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Announcing the SABAH volunteers of the year

HAMBURG — Hamburg adult volunteer of the year
According to Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped representatives, Dawn Checko has increasingly stepped up to fill a leadership role at the Hamburg Rink.

During the past two years, Checko helped to fill a hole at the location when rink Captain Mary Clare Koessler-Smith stepped away, to spend time with her new grandchild. Checko joined forces with Carole Melohusky to man the front table and organize the group’s Saturday morning check-in process.

Robin Kelso said that Checko performs these duties, while helping her son prepare for the morning’s practice.

“I am always amazed by the people who come forward when there is a need,” said Executive Director Sheila O’Brien. “Dawn is one of those people who, without hesitation, stepped forward to fill a large void in the Saturday morning program. She not only keeps it organized, but she also makes it fun for everyone involved.”

Because of what SABAH called her “ongoing leadership and support for the program,” Checko was named the 2014 Hamburg adult volunteer of the year.

Hamburg youth volunteer of the year
Skyler Miranda, 11, the granddaughter of Joe and Ann Horvath, has already volunteered for SABAH for four years. When she was 7 years old, she began volunteering with SABAH by assisting in the skate room with her grandparents and longtime volunteers, Joe and Ann.

These SABAH volunteers taught Skyler about giving back to the community by investing in others. “As a result, Skyler has become one of SABAH’s most thoughtful and engaged volunteers at an incredibly young age,” Kelso said.

In her second year of service, Skyler said that she wanted to have more of an influence on the Saturday morning program, so she moved from the skate room to the ice. As an-on ice volunteer, she began skating with Luke Hotho, a 14-year-old participant who began with SABAH in 2005. The duo has worked to become participants in the most advanced group.

Each week, Skyler often fills in wherever she is needed, on and off the ice. “Without hesitation, Skyler will see a need and jump in immediately to help,” Kelso said.

“Skyler has a genuine sensitivity and selflessness that is very rare in someone so young,” O’Brien said. “Her grandparents have been an integral part of the program at Hamburg, and it is easy to see that Skyler is following in their footsteps.”

Skyler was named this year’s youth volunteer of the year.

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