Member Story

2020 Fraternalist of the Year

The Fraternalist of the Year award recognizes an individual within GCU who is the embodiment of fraternalism. Someone who lives a life of service through their local lodge, church, and community.
After consideration of the candidates submitted to the committee, Dr. Sherri Ann Homanko, a clinical pharmacist at a critical illness recover hospital and Greater Hazleton Regional Lodge (GHRL) member, was chosen the 2020 GCU Fraternalist of the Year. Sherri not only works full time at her occupation, she also cares for church parishioners that are part of her GCU lodge. She spends time after her shift or during her breaks to pay a visit and give the patient some familiar company. Sherri was the main care giver for her father following an extensive surgery in November 2019. She still finds time to volunteer countless hours in her community—touching the lives of many.

Sherri serves as secretary of the West Hazleton Lions Club. With the Lions she participates in many activities benefiting her community including the West Hazleton Christmas Tree lighting welcoming Santa Claus and answering telephones for the American Cancer Society Telethon. As a Board member with Greater Hazleton CAN DO, Inc. representing the West Hazleton Lions Club, Sherri serves on the Community Relations Committee, serves as the Industrial Park's Curb Appeal Event co-Chair and has served on the annual dinner committee. She volunteers with the student action subcommittee, mentoring and participating with CAN DO's Community Christmas where youth from various schools in the region perform for the community. Most recently, she has been spreading information for grants and COVID-19 relief financial options throughout businesses in the area for assistance in these troubling times.

Sherri is the Executive Director of the Miss Greater Hazleton Scholarship Organization (MGHSO) where she mentors young women ages 12-25. The program provides the benefits of community service, resume preparation. communication growth, interview skill improvement, public speaking, confidence building, talent development, networking, goal setting, fundraising skills, lifelong friendships, professional development and scholarship opportunities. MGHSO holds three annual
fundraising events—Halloween Harvest Party, Christmas Character Breakfast and the
Easter Bunny Brunch & Egg Hunt. At all events, a canned food drive is held to support food banks. Funds are used to support scholarships and community service initiatives

Sherri volunteers for Hazleton's FUNFest and helped organize the launch of HOMETOWN
HEROES in 2019 with Mike Sosar. She also arranges for teens to dress as familiar princesses to spread happiness for children.

As a volunteer at the Hazleton UNICO's Bell Italia Festival she organizes the Kiddie Komer, featuring free games and face painting for children. She has titleholders from the Miss Greater Hazleton Scholarship Organization and cheerleaders in the Hazleton Area School District volunteer.
At Butler Township's Fall Festival, Sherri assists in organizing participation in their parade
and face painting. In addition, Sherri arranges for Butler Township to have MGHSO Titleholders present at their Annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

At Hazle Township's Christmas in the Park, Sherri organizes the smore stand for attendees to have a tasty snack while they warm up by the fire pits.

The 2019 Christmas in Conyngham was not going to be held for the first time in four years. Sherri and her friends arranged a committee and pulled off the event which including a parade, vendors, tricky trays and entertainment in 6 weeks.

With the Conyngham Valley Civic Organization (CVCO), Sherri is part of a volunteer board that is responsible for managing the community pool and gymnasium. At CVCO's Valley Day fundraiser, which defrays expenses for the pool, Sherri is in charge of co-managing 10-14 carnival game stands and obtaining all of the prizes year-round to stock the stands.

In addition to the above, she also organizes the annual Baby Parade; volunteers for the Helping Hands Society at their annual gift wrapping at the Laurel Mall, office games event and Telethon; was keynote speaker for the Hazleton Chamber's 41st Annual Academic Awards for graduating seniors in the Hazleton Area and twice a year, Sherri visits the pharmaceutics class at the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences to discuss her career as a pharmacist, college life, her experiences and general advice for students.

Sherri received a plaque presented by GCU National Director Dorothy Foran and last year’s GCU Fraternalist of the Year Agnes Rohrbach. She chose to split her $500.00 award between her parish of St. John BC Church in Hazleton, PA and the Miss Greater Hazleton Scholarship Organization.
Nomination forms for the 2021 GCU Fraternalist of the Year will be available for completion on the GCU website in January.

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