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Library supporters honored at Cranberry award ceremony

Tom Cully, a former Cranberry Public Library board member and longtime library supporter, speaks Tuesday after being honored with the Mazzoni Spirit of Giving Award. Julia Maruca/Butler Eagle

CRANBERRY TWP — A local business, a civic organization and a former library member were honored by the Cranberry Public Library at the Mazzoni Spirit of Giving Award presentation ceremony Tuesday night.

For one of the recipients, the award was a complete surprise.

The Spirit of Giving Award, established in honor of Bruce and Conni Mazzoni in 2013, is given by the library to individuals and groups in the Cranberry community who have demonstrated outstanding support of the library.

Recipients of the award are celebrated for sharing their time, talents, and resources, as well as demonstrating leadership, dedication, vision and ambassadorship in their work with the library.

This year, three awards went to Fun Fore All Family Fun Park, accepted by owner Chris Camp; the Cranberry Elks Lodge, accepted by representatives Tom Vasallo, Bob Pearce and Glenn Eaton; and Thomas Cully, a former library board member and longtime supporter.

Library director Leslie Pallotta gave the award to Cully, who was surprised with the honor, and commended him on his many years of assisting the library.

“(Cully once) said to me, he simply could not believe the things that people would ask or say to staff working the circulation desk,” Pallotta said. “By pointing out the everyday, routine weirdness that happens when one works with the public, you noticed and made our hardworking staff feel so appreciated.”

Assisting with support

Eric Vollmer, president of the library board, said the trio of recipients were given their awards together this year to catch up on the past several pandemic years. The ceremony was the first time the award was presented since 2019.

“We suspended it, just because we couldn’t hold the event,” Vollmer said. “(Giving multiple awards) is something we may carry through in the future years, just to recognize so many people that really are giving back to the community, giving back to Cranberry and giving to the library.”

Fun Fore All has helped the library through donating funds to the Project of the Year to construct a makerspace, as well as giving free game passes to be used in the summer reading program as prizes, vice president Tom Parkinson said.

“My own daughter participates (in the program), and I’ve seen it from her, and I’ve seen it from other kids, they light up with delight when they get their coupons to go enjoy some time at Fun Fore All,” Parkinson said. “To have a prominent community attraction like Fun Fore All be such a visible supporter of our library is a tremendous benefit to us.”

Cranberry Elks Lodge 2249 has provided donations to the Library since 2014, and also has been an advocate for the library in the community, Vollmer said.

“The Elks have given the library a substantial donation annually,” he said. “Just a simple, unassuming thing that all of you do has allowed us to grow our programs, build on our successes, and continue supporting our community.”

A chorus of thank-yous

State Sen. Scott Hutchinson, R-21st, presented award recipients with citations from the Senate congratulating and thanking them for their work.

“Certainly, the strength of our communities is (made up of) people who step up to the plate and donate their time, donate their resources, but it’s also made up of businesses that go above and beyond, like Fun Fore All, and the other institutions like the Elks that day-in and day-out are looking for ways to make our communities stronger,” Hutchinson said.

County Commissioners Kim Geyer, Leslie Osche and Kevin Boozel also attended and commended the library on its forward-moving trajectory and improvements such the Forge makerspace.

Township manager Dan Santoro said the library in Cranberry is well-supported.

“The library is so much more, obviously, than just books and volumes. It is a place to gather,” Santoro said. “How do we remain the heart of a community and be relevant, providing (for) the needs and meeting the needs of the community? Folks buy into that mission, and that focus. We commend them.”

Township Supervisor Bruce Mazzoni, for whom the award is named, enjoys the opportunity to pass on recognition to others who have helped support the library.

“The library is really the center hub of our community,” he said. “It’s where people come and gather, for a lot of different things, and we are happy to be a part of the library.”

Cranberry Elks representatives Tom Vasallo, Bob Pearce, and Glenn Eaton accept the Mazzoni Spirit of Giving award from Eric Vollmer, Cranberry library board president, third from left. Julia Maruca/Butler Eagle 9-27-22Julia Maruca/Butler Eagle
Cranberry Library director Leslie Pallotta gives the Mazzoni Spirit of Giving award Tuesday to former board member Tom Cully, who had been surprised with the honor, and commended him on his many years of assisting the library. Julia Maruca/Butler Eagle
Chris and Julie Camp, owners of Fun Fore All, smile while being recognized Tuesday at Cranberry Public Library. They made a substantial contribution to the Cranberry Township Community Chest's 2019 Project of the Year, which featured renovations to the library and the construction of a new makerspace, The Forge. Julia Maruca/Butler Eagle

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