By KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
John Augustine, Elaine Heider and Gerald Swatsworth will be honored by the Community Arts Center of Cambria County for their continued support of the arts center, as well as for helping to keep the arts alive in and beyond Cambria County.
The celebratory award dinner, titled “Celebrating a Legacy,” is to be held at Sunnehanna Country Club in Westmont on Oct. 14 beginning at 6 p.m.
The evening is set to include a cash bar and a silent auction. Dinner is to be served at 6:45 p.m. and a performance by the Roof Garden Chorus is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Awards are to be presented to Augustine, Heider and Swatsworth at 8 p.m.
Augustine, who has been a member of the arts center for more than 20 years, will receive a Community Service Award. In addition to having served on the Community Arts Center of Cambria County board as president and as treasurer, Augustine was instrumental in helping to establish the Ponas Doll Museum.
Furthermore, Augustine continues to volunteer at the arts center, including as a volunteer during the Log House Arts Festival.
“I actually had the pleasure of meeting John before I even became involved with (this organization),” arts center Executive Director Angela Godin said. “Once I became part of the arts center, I found out what an impact he’s made on our organization and the entire community, which was so inspiring and exciting.”
Like Augustine, Swatsworth will also receive a Community Service Award. Swatsworth helped to obtain the funds necessary in order to make the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center a reality.
Because of his commitment and involvement, the arts center grew and expanded, and Swatsworth continues to remain involved as an active member.
“Gerald actually has been very helpful with not only the Fend Foundation, but also many various projects at the arts center,” Godin said. “He has always been so influential in trying to help us move forward and he keeps working hard to keep our arts center growing and succeeding.”
The third and final honoree, Elaine Heider, is to receive the Arts Patron Award.
A Charter Member of Community Arts Center of Cambria County, Heider’s involvement included chairing events such as Log House Arts Festival, Holly Bazaar and other fundraisers, and volunteering many hours to make special events and projects possible.
“I have never met Elaine, but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her,” Godin said. “Apparently, she did an obscene amount of volunteer work in the organization’s early years, and she was a true go-getter — very inspiring to others and very helpful.”
Godin said that she couldn’t be more thrilled to honor these three individuals.
“It’s obvious that they have done, and continue to do, whatever they can, in whatever form they can, to help us,” Godin said.
“These people helped to pave the way. At one point, we were one of the only arts organizations in the entire area, and they truly helped make this organization what it is today because of their time and their expectations and their belief in what it could become.”
“Celebrating a Legacy” was established last year to honor longtime arts center Executive Director Rose Mary Hagadus following her retirement. Godin said that she and her fellow staff members decided to “keep it going” because of the positive response they received from those in attendance.
“We thought, why not continue honoring all these people who have been so influential?” she said. “There are so many people who have played such a big role in our organization.”
The arts center’s vice president of operations and Secretary Karen Azer said that she’s looking forward to shining a spotlight on these three individuals.
“It is our great honor to host such an event as this,” Azer said.
“Far too often, those who have helped shape an organization are never given their moment of recognition. Many times these people dedicate much of their lives behind the scenes and no one ever knows the great things they have done. We hope this event shines some light on those who truly deserve it, the ones who helped make the Community Arts Center what it is today. It will be a spectacular evening.”
Tickets, as well as tables, for “Celebrating a Legacy” are available. Anyone interested in attending should phone a CACCC staff member at 814-255-6515. Reservations are due by Oct. 11.
All proceeds from this event will benefit the arts center.
“I think that’s going be a really special evening,” Godin said.