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Highmark Inc. Recognizes Exceptional Employee Volunteers with Jefferson Awards for Public Service

Awards given for going above and beyond in community service efforts

PITTSBURGH, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. has recognized 12 of its employee volunteers with a Jefferson Award for Public Service for going above and beyond the call of duty in their community service efforts. A corporate champion of the American Institute for Public Service, Highmark is one of five companies in Pennsylvania with the privilege of acknowledging its employees with the Jefferson Awards for making extraordinary contributions to the community through volunteerism.

"We believe that our employees are the company's greatest asset in our ability to give back to the community," said Yvonne Cook, vice president of community and health initiatives. "The time and energy that these individuals commit to putting others before themselves truly makes them unsung heroes in our community."

Last year, nearly 1,500 of Highmark's employees logged more than 92,000 hours of volunteer work, estimated at a value of more than $1.7 million in giving back.

Highmark presented award recipients with a Jefferson Awards medallion and a $500 grant for the nonprofit organization of the winners' choice.

Of Highmark's 12 Jefferson Awards recipients, one overall winner was selected to represent the company at the national Jefferson Awards recognition ceremony in Washington D.C. Carolyn Fronapel will attend the ceremony on June 16-17 together with winners from select corporations across the United States.

Carolyn Fronapel (Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Carolyn Fronapel, business staff analysis specialist, has volunteered at St. Lawrence O'Toole Parish for more than 32 years in a variety of roles, ranging from serving on the Parish Pastoral Council to planning music for weekly services. As a member of the parish's Cluster Planning team, Carolyn was responsible for gathering and analyzing data to develop a plan to ensure the future success of the church and the communities it serves. Carolyn is also the volunteer coordinator for the parish's Food Bank program, helping to manage the intake of new applicants, scheduling for the food delivery team and follow-up with participating families. No task is too large or small for Carolyn. Whether it is serving as a spokesperson for the Food Bank to help raise funds, substituting as a delivery person when there is a lack of volunteers or ensuring emergency food requests are fulfilled, Carolyn helps provide meals for more than 20 families in the parish. Moreover, Carolyn's commitment to St. Lawrence O'Toole includes day-to-day tasks such as the training and scheduling of Eucharistic ministers, writing of prayers and singing in the church choir. Carolyn's passion for helping others, even when resources are thin, has truly made a difference in the lives of the St. Lawrence O'Toole community.

The following Highmark employees join Fronapel as recipients of the 2009 Jefferson Awards.

Mary Ann Antoine (Hometown: Carlisle, Pa.)

Mary Ann Antoine, application developer project manager, has volunteered as a Girl Scout troop leader for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. In this role, Mary Ann provides girls ages 6-12 with opportunities to participate in service events and field trips. Mary Ann also coordinates the annual Girl Scout cookie sale for the 15 Girl Scout troops in the Carlisle area. As a volunteer for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer walk, Mary Ann is a member of the food services crew, helping to serve meals to walkers during the three-day event in Philadelphia.

William Cushing (Hometown: Delmar, N.Y.)

William Cushing, vice president of business and commerce services for Davis Vision, has devoted his time and dedication to fair play and wellness for children to help develop and implement programs that impact the lives of children and senior adults in the community. William has served as a founding board member of the Bethlehem Basketball Club, Bethlehem Central Community Endowment Foundation and Bethlehem Youth Court. William currently serves as chairman of the board for the Good Samaritan Health Care Center, board member of The Wartburg Lutheran Services, executive board member for the National Institute for Sports Reform and as a committee member for the Bethlehem Lutheran Church.

Crystal Garman (Hometown: Carlisle, Pa.)

Crystal Garman, documentation analyst, provides volunteer support to Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD), an organization that trains and provides service dogs and hearing dogs to assist children and adults with disabilities to help them become more independent. As a volunteer dog trainer and a puppy raiser, Crystal cares for dogs-in-training in her own home until they are matched with an individual in need. In addition to caring for the dogs, Crystal performs administrative tasks and supports fundraising efforts to help promote the mission of SSD.

Esmeralda "Eszi" Hetrick (Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.)

Esmeralda Hetrick, client manager and diversity council member, is the president of Estamos Unidos de Pennsylvania, leading efforts to improve education, cultural awareness and social skills development within the community. Her work has resulted in numerous scholarships, summer school programs and leadership seminars for area youth. Esmeralda has helped to introduce and educate the community to the various cultures, languages and family traditions. As volunteer and board member for the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, Eszi has chaired the Women of Excellence awards. And, as a board member for Central Pennsylvania College, Eszi shares her knowledge on Hispanic cultures, issues and programs available or needed through public speaking opportunities.

Lisa Martinelli (Hometown: Murrysville, Pa.)

Lisa Martinelli, privacy department attorney, volunteers as a second-grade faith formation and religious education teacher at Mother of Sorrows School in Murrysville, Pa. With support and guidance from the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, Lisa developed, implemented and currently directs a faith formation and sacramental preparation program for autistic children at the Mother of Sorrows Parish. In addition, Lisa has served on the board of governors for the society of Catholic lawyers and as a Festival Committee volunteer for Mother of Sorrows, helping to recruit and manage some 400 volunteers.

Georgianna Sue Neufer (Hometown: Dauphin, Pa.)

Georgianna Sue Neufer, application support analyst, volunteers with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania as co-leader of Troop 970 and of Service Unit 196. Georgianna helps young girls stay active in community volunteer service activities, while helping them become independent and self-confident women. Georgianna volunteers with Boy Scout Troop #233, where her youngest son is an active member, currently working on his Eagle requirements. Georgianna volunteers with the Middle Paxton Lions Club, helping to plan annual community events. As a volunteer for Caitlin's Smiles, Georgianna provides craft kits to children of all ages, boys and girls, who are being treated in local hospitals.

Patricia Reidenbach (Hometown: Mechanicsburg, Pa.)

Patricia Reidenbach, EDI information analyst, volunteered for the past three years as the concessions chairwoman for the Mechanicsburg Girls Softball Association. Patricia was responsible for managing the concession stand and coordinating staffing for all league games. In 2008, when her husband became mobilized by the Army National Guard 56th Stryker Brigade, Patricia joined with another military spouse to establish a Family Readiness Group for their Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Patricia serves as the committee co-chair and communications chair for the group, which provides support for families of deployed soldiers as a means for connecting individuals who are in like situations. Patricia also volunteers with the Mechanicsburg school colorguard for area competitions.

Brian Rohrbaugh (Hometown: Ephrata, Pa.)

Brian Rohrbaugh, applications developer III, is an avid volunteer who is passionate about ensuring the public safety of children and the community. As the chief and training officer for Ephrata Area Rescue Services, Brian is responsible for managing emergency operations and coordinating the training schedule of volunteer members. Brian also volunteers with National Safe Kids to conduct car seat safety checks through random checkpoints, hospitals and at the firehouse. In addition, Brian volunteers as a coach and board member for two youth wrestling clubs, Ephrata Youth Wrestling and as a coach for the Lebanon County Mat Club.

Brennan Sites (Hometown: Monroeville, Pa.)

Brennan Sites, utilization management support representative, has volunteered with United Volunteer Fire and Rescue for more than 10 years. As a certified emergency medical technician (EMT), firefighter and vehicle rescue technician, Brennan responds to emergency incidents in the East McKeesport, Pa. area. And, as a certified cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)/ automated external defibrillator (AED) instructor, Brennan volunteers with the American Heart Association to provide CPR/AED classes for emergency services personnel and the community.

Dan Umansky (Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.)

Dan Umansky, territory director for Eye Care Centers of America (ECCA), utilizes his position with ECCA to partner with the Hunger Task Force in Wisconsin. Dan has been instrumental in placing food donation boxes in ECCA retail stores throughout the region and has helped to collect more than 2,000 pounds of food to the Hunger Task Force. As a volunteer for St. Augustine's Church, Dan helps serve meals to senior citizens, shut-ins and the hungry every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dan has also participated in community service activities and served as an usher for Temple on the Heights for 20 years.

George Yanoshik Jr. (Hometown: Middletown, Pa.)

George Yanoshik Jr., public relations consultant, has volunteered with the Miss America Scholarship Organization at the local and state levels for nearly 30 years, helping young women to prepare for competition and reach their ultimate goal of obtaining educational scholarships. George's communication, public speaking and professional presentation guidance has helped to instill confidence and self-esteem in those he mentors. In addition to his role as an adviser, George works to raise money to be awarded in scholarship assistance to program winners.

About the Jefferson Awards

In 1972, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Sen. Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard founded the American Institute for Public Service, a nonprofit public foundation, to establish a "Nobel Prize" for public and community service -- the Jefferson Awards.

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. National award recipients represent a "Who's Who" of outstanding Americans. Winners include Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, Colin Powell and Arthur Ashe. On the local level, Jefferson Awards recipients are individuals who make a difference on a daily basis in their local communities.

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.6 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit

SOURCE Highmark Inc.
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