks such as the Masonic Lodge, the arch entrance to Denison Park, Corning Free Academy and several other landmarks. “It could do so much for the community,” Dimitroff said. “It would give a great sense of community and how important it is.” Dimitroff, a school teacher for 35 years, has written or assisted in writing several books detailing Corning’s history and a weekly newspaper series about Steuben Glass during its 100th anniversary celebration in 2003. He is active in historic and architectural preservation and was elected a member of the Steuben County Hall of Fame in 2007.
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People Who Make A Difference tab March 27, 2011