Pedas has put up $10,000 to fund the awards through the first five years.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
FARRELL, Pa. -- Ted Pedas has come through with his promise of funding for citizens of the year awards but said the program will catch on only if city and school officials openly support it.
Pedas, 62, of Fruit Avenue, was presented with the City of Farrell Centurion Award during the city's centennial celebration last July, and the honor inspired him to suggest annual citizenship awards.
The city and the Farrell Area School District, which includes both Farrell and Wheatland, have agreed to present the honors during what will now become an annual homecoming event at the school district campus on Roemer Boulevard each July.
He said last week that city and school officials have to do their part to help make sure the program gets the attention it needs to survive beyond five years.
Memo: In a recent memo to city, school and Wheatland officials, Pedas called on them to get involved, either by nominating outstanding citizens for the awards or by volunteering to serve on the selection committee, which will be chaired by the mayor and superintendent of schools.
If these awards are to be received with appreciation by the community, then many people should have a hand in choosing the honorees, he wrote, asking the officials to contribute a fair share of time in the process.
"I'm trying to get people motivated; get people behind it, so it will be successful," Pedas told The Vindicator.
Nomination forms are available in the offices of the mayor and the superintendent of schools.
Pedas proposed a $1,000 annual award for an adult Citizen of the Year Award in Farrell and two $500 annual Junior Citizen of the Year Awards, open to both Farrell and Wheatland residents under the age of 21.
The awards will recognize citizen efforts to make Farrell and Wheatland better places to live.
Monetary pledge: To back up his plan, Pedas promised $10,000 to fund both award programs for a five-year period and the city now has that money, said LaVon Saternow, city manager.
Pedas, long noted for his philanthropy to the Farrell Area School District where he still serves as director of the planetarium that bears his name, said he decided to put up the money for five years to give the awards program a chance to catch on.
"I think it's more important now than it was last July," he said last week, making reference to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I think good citizenship is important, especially among young people," he said, explaining why he proposed a category specifically for those under 21.
A number of other communities give similar types of honors, awarding plaques or certificates to the recipients, but Pedas thinks the monetary reward will make it more meaningful.
Pedas is also pleased that the awards will be presented in an open ceremony and that no one will have to buy a ticket to attend a banquet to see the presentations.
Citizens of the year awards aren't the only new funding project for Pedas.
Other projects: He's also given the school district $3,500 to be used for producing awards for the Alumni Hall of Fame, something else he helped create with a $1,250 contribution in October 2000.
Pedas said he hopes the Hall of Fame will recognize 20 outstanding Farrell Area School District alumni this year and then select 10 recipients per year thereafter.
He has given more than $364,000 in cash and equipment to the Farrell Area School District over the past 32 years to fund educational and awards programs.