Our Opinion: Valley strengthened for 120 years by Family Service Association and its forerunners

September 18th, 2015 7:35 pm

Diamonds to the Family Service Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania. At its annual meeting Monday, the nonprofit agency based in downtown Wilkes-Barre will mark 120 years of providing support to the area’s children, individuals and families. This is the group that, soon after the 1972 Agnes Flood, responded with Help Line (a 24-hour crisis intervention and information referral service in operation today) and affiliated projects such as the “CARE” telephone reassurance program for elderly and homebound individuals. Known in earlier days by names including the “Charity Society Organization” and “United Charities,” it once even had animal welfare under its umbrella. More recently, the association has focused on counseling individuals and families and helping people to create healthier relationships. In turn, FSA makes our whole community stronger.

Coal to the drivers responsible for a wicked vehicle crash Sunday night in Kingston. The incident on Wyoming Avenue reportedly injured six people, including a 12-year-old boy who remained hospitalized this week at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. The boy could lose his leg, his father told the Times Leader. Witnesses say two motorists appeared to be racing before one of the vehicles hit an SUV carrying the boy, his mother and two of the boy’s friends.

Diamonds to cancer survivors, especially those who share their recovery stories with people coping with the disease. Franklin Township resident Jeff Thomas, 55, was among several people who recently spoke during a cancer survivors event in Wilkes-Barre’s Kirby Park. He attested to the power of not only modern medicine, but also supportive friends and strangers. “Somebody saves you just about every day during your treatment,” he said. The Northeast Regional Cancer Institute is scheduled to hold a survivors event from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 26 at McDade Park in Scranton. For information, visit www.cancernepa.org or call 1-800-424-6724.

Coal to Pittston Area School District teacher Kelli (Diaz) Pavalonis. Her alleged caustic comments toward an eighth-grade student are a discredit to her profession and should give her cause to reconsider her career choice. Among other disparaging remarks, she supposedly told the boy to “shut up” and that “I can’t stand you.” She also questioned whether he had “Tourette’s,” according to accusations that a federal judge recently indicated are supported by a cellphone video. The judge ruled this month that Pavalonis had not violated the student’s constitutional rights. Those words, however, go beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct for someone collecting a paycheck as an “educator.”

Diamonds to the area’s high school marching band members, color guard participants and cheerleaders. Their efforts add pageantry and pep to football games – on warm September evenings and on frigid nights to follow.