Farrell Centennial Ceremony July 14, 2001
I am most pleased to be honored here today celebrating Farrell's historic milestone with you.
When told I was to receive Farrell's 'Centurion' award I was baffled as to the meaning of the word. My search yielded the following definitions:
The internet yielded the elusive answer - a 'Centurion' is a person honored at a city's 100th centennial.
We all stand on the shoulders of all the good citizens, the movers and shakers, who came before us. These visionaries with their enterprising spirit, enthusiasm, optimism and perseverance were in the business of building the future - our future. Their lasting legacy is our fine city.
There's a Greek proverb that says, "A community flourishes when people plant trees under which they will never sit." Over the past century Farrell has been blessed with 'community gardeners'. They are the philanthropists, fund raisers, board members, community volunteers and others whose kind and generous work serves to protect and nourish others and benefit us all. They do so without fanfare, and they do so willingly with the hope that someone next door or down the street, whose face they may never know or even see, will be strengthened from their actions.
Although Farrell's community gardeners' come from every age group and from different backgrounds, they share in the conviction that by giving of themselves, they can bridge the divide between strangers, create stronger families and build better communities.
A newspaper columnist once noted that "Volunteers are the only beings who reflect this nation's spirit of compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain loving one another."
We are all very proud of what our community has grown into. In honor of the involvement of the many people, organizations and businesses who give so much to the community I have established and funded three citizenship awards to acknowledge those individuals who have distinguished him or herself over the years in their faithful service to our community.
The 'Farrell Citizen of the Year' and the 'Junior Citizen of the Year' awards recognize civic minded persons in the areas of service and leadership. These awards are intended to allow anyone with community contacts to nominate someone, or group of people, whom they feel meet the criteria of the awards.
Change is everywhere in our midst but the value of citizenship remains constant. All the major religions and belief systems from antiquity through the present have incorporated the tenet that it is good to do well for oneself but that it is even a finer honor to do good for others. It is better to give of oneself than to receive from others. It is in this spirit that I come before the good people of Farrell on this centennial celebration of our city.
The difficult and traumatic times our country and city have been through gives us a deeper understanding of the importance of good citizenship. Citizenship is the most honored calling of every man, woman and child. Looking out for one's neighbor and taking personal responsibility for the future is an absolute necessity as Farrell with it small town virtues and its active and involved citizens embark onto the next century.
The 'Farrell Citizen of the Year' program presents an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of those who perform a selfless service so that others may benefit with no regard for payment beyond the knowledge that they have made a difference. The recipients will have made a sustained effort for the common good and, in a tangible way, made a lasting improvement to the quality of local life. The 'Farrell Citizen of the Year' honoree is awarded $1000.00 while each of the two 'Farrell/Wheatland Junior Citizen of the Year' honorees receives $500.00. The winners of these awards will be announced in conjunction with the Ted Pedas sponsored 'Farrell Alumni Hall of Fame' Awards all of which are to be presented at an annual "Salute to Excellence' Awards ceremony.
I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that so many people, young and old have had on the entire community. These awards will pay tribute to those "unsung heroes" who have answered the true call of citizenship with their work and compassion - all of which adds so much to the quality of our lives and the wellbeing of our community.
The Ted Pedas 'Citizen of the Year' Awards was established to recognize, from among the nominees, the individual or group, which best exemplifies that pioneering spirit which helps the city of Farrell grow and prosper. Applications are available at the FASD office of the Superintendent and the Farrell City Building.
I thank you all most sincerely,
WednesdayJuly 11, 2001
City leaders eye yearly celebration
By Joe Pinchot
The Farrell Centennial Celebration was a "total and complete success," said Councilman Louis Falconi.
While it will be a few years before there's a nice round number worthy of another celebration, organizers don't want the spirit of the centennial to wane and leave it for the next generation to revive.
Falconi made the formal motion Monday to do what he and others have talked about: making a carnival-style event similar to the centennial an annual affair.
Good thing, too -- centennial organizers had already booked B&J Amusements Inc., Punxsutawney, to return next year.
Although organizers haven't worked out the scope of the Farrell Homecoming, they have set dates for it: July 9 to 13 on the Farrell school grounds.
The carnival rides and attractions will be up for all those days, although there might only be a formal program with concerts and community recognition awards for a lesser amount of days.
This year's celebration, held July 10-14, attracted upwards of 2,000 a night, estimated Councilman Mark Petrillo, acknowledging that no one attempted to count attendees.
Kimberley Richards of Southwest Gardens Economic Development Corp. said the centennial not only brought the Farrell community together but attracted people from outside Farrell.
Former Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell even stopped by the last day of the celebration. Rendell is considering a run for governor of Pennsylvania in 2002.
Ms. Richards said she talked to lots of people at the Southwest Gardens booth that she would not have otherwise met.
"It's not just about raising funds, it's about making friends," she said.
Ted Pedas, who was given the Centurion Award at the centennial, drummed up support for three ongoing awards he created for the centennial: Farrell Citizen of the Year, Junior Citizen of the Year, and an Alumni Hall of Fame, honoring Farrell High School graduates.
Pedas outlined criteria for the awards but invited council, which would have a hand in selecting the citizen of the year awards, to make changes.
"I don't think anyone should be excluded (from consideration) except me," Pedas said.
Information on all awards and nominations forms are available at the city building and the school superintendent's office.
E-mail: Ted Pedas