Staff members receive service awards

Amstrid Gomez, Features Editor

Two Pitt-Johnstown staff members received a Staff Appreciation Awards for service from university President Jem Spectar.

Student Life Director Sherri Rae and Athletic Director Pat Pecora were each honored with an award at the December Staff Luncheon.

Rae received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community, according to a Pitt-Johnstown website article.

“Not only a true cheerleader for Pitt-Johnstown, she is a champion of the community with an unwavering dedication to its success,” said the article.

Rae said she knew she was nominated for the award.

“It’s always a bit of a surprise to know that you were chosen for such an honor from among your peers,” she said.

Rae is highly involved on campus as well as in the Johnstown area community.

“I am responsible for promoting, tracking and assessing student participation in the Real World Action Program, coordination of campus events such as New Student Orientation and Homecoming.

Rae also said she supervises all student organizations and is Programming Board adviser.

Off-campus, Rae is the Young Professionals of the Alleghenies president.

She volunteers with other organizations such as Cambria County Children and Youth Services, Goodwill Good Guides Mentoring Program and the Special Olympics.

She also works with the Cambria Somerset Outstanding Young Woman Scholarship Program and its Cinderella Project, which collects and distributes prom dresses for young women who can’t afford them.

Rae said her community service helps her on campus because she can provide students and student organizations with various service opportunities since she has the connections.

“Some of our student groups have provided valuable assistance to community projects, like Alpha Sigma Alpha, Sigma Tau Gamma, the Cheerleaders, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Women’s Soccer, who will be helping me out with the Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies.”

Rae said she thinks it is a good idea to give staff members this type of recognition because it’s hard to know the great things others do outside of work.

“(The award) gives the staff incentive to stretch beyond day-to-day responsibilities and do more, especially in this award for service in the community.

“It is important for us to be useful in this community that we call home, and to represent the university positively in all ways that are within our reach,” Rae said.

Athletic Director Pat Pecora received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to Pitt-Johnstown.

Pecora said he has worked at Pitt-Johnstown for 38 years.

He said receiving the award was a complete surprise.

“President Spectar always starts the awards by describing the person who is going to receive it, so I like to guess who it’s going to be.

“When I realized he was describing me I was completely shocked. It was a pleasant surprised and I’m very humbled by it,” Pecora said.

“He is a true ambassador for the University, and leads the way when it comes to promoting pride and community on campus.”

“His leadership and ever-positive attitude about all things Pitt-Johnstown, not to mention his unparalleled success as a coach, makes Mr. Pecora deserving of this award,” said the website article.

Pecora said the staff luncheon is held every year and that it’s a great opportunity to spend time with his peers.

“There are always good conversations with good people, so it’s a nice time,” said Pecora.

Like Rae, Pecora said it’s important to recognize staff members with this type of award.

“UPJ staff (members) work very hard, it’s nice to be recognized and be told ‘thank you for your service’, he said.

Pecora said there are many people who deserve this award and he can’t wait to see who receives it in the future.