Four volunteers win
March 13, 2014: Four volunteers have been selected as winners of
the Toledo-Area Jefferson Awards. They are: Marcy
McMahon, Jay Mirrow, Phyllis Morton, and Martha Pituch,
The winners were announced at the annual Jefferson Awards
celebration and breakfast, said Joseph Zerbey IV,
president and general manager of The Blade. “We should all be
proud of the fine work done by these volunteers,” Mr. Zerbey
said. “Through their hard work, they have made our community a
better place to live, and I am happy that we can take part in
recognizing them today.”
The Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation
was established by Marcy McMahon in 1984 and, as a result
of its success, merged with the Foundation's regional chapter.
The Northwest Ohio Regional Chapter of the Foundation is now
known as one of the largest charitable organizations in
Mrs. McMahon, along with the other founding members, set on a
quest to make the dreams of those seeking assistance from the 12th
Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation a reality. In its first
years, the local Chapter was able to secure a variety of donated
products and services, including limousines, airline tickets,
hotel accommodations, and more.
Mrs. McMahon served on the Chapter’s board from 1984 until 1992,
and again from 2004 until 2010. In addition to her work with the
Make-A-Wish Foundation, Mrs. McMahon actively serves as the vice
president, membership chairwoman and grants committee member of
the University of Toledo’s Women in Philanthropy organization.
She is also active in the Toledo Opera Association, the Toledo
Opera Guild, the Ability Center of Greater Toledo, Bethany House
Toledo, Partners for Clean Streams (formally known as
Clearwater), and the Girl Scouts. Mrs. McMahon was nominated by
her husband, Brian McMahon.
After realizing the need to promote literacy within the
Toledo Public School District, Jay Mirrow developed a
plan and worked to implement a solution. In 2011, Mr. Mirrow
worked to pair trained tutors/mentors with students at McKinley
Elementary School in Toledo. This year, his outreach efforts
were expanded to include Toledo’s Larchmont and Sherman
Elementary schools as well.
He became motivated to promote literacy upon hearing that
funding was to be cut from the state’s “Ohio Reads”
initiative. As the chair for the Social Action Committee at The
Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim in Sylvania, OH, Mr.
Mirrow sought backing from the Temple and, upon receiving
approval, set to work to solidify logistics, recruit mentors,
secure training, and coordinate lessons with teachers. His work
went beyond the planning phase and moved into implementation.
Mr. Mirrow developed a database to track tutor/student meetings,
student behavior, material reviewed during each session, and how
the students performed – all of which has been essential to the
process of providing constant and consistent feedback to
teachers, tutors, and their students. Mr. Mirrow was awarded the
Global Volunteer of the Year award in 2013 from Owens Corning.
This award came with $10,000, which is being used to further
enhance the existing literacy program. Since then, additional
Toledo-Area schools have expressed interest in expanding these
literacy services into their facilities. He continues work to
meet these requests. Jay Mirrow was nominated by Janet
Phyllis Morton, 86, continues to find new ways to
volunteer, promote the arts, and advocate for children in
Northwest Ohio. These days, Mrs. Morton is found spearheading
the acquisition and restoration of a history museum in
Perrysburg, Ohio; working to protect abused and neglected
children as a member of the Citizen Review Board; advocating for
residents of two central city nursing homes as an ABLE
(Advocates for Basic Legal Equality) Nursing Home Ombudsman; and
volunteering for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate),
a distinction she has proudly held for more than 34 years.
Even though Mrs. Morton grew up in Newton, Mass., she made the
choice to move to Northwest Ohio with her six children after
visiting with her sister who lived in Perrysburg. Soon after she
and her family settled in the area, Mrs. Morton learned about an
employment opportunity through the Zoar Lutheran Church.
This opportunity ultimately resulted in a long-term career, as
Mrs. Morton became the founding director of Abundant Life,
a senior housing development project launched by the church,
where she served for 30 years. In addition to managing the
senior housing facility, Mrs. Morton filled her days with
volunteer work. From working with youthful offenders and
tutoring children to volunteering as a docent for the Toledo
Museum of Art, an usher for the Toledo Symphony, and for the
Toledo Opera Guild, Mrs. Morton has helped fulfill the lives of
others by giving the gifts of time and compassion. Phyllis
Morton was nominated by Jennifer Teschner.
Martha Pituch, Ph.D., RN, is regarded as a tireless
advocate, a fearless activist, and an inspiration to women
throughout our region. As a public health nurse and an active
volunteer, she has made outstanding contributions to the
community through her work with children and their families, the
homeless, those suffering with AIDS, battered women, and others
seeking proper access to health care.
Named to the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1991, Dr. Pituch went
on to receive the YWCA Milestones Award in 1997, which
denotes outstanding women in Northwest Ohio, before she was
recognized in 2004 as one of only 200 women who were said to
have made “significant contributions in the State of Ohio and
the nation over the last 200 years.” As recently as 2012, Dr.
Pituch was named an Outstanding Senior Volunteer by Medical
Mutual of Northwest Ohio and received the regional and
national Compassionate Hero awards. Although Dr. Pituch has
received numerous praise and awards for her volunteerism, she
says that her greatest reward is learning that she has made a
difference in the lives of area students pursuing careers as RNs
by inspiring them to use their education and talent to give back
to their community through volunteerism.
Even though she has retired from higher education, Dr. Pituch
continues to motivate, inspire, and mentor undergraduate nursing
students who volunteer their services in the nursing clinic at
Cherry Street Mission – where she has been an active
volunteer for the last 23 years. Dr. Martha Pituch was nominated
by Shirley Shea.