The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) honored volunteers and inducted 20 new members into the society during a ceremony Feb. 21 at Holy Trinity Church.
The Top Hat Award, the highest honor presented by the society’s Conference Affairs Committee, was presented to Mary Weckman of the Holy Spirit Church Conference.
The award is presented to a person who “has worked among the material and spiritual poor in the manner and demeanor of our founder, Frederic Ozanam,” an announcement from the society said.
Weckman, the announcement said, “is diligent in helping those in need, as well as helping the downtown campus with all their programs and needs. She is always concerned about the needs of clients. She provides them not only with their immediate needs but supports them and is instrumental in providing them with all information that will help them in the future.”
She volunteers in a variety of ways — she helped build the playground on the downtown campus and she works long hours at the Christmas Santa Shop and organizing Halloween parties for the children on campus.
Weckman also serves once a month at the Open Hand Kitchen and attends the National Meeting of St. Vincent de Paul annually, serving as the proxy for the Archdiocese of Louisville.
“She never says ‘no’ to any request to help the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul,” the announcement said. “Mary is truly an inspiration and a leader to and for all Vincentians.”
The society presented the St. Vincent Plaque to Thomas Ross of the St. Rita Church Conference. The award is presented to a volunteer who exemplifies the spirit of St. Vincent, “supplying nonjudgmental and supportive service to those in need,” the announcement said.
According to the announcement, Ross has served the area’s poorest residents for more than 35 years. He visits SVDP clients in their homes, making several visits a month. He also delivers food to a food pantry in the area and works there twice a week. And he volunteers monthly in the Open Hand Kitchen.
“He displays an extraordinary testimony to his Vincentian spirit,” the announcement said. “He is non-judgmental and sympathetic with the plight of the poor, unemployed, addicted, abused and mentally ill and clients going through challenging circumstances.
He balances sympathy with being diligent about investigating the client’s circumstances in order to protect the interest of the Society. This Vincentian always puts the needs of the clients first.”
The society’s Ozanam Medal, which is presented to one who exemplifies the spirt of Frederic Ozanam and dedication to the society, was awarded to Amy Douglas of St. Anthony of Padua Church’s Conference in Clarksville, Ind.
Douglas, treasurer of her conference, serves clients with compassion and dedication, the announcement said. She works directly with clients, delivers donations to the SVDP Thrift Store, recruits new members and prepares financial reports.
“Her compassion and dedication to each client and their needs are unparalleled. She has an unwavering way of making people feel good even in bad situations. She excels in counseling and needs of her clients,” the announcement said. “She continues to marvel us all by her dedication and support of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
In addition to the awards presentations, the society welcomed 20 new members.
The new members and their conferences are:
Renae Riley and Robert Crotty from the Holy Trinity Conference; Dawn Riester from the St. Agnes Church Conference; Juan Rivera from the St. Rita Conference; Robert and Mary Ann Dalton and Jane Hertzman from the Holy Spirit Conference; Sisters Marilyn King and Mary Louise Yurik from the St. Dominic Church Conference; Don Beam, Liz Beam and Terri Beeler from the St. Bernadette Church Conference; Margo Henry, Jan Nelson, Brenda Neville, Brian Roe, Joseph Roe and Susan Rogers from the St. Paul Church Conference; Kenyon Meyer from the St. Raphael Church Conference and Nelson Hamm from St. Anthony of Padua’s conference.