St. Vincent de Paul honors volunteers

At Society’s annual banquet, three were honored
and 72 volunteers became Vincentians

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul honored three volunteers and inducted 72 Vincentians into the society during a ceremony at St. Raphael Church Feb. 5.

Vincentians are lay Catholic volunteers who make a commitment to serve poor people through person-to-person assistance.

Three Vincentians, David Griffey, Linda Gottbrath and Tom Phillips, were recognized during the ceremony for their oustanding volunteer work.

The three volunteers honored by the Society are, from left, Tom Phillips, Linda Gottbrath and David Griffey. Also pictured, far right, is the Society's board chair, Jim Carrico.

The St. Vincent de Paul Society’s highest award, the Top Hat Award, was presented by the Conference Affairs Committee to Phillips, a member of Holy Trinity Church’s St. Vincent de Paul conference. The award recognizes a Vincentian who exemplifies the spirit of the society’s founder, Frederic Ozanam.

Phillips has served as an officer in his conference for many years: six years as president, eight years as secretary and 10 years as treasurer. He regularly visits people in their homes and nursing homes and is credited with developing an efficient process to meet the needs of clients.

He coordinates the parish’s food pantry contributions and delivers gifts to impoverished people in Cumberland County, Ky., at Christmas time.

Phillips also leads the emergency assistance committee and has helped several conferences develop em-ergency assistance procedures. His efforts have also brought an increase in food and financial donations to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The society presented its Ozanam Medallion to Griffey, who serves in the St. Vincent de Paul conference at Holy Spirit Church. The award recognizes an individual who serves as a role model for Vincentians and the broader faith community.

Griffey volunteers regularly, serving in the society’s food pantry, thrift store and its Open Hand Kitchen. He also delivers meals to shut-ins, organizes a movie night with refreshments for men in the society’s homeless shelter and helps organize a Halloween party for children of women served at its St. Jude shelter.

He also gathers sponsors for the St. Vincent de Paul Friends of the Poor Walk and delivers Christmas gifts to families from Holy Spirit’s Angel Tree.

Gottbrath received the society’s St. Vincent Award, presented to a person who, like St. Vincent, is dedicated to providing non-judgemental support to people in need.

She visits 15 to 20 needy people in their homes and nursing homes each week, volunteers in the Open Hand Kitchen and food pantry, makes and delivers food baskets at Christmas and helps in a variety of other projects.

A press release from the society said Gottbrath, a member of St. Rita Church, is known as “a person who always goes out of her way to help.”

During the ceremony, 72 new Vincentians also took a vow “to seek to grow in personal holiness by serving the poor of God with their fellow Vincentians; to be open to the differences in cultural and socioeconomic situations; and to strive to be non-judgmental when working with clients,” the release said.

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