Catholic Charities honors six people - Catholic Courier

Catholic Charities honors six people

The board of directors of Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes recently chose six individuals to honor with Sharing the Light awards this year. John and Karen Fouracre, Carl Fribolin, Richard Ricci and John and Marge Shanahan were to be honored June 7 at the organization’s 12th-annual Sharing the Light Award Dinner at Club 86 in Geneva.

The honor is given each year to individuals who are dedicated to community service and who live in the five-county area served by Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes.

John and Karen Fouracre are very involved with the Presbyterian Church in Geneva. John Fouracre taught English in Geneva’s public schools for 28 years and is now a professional gardener. He has served on the Geneva City Council and the boards of directors for a number of local institutions, including the Geneva Free Library, the Smith Opera House and Lochland School. Through his volunteer involvement with the American Red Cross Tissue Services, John has traveled across the United States nearly 50 times to deliver bone marrow to patients in need.

Karen Fouracre worked for the Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council for 20 years and has served as executive director of the Geneva chapter of the American Red Cross and director of the volunteer program for the American Red Cross New York Penn Blood Region. She also has served on the boards of various local institutions, including the Geneva General Hospital Auxiliary, Literacy Volunteers, the American Red Cross New York State Council and the Geneva Historical Society. John and Karen are both licensed ombudsmen for the state’s Office for the Aging.

Fribolin moved to the Finger Lakes region 45 years ago, when he acquired Seedway Inc. in Hall, N.Y. He is a past president of the executive board of the Finger Lakes Council of the Boy Scouts of America and also has been very involved with Geneva General Hospital, the Geneva Historical Society, the Smith Opera House and Keuka College, for which he chaired two capital campaigns.

In 1972 Fribolin bought White Springs Farm — which produces cash crops — and he recently built a new winery on the farm in conjunction with Belhurst Castle. Fribolin helped found the Geneva Arts Development Council and has been involved with the boards of directors of Savings Bank of the Finger Lakes and Lyons National Bank.

Fribolin said his involvement is inspired largely by a sincere desire to see his community grow and prosper.

“The community’s been good to me and good to my family. We’ve done well here and we like the people,” Fribolin said. He added that he is honored to be chosen as a Sharing the Light Award recipient, but noted there are many others who deserve to share in the recognition. “You don’t do any of these things alone. I’ve had tremendous support on any project I’ve been involved in,” he said.

Ricci, a lifelong resident of the Finger Lakes region, is an alumnus of St. Patrick’s School in Seneca Falls and a parishioner of St. Patrick Parish, where he has served as a trustee and member of the finance and sports-booster committees. He also chaired the parish’s fundraising committee for eight years.

Ricci also has served as chairman of the Town of Seneca Falls Republican Committee and as a member of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, the SMS Club, Upstate Citizens for Equality, the Waterloo Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Seneca Falls American Legion and the Rumseyville Sportsman’s Club. He also has served on the boards of directors of the Seneca Falls Little League, the Seneca Falls Recreation Center and the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce.

When John Shanahan retired in 1997, he and his wife, Marge, decided to move from Long Island to Geneva. They’d traveled to the city many times to visit close friends and in the process had fallen in love with Seneca Lake and the Geneva area.

“We love Geneva. We felt we had moved to the best possible place in the entire world for retirement. We wanted to contribute something,” Marge said.

At first the Shanahans didn’t know where their services were most needed, but soon a fellow member of the Roman Catholic Community of Geneva told the couple that the Geneva Community Lunch Program needed a new coordinator. Marge took on the position and now works for Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, which runs the program for the Interfaith Council of Geneva.

Although she was originally told the position would require about seven hours each week, Marge and her husband typically devote several hours each day to the lunch program.

“The community lunch program is a big part of our lives. It takes hours every day to keep it running and to line up food,” Marge said.

The Shanahans often pick up leftover food from restaurants, local colleges and organizations, and they’re basically on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Marge added. She also oversees the lunch program’s more than 75 volunteers and helps plan, prepare and serve the program’s meals. The lunch program is often staffed by volunteers from the various faith communities in Geneva, she noted.

“It has allowed us to meet so many wonderful people from every congregation in Geneva,” she said.

In 2000 Marge helped start Foodlink/USDA mass food distributions in Geneva, and she and John have both volunteered with several different Geneva initiatives aimed at alleviating hunger. John also is a member and past president of Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes’ board of directors.

The Shanahans are both very active in the Roman Catholic Community of Geneva, where Marge sings in the choir and John is a lector and parish-council member.

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