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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:10:25 19:06:21

The Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA’s annual Leadership Dinner was held Thursday, Oct. 25.

Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2018:10:25 19:07:10

The Greater Scranton & Wilkes-Barre Family YMCAs held their annual Leadership Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 25. More than $42,000 in sponsorships were raised. Funding will support scholarships, allowing low-income children to benefit from all the Y has to offer, including early childhood education programs, membership, youth sports and enrichment programs and more.

Almost 200 people were in attendance.

The silent auction raised almost $9,000.

The newly incorporated Wine Pull raised nearly $1,000 and benefits kids swim lessons.

The organization honored Catherine Mihalick, Albert J. Kotch and Rose Mahler at the event.

Mihalick of Shavertown received the 2018 Robert K. Mericle Leadership Award, which honors an individual who demonstrates exemplary efforts in furthering the mission of the YMCA and enhancing the quality of life in the community.

A stalwart supporter of the YMCA, Mihalick has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2008. She held the reins as board president from 2013-15. She was nominated for “her continued commitment of time, energy and expertise in board activities,” according to her nomination. Her roles included serving on a number of committees and projects, including the Leadership Dinner, Executive Committee, Annual Campaign, Friends and Family Night Out and Finance Committee, among many others. She has also served her community as past president of the Junior League and Wyoming Seminary Parents’ Association, and currently is treasurer of the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Mihalick is an attorney specializing in estate planning, probate and litigation at the Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia offices of Vinsko and Associates, P.C. in addition to practicing law at other Northeast Pennsylvania area law firms. Mihalick is a native of Kingston and a graduate of Wyoming Seminary. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Dickinson College, and holds a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law. She also holds a Certified Trust and Financial Designation and is admitted to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar.

Kotch, of Walnutport, was presented with the 2018 Frank M. Henry Layperson of the Year Award. The award recognizes an unsung hero at the YMCA, one who contributes his or her time and services for the betterment of the organization and the local community. Kotch has served the YMCA as a Camp Kresge Committee member for the past five years. During this time, Kotch has served as grill master for various community events at camp, cooking and donating hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers. He also donated a large amount of furniture from a previous business to Camp Kresge that is used in the Camp Office and Program Office.

Kotch is a U.S. Navy veteran and the founding member of the Camp Kresge Hunting Club, a hunting program for wounded veterans. He also established a disk golf tournament, which raised the seed money needed to facilitate the hunting program, and he donated his time and the materials to build two handicap accessible hunting blinds on camp property to help wounded veterans to hunt. Kotch hosts the veterans overnight and then accompanies them on a one- or two-day hunt. He also has donated his time to help replace old platform tents with open air cabins. He designed the cabins and helped oversee the project, resulting in open air cabins in the Camp’s Outpost Village next to Creasy Creek.

Kotch formerly served as president and CEO of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Lehigh Valley, and is the properties manager for Bennett Family Properties.

Mahler received the 2018 George Brandt Community Service Award. The award is named in honor of the indefatigable YMCA board member George Brandt, who passed away in September, 2015. The award is bestowed annually to a volunteer who demonstrates the type of exceptional service that Brandt did as an active member and volunteer of the Wilkes-Barre YMCA for more than 60 years.

A resident of Nuangola, Mahler was selected for the Brandt Award in part because she stepped up and took on the role of Annual Campaign chair the year after Brandt passed away. In addition, she and her family, including her husband, Eric Mahler, and their two children Adam and Emily, have been involved with the YMCA swim team and aquatics department for more than a decade. She was appointed to and has served on the board of directors since 2014.

Mahler has shown outstanding commitment to volunteerism at the YMCA with participation in the numerous committees and projects, including the Annual Campaign, Executive Committee, Leadership Dinner, and the Membership/Program Committee.

Mahler is the sales leader of Luzerne Bank Mortgage Services, where she has worked for the past five years. A graduate of King’s College and Leadership Wilkes-Barre, she is a member of the Luzerne County Community College Advisory Committee for the Wilkes-Barre campus. She is a prior member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake Committee.