SVDP honors three volunteers at event

The Louisville Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP) honored its top three volunteers and welcomed 30 new members during a ceremony at St. Agnes Church Feb. 8.

Tom Bizzell, a member of the SVDP Conference at St. Mary Church in Southern Indiana, received the Top Hat Award, the highest award given by the SVDP Conference Affairs Committee.

According to a news release from the society, the award is presented to someone who “exemplifies the spirit of the charity’s founder, Frederic Ozanam.”

Bizzel, treasurer of his conference, began his service in 1987 by delivering groceries to needy families.

“He goes to great lengths to contact clients and then consults with other conferences and agencies about what and how much help to render,” said the release.

Bizzel makes regular visits to clients in their homes and manages the conference’s bank account.

“His detailed notes and reports at meetings show that he is devoted to helping every deserving client and that he is not easily discouraged from doing whatever it takes to get that done,” the release said.

Marilyn Bientz, treasurer of the St. Ignatius Church SVDP Conference, received the St. Vincent Award for her “nonjudgmental service to people in need,” the release said.

Bientz serves in the society’s Open Hand Kitchen and visits the sick and elderly in nursing homes, according to the release. “She offers encouragement and negotiates with utility companies on behalf of clients.”

Gayle Schrank of the Tri Parish SVDP Conference in Floyds Knobs, Ind., received the Ozanam Medallion because she “serves as a role model for other Vincentians and is also an inspiration to the broader faith community,” said the news release.

Schrank makes regular home visits to the needy and volunteers in the SVDP Open Hand Kitchen. Schrank has also served in nursing homes and prisons.

“Schrank often talks to others about the importance of ‘being Christ’ to others and seeing Christ in the people we serve,” the release said.

During the ceremony, the society also welcomed 30 new members of parish conferences. Parishes in the Archdiocese of Louisville and Southern Indiana with new members are:

Holy Spirit Church — Kevin Maloney.
Holy Trinity Church — John Bowling and Mary Jean Gandolfo.
St. Agnes — Jamie Claeys.
St. Dominic Church in Springfield, Ky. — Glenda Graves, Jim Logsdon, Mary Lou Nally, Ruth Ann Osbourne, Dominican Sister Mary Otho Ballard, Carolyn Ray, Norma Jean Smith, Rosemary Warren and Joe Yates.
St. Edward Church — Debbie Bates, Kathleen Price, Mary Jo Ridenour, Lynn Shoemaker and Jane Thompson.
St. John Paul Church in Sellersburg, Ind. — Jane Herbst and John Herbst.
St. Martha Church — Jack Willenbrink.
St. Michael Church — Geraldine Brooks, Florence Mesker and Judy Noble.
St. Paul Church — Debbie Grizwald, Teresa Pacheco, Brian Roe, Margie Roe, Rosemary Taylor and Tina Timberlake-Whitaker.

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