Local Philanthropists Receive Good Shepherd's Raker Memorial Awards
Jill and Al Douglass, The Rev. Charles Fair and Donna Marie Garze Honored
Allentown, PA – The 26th annual Raker Memorial Awards were given on February 17, 2011, to Jill and Al Douglass of Allentown, The Rev. Charles Fair of Wyomissing and Donna Marie Garze of Mahonoy City. Good Shepherd employee Elizabeth McDonald of Allentown, received the annual Raker Spirit Award.
Sally Gammon, F.A.C.H.E., president and CEO, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, presented the awards during a ceremony held at Grace Lutheran Church, Allentown. The annual ceremony commemorates the anniversary of Good Shepherd’s founding in 1908.
The Raker Memorial Awards recognize members of the community who, through philanthropy and volunteerism, honor the legacy of Good Shepherd’s founders, The Rev. John H. and D. Estella Raker and their son, The Rev. Dr. Conrad W. Raker.
Raker Memorial Award Recipients: Jill and Al Douglass of Allentown
Jill and Al Douglass have been generous supporters of Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network for many years. Jill is the niece of The Rev. Dr. Conrad Raker, who led Good Shepherd from 1941 to 1980. Dr. Raker’s parents, The Rev. John Raker and D. Estella Raker, founded Good Shepherd in 1908.
Jill says she was “raised to understand those who are blessed must lend a helping hand to the less fortunate” and that she is involved with Good Shepherd because it is “in my DNA.”
Jill is a former board member of the Lehigh County Historical Society and is currently involved with the SOTA of the Allentown Art Museum. She also is involved with the Leonard Pool Society and the Kress Society.
Al became involved with Good Shepherd through his marriage to Jill. Having worked at Merrill Lynch for the past 47 years, Al shares his professional expertise with Good Shepherd. Al is a founder of the Leonard Pool Society and Kress Society. Al is a former trustee of Lehigh Valley Health Network and the Allentown Art Museum.
Jill and Al are members of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s de Tocqueville Society.
Raker Memorial Award Recipient: The Rev. Charles Fair of Wyomissing
In the mid-1960s, The Rev. Charles Fair and his family toured the Good Shepherd Home at the invitation of the Rev. Dr. Conrad Raker. Following that visit, Dr. Raker asked Pastor Fair to serve on the Good Shepherd Board of Trustees, and he served in that capacity from 1969 to 1981. He also served as an ambassador for Good Shepherd on a part-time basis after retiring as senior pastor of Alsace Lutheran Church in Reading in 1993.
As an ambassador, he told the Good Shepherd story at churches and to other supporters. He organized fund-raising events in the Wyomissing area. He also attended Good Shepherd’s Founders Days, resident holiday balls and Good Shepherd’s Hall of Fame events. In celebration of his 60th anniversary of his ordination, Pastor Fair asked friends to designate their gifts to Good Shepherd.
Pastor Fair earned a Master of Divinity Degree in 1950 and a Master of Sacred Theology Degree in 1954 from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He served as a member of the Evangelism, Social Ministry and Home Mission Ministry committees of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He also served a Board President and Interim Director of the Reading-Berks Conference of Churches.
Raker Memorial Award Recipient: Donna Marie Garze of Mahonoy City
Donna Marie Garze suffered an injury to her leg in 1974 that led to 51 surgeries and the eventual amputation of the leg in 1986. Donna Marie made a promise that she would give back in some way to whoever helped her regain her independence.
Donna Marie received rehabilitation care at Good Shepherd. After regaining her mobility, she started attending Good Shepherd’s “Learn to Golf” clinics for people with physical disabilities. She and a friend started the Spirit of Hope Foundation in 1995 and began an annual fund-raising golf tournament.
The Spirit of Hope Foundation’s No fear Golf Tournament is now in its 15th year, with proceeds benefitting Good Shepherd. Since 1995, the tournament has raised almost $88,000 for Good Shepherd’s Learn to Golf clinics and other recreational therapy programs. Donna Marie was the recipient of the Good Shepherd Day Hall of Fame Award in 1999 for her support of people with disabilities through the Spirit of Hope Foundation and the No Fear Golf Tournament.
Donna Marie is a member of the Eastern Amputee Golf Association, Western Amputee Golf Association, Southern Amputee Golf Association, the British Amputee Golf Association and the Grass Hoppers Golf Group. Donna Marie has received numerous community awards, including a Certificate of Special Recognition from Congressman Tim Holden in 1998. She received the Senate of Pennsylvania Award sponsored by the late Senator James Rhoades in 1998. Also in 1998, Donna Marie was honored with the Schuylkill Pride Award Celebrating Excellence.
Raker Spirit Award Recipient: Elizabeth McDonald of Allentown
The Raker Sprit Award is given each year to the employee who best exemplifies and honors the spirit of Good Shepherd’s founder, the Raker family, by demonstrating compassionate care and exceptional skill when dealing with patients, clients, residents and colleagues. This year’s honoree, Elizabeth McDonald, is the editor of Good Shepherd’s Sweet Charity magazine. She has worked at Good Shepherd for seven years.
Elizabeth is a writer, editor and photographer, who specializes in communicating patient stories. Elizabeth was nominated for this award by her colleagues for her kindness, caring and compassion toward Good Shepherd’s residents and patients, their family members, donors and her colleagues.
Elizabeth goes above and beyond her required duties for the Good Shepherd Development Department. She started a book club at the Good Shepherd Home—Conrad W. Raker Center during her lunch break. She has dressed up in fun outfits and sang to the residents during their annual holiday shows, and she has organized her colleagues to entertain at those events.
Elizabeth is a volunteer at the Roosevelt Elementary School in south Allentown, where she reads to students at the school one day a month and supports food and clothing drives for the needy families at the school. She also volunteers at Equilibrium in the Poconos, a horse farm where people with disabilities learn to ride, and at Quiet Valley Living History Farm.