Linda Thomson

Linda Thomson

Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania is set to celebrate another year of achievement.

The organization will hold its 43rd annual Awards of Distinction dinner Sept. 28 at Sunnehanna Country Club, 1000 Sunnehanna Drive, Westmont.

A private reception will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the dinner and the program at 6.

"Especially now with school and youth programs canceled, it's more important than ever to continue to support and promote the Girl Scouts mission," said Stefanie Marshall, public relations and marketing manager with Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

"Girl Scouts is not canceled and we are continuing to serve girls in the Johnstown area with our online activities and virtual connections and different hands on-learning they can do from the safety of their home. We always appreciate the Johnstown dinner to allows us to celebrate not only our traditional volunteer led troops but the grant-funded outreach team that serves about 100 girls in four public housing communities."

John Polacek with JWF Industries is serving as chairman of the event.

This year, the Joyce M. Murtha Excellence in Community Service Award will be presented to Linda Thomson, president of Johnstown Area Regional Industries.

The award recognizes an outstanding member of the community who embodies the Girl Scout mission of courage, confidence and character and who strives to make the world a better place.

"We're looking for leaders throughout Johnstown who have done a great deal to serve the area," Marshall said.

"In selecting Linda, it was in recognition of her work through JARI to personally increase the quality of life in the community."

A keynote speaker has yet to be determined.

The dinner also will include a flag ceremony with local Girl Scouts.

"It's always good to see the girls' faces and it brings everything full circle for the night," Marshall said.

Proceeds support Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania's grant funded outreach troops to continue to make programming accessible to more girls.

"We hope people experience the true inspiration of what it means to be involved with Girls Scouts," Marshall said. "We couldn't do what we do without our volunteers, but we always say there is more than one way to be involved in building girls of courage, confidence and character. We rely on our business communities not only for the generous sponsorships but to demonstrate what it means to be a leader in the a community."

Tickets for the dinner are $125 per person.

To order tickets, call 800-248-3355 or online www.gswpa.org/aod.

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.

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