Burns: Tiffany Jones, Conner Hagins named 2017 Charlie Vizzini Volunteerism Award recipients

EBENSBURG, Sept. 27 – State Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is announcing the co-recipients of the 2017 Charlie Vizzini Volunteerism Award – Tiffany A. Jones and Conner C. Hagins, both of Johnstown.

Those 72nd Legislative District residents will be honored at the 2nd Annual Charlie Vizzini Award banquet, scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Noon-Collins Inn, 114 E. High St., Ebensburg.

The award is named after Charlie Vizzini, who amassed more than 8,000 hours by volunteering in Burns’ legislative office – fielding more than 1,000 constituent service matters and saving taxpayers an estimated $80,000.

“Through this award, we’re trying to recognize someone in the district who has volunteered to make the community a better place,” Burns said. “In reviewing this year’s nominations, there is no question that Tiffany and Conner fit that bill. They are fine examples of being unselfish and contributing to the well-being of others.”

According to her nomination essay, Jones has been especially active in St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, where as a member of its Youth Group she’s volunteered to help people with yard work, painting, odd jobs and other home-related projects they cannot physically perform or afford.

Jones has traveled to a remote part of Peru to deliver toiletries and other items to a village where they conducted a Bible School for youngsters. Her other volunteer activities include Relay for Life to fight cancer, packing boxes for a food pantry, helping with volunteer fire company bingo, and becoming a Junior Firefighter and auxiliary member.

Jones has completed Emergency Management Technician training and is waiting to take the written half of the certification, before starting classes at Penn Highlands Community College this fall.

Hagins started Cuddles for Kids more than a decade ago, and the nonprofit charity has donated 107,000 items worth an estimated $500,000 to local, national and worldwide organizations. It has sent toys to Haiti, to orphanages in Mexico and to children in Afghanistan – and well as supplying them to the area Ronald McDonald House. 

As founder of Cuddles for Kids, Hagins has launched multiple partnerships with local police departments and the district attorney’s office, and has purchased new bicycle helmets for children whose families cannot afford them. Another of Hagins’ initiatives provides police officers with toys to be used in crisis situations.

More recently, Hagins established a scholarship to benefit local, service-driven high school students in Cambria and Somerset counties. He’s also been involved in organizing large events throughout his home area, as well as at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.