Westinghouse SURE:
celebrating 28 years of volunteerism
with more than one million volunteer hours recorded.

About Westinghouse SURE 

SURE:  28 Great Years and Prospering

The Beginnings

 SURE had its beginnings in 1989 as one of President George H. W. Bush’s Thousand Points of Light Program. The idea of a retiree volunteer organization came from a retiree group formed in Minneapolis supported by the 3M Company. With their help and with the strong endorsement of Westinghouse executives George Dorman and John Marous, a kickoff luncheon meeting to establish a similar organization for Westinghouse retirees was held on July 19, 1989.   At a second meeting, the mission statement was established:  To identify, focus and mobilize the expertise and interests of Westinghouse Retirees for their personal fulfillment in volunteer services for the benefit of the community.” 

You Can Be SURE

In 1991, the name of the organization was changed to Westinghouse SURE (Service Uniting Retired Employees). From its earliest days, SURE actively searched for volunteer programs its members would be comfortable coordinating. Agnes Sink selected a program to provide volunteers at the VA Hospital – it then blossomed into a Hospital Volunteers Program serving many hospitals. As SURE grew, other projects were added, and that number has become an ever changing fountain of good works for those in need within our communities.

In addition to promoting volunteerism, SURE recognized it could benefit the membership by providing information on topics of vital interest. This started in October 1991 with a program on health insurance, followed the next year with programs on pre-Medicare and post-Medicare insurance programs which were held at the Westinghouse Recreation Center in Forest Hills. An additional program to bring SURE members together has been “Trips and Tours”, varying from one-day local tours to multi-day out-of-town trips.

SURE's first annual meeting was held on June 1992; soon after the organization started issuing the SURE newsletter at regular intervals.

SURE's continuing success has been enhanced by the outstanding contributions of many ex-Westinghouse retirees who have assumed leadership roles to help expand SURE and increase its scope, served on the Board of Directors, served as a Project Coordinator and member of the Advisory Council, or who have contributed their volunteer time to one or more of the volunteer projects.

Recognition

In 1996, SURE instituted awards and recognition of our outstanding volunteers. The first series of awards were the Spotlight Awards. These awards recognize outstanding volunteers and help to publicize the projects that they work on.  A second series of annual awards was instituted to recognize outstanding volunteer service to be presented at the SURE annual meeting. These awards include the Charlie Ruch Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bob Lawrence Special Service Award, the Maury Fey President's Award, the Couple of the Year Award, and the Recruiter of the Year Award. The Charlie Ruch Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes service to SURE or volunteering over a long period of time. This award was initiated in 1999 and awarded posthumously to Charlie Ruch, the long time and much beloved Westinghouse Historian. Award recipients of this award are listed (right).

The Bob Lawrence Special Service Award, named for SURE’s founding President, and the Maury Fey President's Award, named for a longtime SURE president, are intended to recognize outstanding service to the SURE organization. The Couple of the Year Award recognizes couples who work together to volunteer. The Recruiter of the Year Award recognizes project coordinators or others who put forth effort to recruit new volunteers or to recruit new SURE members. At the annual meeting recognition is also given to SURE members who have more than 500 volunteer hours during the past calendar year.

SURE members have also received awards from the organizations they help and some have been recognized by the local community. Twelve of our members have received the Jefferson Award (see below). The SURE Organization was also recognized in 2002 as a finalist for the state-wide Silver and Gold Award. SURE was honored for “Innovation in Serving Pennsylvanians.” 

Jefferson Award Winners – The Jefferson Award is the nation’s highest award for Volunteering. It honors the achievements and contributions of everyday people who are inspired to help their less fortunate neighbors either directly or by working in volunteer organizations dedicated to various facets of community service. Since 1972, this national award has been honoring those Americans who have demonstrated outstanding volunteer services.  And every year, 25 individuals from Western Pennsylvania are selected in each category to be the recipient of this coveted Award.  Since 1999, twelve (12) Westinghouse SURE members have been selected by the American Institute for Public Service to receive this coveted award.  The SURE members who have received this honor have spent countless hours over many years serving others during their retirement years, and have received their Jefferson Awards for decades of volunteer activity. Awardees are honored at an elegant reception and are presented bronze Jefferson Award medallions recognizing their remarkable volunteer service to those less fortunate within their communities. The following list includes the names and a brief summary of the volunteer work of the twelve (12) SURE members who have achieved this distinction. Their tremendous accomplishments and this national recognition sets SURE apart from similar volunteer organizations in western Pennsylvania, and perhaps the nation as a whole.

Westinghouse SURE’s Jefferson Award Winners and their outstanding activities are as follows:

Mary Bach

1999

Statewide Consumer Advocacy

Fred Kraft

2004

Court Appointed Special Advocate for afflicted children

George Muhlberg

2006

Service Corps of Retired Executives

John Komar

2007

Lifelong Service to the Boy Scouts of America

John Senko

2007

Computer Education for Seniors in Latrobe

John Mellor

2009

Service to numerous Plum Service Organizations

Fritz Ottenheimer

2011

PACE School for Troubled Children in Churchill

Agnes Sink

2012

Organization of SURE’s multitude of  Hospital Volunteers

Harry McCracken

2013

Lifelong Fire and Rescue Service in Westmoreland County

Maury Fey

2013

Long term Westinghouse SURE Leadership

Frank Kravitz

2013

American Ex-Prisoners of War Advocacy

Stuart Simpson

2016

Service to Homeless Veterans and Ministry in Prisons

 

Westinghouse SURE is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Westinghouse SURE, 641 Braddock Avenue, East Pittsburgh, PA 15112

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