Fraternalist of the Year


Our Fraternalist of the Year Award is based on recognizing an LCBA member who, through example and accomplishment, provided outstanding volunteer service to his or her branch and local community.

Carmella Shirley

Fraternalist of the year

Carmella Shirley, member of Branch 1425, Ford City, PA, has been named LCBA’s 2017 Fraternalist of the Year!

Carmella Shirley is the perfect example of age being just a number! Carmella is 89 years young and fully committed to her church and LCBA. She rarely misses a meeting unless she is ill or has a medical emergency and even then her dedication to her commitments shows. Several years ago, she fell while sweeping outside and broke her ankle. When Branch President Deb Ceraso went to visit her, she was very upset and apologetic that she had missed a meeting. Can you imagine? This example is how Carmella lives her life.

This past year, she was in charge of reservations for the Branch’s annual Christmas Party, which is no small task, and as usual, did a perfect job. Carmella is a whiz with numbers, so she always double checks the branch’s finances to make sure they are correct. She is also very helpful in assisting with tallying all of the members/branch volunteer service hours. Carmella often drives herself to meetings unless there is inclement weather, then she calls for a ride. Otherwise, she actually is someone who picks up other church members (many are younger than her!) and takes them to mass or to the branch’s soup & salad luncheons.

Carmella says yes to everything, often before she even knows what is being asked of her. She is so humble and always quietly leads by example. She has been a very active LCBA member since 1960, and continues to contribute as much now as she did back then. She is truly an inspiration to everyone!

Service to Others

Despite raising four children of her own, working off and on through her married years, Carmella has exhibited a spirit of volunteerism her entire life. Her areas of expertise appear to be taxes and genealogy. Being excellent with numbers, and having studied tax law, Carmella is an integral part of the AARP Tax Program volunteering her time since 1991. She also assists the elderly, low income and disabled with their taxes.

Carmella participates in instructional classes at Grace Presbyterian Church in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania; Trinity Lutheran Church in Butler, Pennsylvania and also provides tax assistance service at the 1st Baptist Church. A past volunteer at the Armstrong County Historical Society and Genealogy Club from 1990-2008, she is a respected board member, genealogy researcher and author of a variety of historical books and publications.

In addition, Carmella is very kind to the elderly and spends 15-30 minutes each week visiting them at home or driving them to church, dinners or appointments. And the ironic thing is that Carmella does not consider herself elderly, yet she is older than the majority of those she assists! She is extremely busy from February through April doing taxes for those less fortunate and freely gives her time to help anyone who needs it. She is a true Christian in every sense of the word.

Innovative Leadership

Carmella is always an active voice at Branch 1425 meetings. She suggested that the Branch consider giving to charities and individuals that were not on the current branch donation list. Her idea was well received and this year, Branch 1425 turned its attention and focus to the Ford City Public Library, HAVIN (Helping Abuse Victims In Need) and Catholic Relief Services in addition to the current donations from the branch.

Carmella never stops! It would be easy for her to slow down and disengage at this time of her life. But not Carmella! In her quiet, respectful, unassuming way, she demonstrates everything that is good in Branch 1425. She embodies the spirit of our Branch!

If any of us do half of what Carmella is able to do at 89, it will be a wonderful life lived! She is an amazing woman and everyone in Branch 1425 is proud to know her!

Life Insurance with a Conscience since 1890®.

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