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This Week’s LION: Woodlands Bank Everyday Heroes

Every bank is somewhat different in one way or another, but Woodlands Bank is truly unique. Founded in 1989 by a small group of entrepreneurs who desired a different kind of community bank in Lycoming County, they chose the name “Woodlands” to reflect the lumber heritage of the area. It also had the advantage of geographic limitations of other alternatives that reflected names of municipalities, counties, or bodies of water.

The first office, located in Loyalsock Township, opened with a staff of ten in October of 1990; today, it has eight locations with a team of over 100. Besides providing excellent banking services, they also have a unique community commitment — it is called “Everyday Heroes.”

This annual community service award is designed to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of local, everyday individuals who go above and beyond their commitment and service to a nonprofit organization that has a significant impact on the local community.

At the Woodlands Bank Award Breakfast on Wednesday, August 30th, President/CEO Jon Conklin presented the 2023 Everyday Heroes. They were Todd Winder, chief of Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company; Patty Fox of Family Promise of Lycoming County; and Michelle Hopkins of Lycoming Animal Protection Society, Inc. In many ways, these three really do embody the spirit of volunteerism.

Michelle Hopkins is a senior citizen who just loves helping at the Lycoming Animal Protection Society, Inc. (LAPS). Incorporated in 1992, they are staffed entirely by volunteers and provide care and adoption services for many homeless cats and kittens at a cat shelter located in Williamsport. Michelle may be small in size, but she is very big in commitment. She described her ‘duties’ as “everything that needs to be done. I scoop, I sweep, I change water, numerous duties — and then I do more.” She is one of those people that every organization would beg for — a volunteer who never quits.

Patty Fox is a volunteer with Family Promise of Lycoming County, an exceptionally wonderful organization that helps families with children who are temporarily homeless. Nationally, Family Promise has now helped over one million children get into a home. She expressed her commitment by saying, “You just live it. You don’t know any other way to live your life but to see a need and see if you can help.” Patty does everything from fundraising to raising awareness to just helping comfort those who are going through very hard times.

Todd Winder is the Fire Chief and an EMT for the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company. Full disclosure — I nominated Fire Chief Todd Winder for this award. Since I joined the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company in 2016, I have grown to admire the amazing impact that his leadership represents. For twenty-five years, Todd has been chief of Station 12, a volunteer fire company, which must respond to every possible emergency imaginable: house fires, farm fires, industrial fires, forest fires, road accidents, water rescues, railroad accidents, and much, much more. Beyond that, Todd is also an EMT, and in his volunteer work in that area, he has averaged 167 calls a year (!) for the past ten years. Alone. There are people alive today who could very well not be alive were it not for Todd Winder.

A big hats-off to Woodlands Bank and their CEO Jon Conklin, in particular, for this initiative. His opening address at the presentation ceremony outlined the objective, “Each one of the nominees embodies what this award is all about, which is a selfless commitment to their communities and to their chosen organization in stepping up to ensure that the mission is achieved.”

Mr. Conklin mentioned the word “community” eleven times in his short introduction. He noted that the bank itself was founded in 1989 specifically for the purpose of having a “focus on community at its core.” This program of annually recognizing volunteers in nonprofit organizations is an initiative that should inspire us all.

So, a very big hats off to Michelle Hopkins, Patty Fox, and Todd Winder, three extremely different individuals, yet each pouring out their time and talent for the one purpose of helping others in need. And for the dozens of those who were nominated but not selected, your service is appreciated as well. We thank you all for your selfless commitment and Woodlands Bank for their generosity in acknowledging these hard-working volunteer warriors in our community.