Margaret Gushka Named National Slovak Society Fraternalist Of The Year
Margaret (Marge) Gushka of Assembly 617 was chosen as the 2018 National Slovak Society Fraternalist of the Year at the 37th annual National Slovak Convention in Hershey. She cares for her 95-year-old mother, Susan Witkoski, a resident at Mercy Center Personal Care, and also helps a disabled person in the county with their everyday needs. She is an extraordinary minister of Eucharist at Holy Family Parish, Luzerne, where she also volunteers at breakfasts and spaghetti dinners. She and her husband, Bob, also donate baskets for the church raffles. While she was at another church volunteering to make pierogies for a church fundraiser, other women were making rosaries to donate to those in need. She told them of her cousin, the Rev. John Ostrowski, currently assigned to a parish in El Salvador and she was given 125 rosaries for the people in El Salvador, for which the parish was grateful. She also volunteers at NSS projects: Join Hands Day at St. Vincent De Paul Soup Kitchen, serving dinners and socializing with those being served. She helps with Assembly 617 Fraternal Day at Knoebels Amusement Park. She is also active in all Region 2 meetings. Gushka was instrumental in organizing an effort in which Assembly 617 purchased chemo jackets for young teens receiving cancer treatments. Gushka is a member and adviser of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) West Side Women’s Club, a nonprofit organization that helps the needy in the community and abroad. She encouraged participation in The Arts (Photography, Crafts and Short Story categories). She encouraged art students from West Side Tech Center to participate. Club members and student artists won awards at the GFWC district and state level. Gushka organized and volunteered at several Home Life Projects at Mother Teresa’s Haven, a program for homeless men in Luzerne County, preparing meals, donating blankets and handmade plastic sleeping mats for the men. When she and her club learned of a student who was in need of $75 electrical boots for Electrical Curriculum, the club donated money to purchase the boots. The club adopted the family of seven for the club year and provided them with gifts and gift cards for groceries at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Gushka started a “Coats for Kids” project in her club to provide local children in need with winter coats. She also organized “Dresses for Africa,” which crafted dresses for African women and local church mission groups and provided school supplies and toiletries to those in need abroad. She volunteers with club members at the Northeast Sight Services and its “Insight Kids Program. She organized a “Hygiene Kits” club project in which club members filled kits with specific hygiene products to be distributed to people throughout the United States who are in need. She is also involved in “Lessons in a Lunchbox,” a program to encourage good nutrition and oral hygiene to second and third graders. She and club members, Jackie Corbett and Karen French, presented the students with a free lunchbox containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and a carrot designed to hold these products with a screw or rinse cup. She was presented with the 2018 NSS Fraternalist of the Year Award and a monetary donation to be given in her name to a non-profit organization of her choice. She chose GFWC – West Side Women’s Club to receive the $500 donation. She and her husband, Bob have a daughter, Adrianne Paley (Dan); son, Matthew (Tina) and three grandchildren, Ellie and James Paley and Brighton Gushka.