Wednesday, April 22, 2015

GSWPA honors service, leadership at annual Awards of Distinction dinner

 Event chair David Davis, Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA,
John and Michelle Polacek, NRC Chairman Stephen Burns
and his wife Joan Burns, and Honorary Chair Mrs. Joyce Murtha
At the 38th annual Awards of Distinction dinner April 20 in Johnstown, Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania honored leaders in the community who uphold the mission of Girl Scouting – to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

Honorary chair Mrs. Joyce Murtha and event chair David Davis presented the evening's awards.

The 2015 winners of the Community Service Award are John and Michelle Polacek. The Polaceks are being honored for their many volunteer roles in the Johnstown region.

Michelle Polacek focuses her service on Johnstown’s youth, through Girl Scouts and Belmont United Methodist Church. She first became a troop co-leader 12 years ago when her daughter Haleigh was in first grade, and she’s been leading Girl Scouts ever since. She is also the service unit’s cookie manager. At her church, she leads the youth group, serves on the wellness committee and teaches Sunday school.

Michelle is also on the committee for the Chef’s Auction which benefits different local charities every year.

John Polacek, who is the Chief Operating Officer of JWF Defense Systems and JWF Industries, has served on many boards, including the Red Cross, Arcadia Theatre, Problem Solutions, Arbutus Park Manor, Veteran Community Initiatives and as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Chamber of Commerce.

He joins the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania board of directors in April.

Girl Scouts welcomed keynote speaker, the Honorable Stephen G. Burns, Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Mr. Burns was sworn in as a Commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Nov. 5, 2014, to a term ending June 30, 2019. President Obama designated him as Chairman of the NRC effective Jan. 1, 2015.

He joined a long list of well-known leaders who have spoken at the event, including Dan Rooney, Tip O'Neill, Lee Iacocca, Leon Panetta, and Nancy Pelosi.