Brian Mlacker started volunteering at the St. Susan Center more than three years ago.
On Thursday night, he was recognized for his service as locals gathered for an open house event at the center to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers who serve the community through the center.
Since 2005, the St. Susan Center has recognized a volunteer annually, and this year the honor went to Mlacker.
Brian Mlacker received St. Susan Center’s Volunteer of the Year award on Thursday.
P-J photo by Daniel Swanson
Sue Colwell, St. Susan Center executive director, in front of the Christmas tree at the center.
P-J photo by Daniel Swanson
Sue Colwell, executive director at the St. Susan Center, noted that the recognition was awarded to a volunteer with exemplary "attitude and willingness."
Mlacker was "surprised to win," but mentioned that it was a "blessing to be (at the open house) and have my family here to support me." Seated at his table were his family and extended family members.
Among those in attendance was Assemblyman Andy Goodell, who praised Mlacker, saying, "One of the most enjoyable things I get to do in the month of December is meet people ... like Brian, who make such a difference."
Jacqueline Chiarot, a representative on behalf of Congressman Tom Reed, R-Corning, also spoke at the event. "This is the time of giving. What I love about the St. Susan Center ... is it reminds us that we need to give year-round."
As Mlacker stood up to receive the award, he noted, "Everyone (who volunteers) deserves recognition."
In the spirit of his award, Mlacker took time to recognize another volunteer that attended the event. Smiling as he mentioned the gentleman's notoriety for carrying "five trays at a time," Mlacker made certain to publicly appreciate the giving attitude of his fellow volunteer.
According to Mlacker, he became more serious about serving a few years ago. "I always said that I would serve God more fully when I had more time, when I turned 55." After turning 55, Mlacker came across a verse reminding him to fulfill his promises to the Lord while reading the Bible. It was at this time that he began serving regularly at the St. Susan Center. "It has always been important to me to serve the poor." More than just serving, Mlacker takes the time to get to know people by name who frequent the center.
"I put this (recognition) before my college degree and career," Mlacker noted.
According to Colwell, a winter "Soup and Song" fundraiser hosted by Trinity Guitars owner Jim Holler is planned for Jan. 16, which will showcase students from the Infinity Visual and Performing Arts and the Bill Ward Band.
In February, the center will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
For information on volunteering at the St. Susan Center, contact volunteer coordinator Woody Howland weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at 664-2253, ext. 4. To join the St. Susan Center's "$5 a Month Club," send donations to: St. Susan Center, P.O. Box 1276, Jamestown, NY 14702. Paypal donations can also be made through www.stsusancenter.org/donate. In-person donations can be taken to the St. Susan Center, which is located at the Gateway Center, 31 Water St., Jamestown. For more information about the center, including upcoming events, visit stsusancenter.org.