Local service honored at Art Rooney Award Dinner

Monday, April 16, 2018 - Updated: 11:59 pm

By JOHN FRANKO Staff Writer

Aux. Bishop William Waltersheid said his father taught him that you can bring about change one person at a time, with the first person being yourself. The same is true with the Catholic Youth Association of Pittsburgh, he noted. It helps to change the lives of others, one person at a time.

Bishop Waltersheid spoke of the many contributions of the CYA during the 45th Annual Art Rooney Award Dinner and Auction April 9 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The evening included presentation of the Catholic Youth Association of Pittsburgh’s annual awards. Receiving the Art Rooney Award was Morgan O’Brien, president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas Co. The John E. McGrady Award was presented to Dr. Stanley Marks, chairman of UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center.

Lynne Hayes-Freeland of KDKA-TV was honored with the Bill Burns Award, and Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was recognized with the Bob Prince Award.

In addition, the Nick Cardello Volunteer of the Year for Senior Programs Award was presented to the CYA Meals on Wheels delivery team.

In accepting his award from Michael McGrady, Marks said it meant a lot to him because he has always tried to follow a motto of giving back to a community that has bestowed so much on him. He recognized the efforts of the Rooney family in helping the CYA make a difference in the lives of many.

Hayes-Freeland received her award from Michael Bartley, a former recipient of it. She noted that one of the lessons she learned from Burns, longtime anchor at KDKA, was that local television has a role in making a difference in their community. Hayes-Freeland pointed to the example of Father George Clements, a Chicago priest who founded the One Church-One Child program and was the first priest there to adopt a child. It helped inspire her “Waiting Child” series to promote adoptions. 

“We can make a difference,” she said.

O’Brien and Sullivan were unable to attend the dinner, but both addressed the gathering through a recorded video. Sullivan, product of a Jesuit high school in Boston, said the Rooney family reflected his school’s motto, adding, (They are) “truly a family that serves others.”

Both awards were presented by Art Rooney, Steelers president.

Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County chief executive, presented the Nick Cardello Volunteer of the Year for Senior Programs Award. He has seen firsthand what the Meals on Wheels program means to the community, Fitzgerald said.

“It’s more than a meal,” he said. “It’s companionship and love. Their faces light up.”

In recognizing the contributions of CYA in the community, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said the area won’t be judged just on how it “moves the ball in economic growth,” but how it makes sure that all are included in that process of moving forward.

The dinner was bittersweet in that it was the first held without former Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney. He was remembered throughout the evening, including in a video from Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington. “He was a Pittsburgher,” the cardinal said. “In fact, I think he was the best of us.”

The Catholic Youth Association of Pittsburgh Inc. is a neighborhood community center in operation since 1925. Based at the Stephen Foster Center in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, it serves more than 2,000 people with more than 200,000 services per year at three sites. In addition to Meals on Wheels, services include a preschool and child care program, intergenerational programs, recreational and health and wellness activities, transportation programs, adult day care and legal aid programs.

The three senior centers provide 30,000 breakfasts and lunches five days per week.

Information is available by visiting www.catholicyouthassociation.com, or by calling 412-621-3342.

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