Lackawanna College and Police Academy Extend Support to Wounded Detective

Lackawanna College and the Lackawanna College Police Academy extends our unwavering support
and prayers to Detective Kyle Gilmartin, his family, friends, and all of the brave men and women
who make up the Scranton Police Department.

Detective Kyle Gilmartin was shot and seriously wounded while honorably performing his duties on
January 11, 2024. This tragic act of violence services as a stark reminder of the dangers our local law
enforcement officers face on a daily basis while serving and protecting our communities.

Lackawanna College has a longstanding and meaningful relationship with the Scranton Police
Department, and Detective Kyle Gilmartin was a distinguished graduate of our Police Academy in 2010.

His resilience, integrity, heroism, and unwavering dedication to duty serve as a shining
example of the highest standards in law enforcement.

We extend our heartfelt wishes for a swift and complete recovery for Detective Kyle Gilmartin. Our
thoughts and support are with him and all those who uphold the noble cause of ensuring the safety
and well-being of our society.

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement Supports People Facing Hardships

During a community-outreach project, Kara Seitzinger was handing out free back-to-school supplies at the South Side Farmers Market in Scranton on a sunny Saturday when she got an urgent call from a colleague at The Wright Center for Community Health Mid Valley Practice.

The caller, a community health worker, explained the still-unfolding situation: A mother, homeless and pregnant, had come into the clinic in Jermyn needing food, diapers, and other essential supplies.

The caller asked: Can we help her?

Yes, said Seitzinger. Within hours, the woman received what she needed. The same day, Seitzinger and a group of volunteers distributed 85 school backpacks to families visiting the farmers market.

It’s all in a day’s work for Seitzinger, executive director of public affairs at The Wright Center, and like-minded employees who volunteer with the nonprofit organization’s subsidiary, The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement (PCE).  

Oct. 23 is National Make a Difference Day, an annual observance during which people are encouraged to find ways to improve their communities. 

Motivated by a similar spirit, many of The Wright Center’s employees and resident and fellow physicians are active year-round, doing impactful projects with PCE to improve people’s health and well-being.

PCE’s roots can be traced to an informal auxiliary started years ago by staffers at the Mid Valley Practice and funded by their donations. They sporadically passed the hat to help a patient or family with a pressing need. However, The Wright Center’s leaders soon recognized the profound need it filled in the community and formalized the initiative in 2020 to make it self-sufficient. 

Mary Marrara, a longtime community champion and a member of The Wright Center for Community Health Board, helped complete the paperwork to establish PCE officially. “The initiative to do patient and community engagement started with little bites, and then we folded in the auxiliary to launch what it is today,” she said.  

‘We take care of it’

PCE strives to help people in the region overcome food insecurity and other negative social and economic determinants of health, such as inadequate housing, lack of educational access, and poverty. The Wright Center’s leaders recognize that addressing these basic needs is critical to improving patients’ health over the long term, said Seitzinger, who serves as advisor liaison to The Wright Center’s president and CEO.

“Transportation has always been a huge problem for many of our patients,” said Seitzinger. “And, food insecurity has increased exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic began and really rose again in the last six months as SNAP benefits were cut.”

PCE seeks grants and conducts several fundraising events to fulfill its mission. The organization hosted its inaugural golf tournament in May, which raised more than $45,000. In August, proceeds from the second annual Road to Recovery Car Show at Nay Aug Park assisted patients of The Wright Center for Community Health’s Opioid Use Disorder Center of Excellence with transportation to and from appointments.

Similarly, when possible, PCE helps community members get past short-term crises, as it was able to do for the pregnant, homeless woman who needed assistance. 

“People can come to us without worry,” said Marrara. We have people come to us privately, and we take care of it, but we maintain 100% accurate records. I want people to know – everything we do is checked and double-checked.” 

‘The next step’

PCE relies on volunteers to chip in during food distributions, school backpack giveaways, and other events at The Wright Center’s primary care practices and other locations in the community. Seitzinger sees it as a win-win: Employees make a difference in the communities they serve, and they raise public awareness about the affordable, high-quality health care and preventive services available by visiting The Wright Center’s clinics in Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Wayne counties. 

“The Wright Center is federally funded, so in a sense, the community owns it,” said Seitzinger. “We’re trying to find ways to contribute to the community and get our staff out there to give back.” 

Looking to the future, Seitzinger envisions building more lasting ways for PCE to help the community, including adding a permanent food pantry and a dedicated clothing closet. “Having the ability to have a food bank or a clothing closet right there in the clinic, that’s the next step,” she said. 

Marrara echoed Seitzinger’s goals, noting that she’s excited to see how PCE will continue to grow over time. 

“I’m proud of what we have become,” she said. “And I would venture to say that a year from now, I’ll be even prouder.”

For more information, visit

Outreach Center Gains Support from Robert H. Spitz Grant

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation awarded a $20,000 grant to support Outreach’s programs and services to the regional community. Outreach Center for Community Resources delivers a variety of programs to promote family stability and economic self-sufficiency Outreach improves the lives of over 4,500 adults and children each year with evidence-based family development programs supporting individuals as they navigate life’s challenges.

This Robert H. Spitz Foundation 2022 grant supports Outreach family-serving programs and services that are being provided at the Center on Seventh Avenue, virtually, and through home visiting child-serving programs. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation provides operational support for Outreach to respond to the increased need being experienced in the community for early childhood education, workforce development, adult education, and family services.

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation supports initiatives and programs serving the residents of Lackawanna County and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Robert H. Spitz was born in Scranton and was a 1955 graduate of Scranton Central High School and the University of Miami, Florida. Before retirement, Mr. Spitz had been employed by the U.S. Department of Labor and was also the owner of several local Arby’s restaurants. Since 2015, the Robert H. Spitz Foundation has provided over $4.6 million in funding to the community. The Scranton Area Community Foundation serves as the administrator of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

In photo (left to right): Brittany Pagnotti, MBA, CFRE, Donor Relations and Communications, Scranton Area Community Foundation; Angela Seibert, Outreach – Center for Community Resources, Child and Family Programs Director, Cathy Fitzpatrick, Grants & Scholarship Manager, and Frank Caputo, Grants & Communications Coordinator, Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Kost Tire and Auto Supports Law Enforcement Departments

“Kost for Cops” is a program to thank our local law enforcement community for keeping us safe and making us proud!                                                           

                                                     Phase One

The Kost organization schedules visits with local law enforcement agencies and delivers meals to be enjoyed by members (including K-9 members of the force) and support staff.

Erwin Kost Sr. is committed to supporting our law enforcement communities and expressing thanks for their efforts.  As a Vietnam era veteranhe served our country, wore the uniform with pride, honor and respect.  However when he was coming home his uniform was not respected.  Years later, he saw the same attitude emerging with people’s disrespect of our law enforcement community.  He said “NOT on my watch!”

Erwin Kost Jr. attended a Sunday Mass honoring our local law enforcement.  Members of the departments were in their dress uniforms.  When a representative of the group addressed the congregation, people stood and showed a massive appreciation of support and sincere thanks!  Erwin Jr., thought to himself “our community truly supports our law enforcement.”

Both Erwin’s had very different experiences however they both arrived at the same crossroads and agreed to put forth an effort to support our local Law Enforcement.  “Kost for Cops” was created, an action plan was established, put in place and implemented.

“Our law enforcement communities need to know how much they are appreciated and how thankful we are that they are holding the line in our neighborhoods.”So, the Kost family and organization is going to say “Thank you, for keeping us safe and making us proud.”   

The Kost organization has delivered meals to over 40 departments in the last 12weeks to express their sincere thanks for the service and commitment on the part of law enforcement that protects our residents and communities. An additional 8visits arebeing planned over the next two months.

We want to promote our police and law enforcement personnel in all areas and express thanks for their efforts. We must all support, trust and honor local law enforcement andlook to our efforts to encourage other companies, organizations, and private citizens to do the same.                                                             

Phase Two

The Phase Two mission consists of helping our law enforcement departments keep in touch with the communities they serve and assisting in the development of new levels and channels of connectivity.

In many cases, when police are called to a location, people are NOT having a good day.  The tension and anxiety may be high, and the ability to communicate as one member of the community to another may help defuse the situation,Enhanced communications build stronger and safercommunities.

The Kost organization is developing plans that would supportcommunity-oriented events and activities sponsored by our law enforcementagencies. Such activities includethe “National Night Out”, the first Tuesday in August.Additional department sponsored events and activities throughout the year will be supported.

As an example, a few members of a local police department started a food pantry in their neighborhood.  Erwin Kost Jr immediately suggested that we setup food drop-off containers in a Koststore location near that police department. “Help comes in a number of ways, “said Kost.“This is an extension of and consistent with our 85 years of being in business, supporting local communities, and family to family service projects.”

The Wright Center for Community Health and Luzerne County Community College Collaborate on Program for Certified Recovery Specialists

Seventeen students enrolled in the collaborative certified recovery specialist (CRS) credential program at Luzerne County Community College recently completed the educational component to become professionals in the recovery field. The students now are eligible to take the Pennsylvania Certification Board examination to become a state-certified CRS.

The Wright Center for Community Health and Luzerne County Community College worked in partnership on the program to train about 40 CRSs in the regional program with the assistance of grant funding from the Appalachian Regional Commissioner under its own INSPIRE initiative. The initiative is a regional partnership that provides recovery opportunities for growth, education and sustainable success.

Through the grant initiative, the new CRSs will obtain new employment or enhance their current positions and about 50 businesses will be improved through employee education and/or hiring of a CRS.

A CRS credential qualifies peers who are living in recovery with drug and alcohol substance use disorders to help others in their journey through the recovery process. Recovery specialists are able to share similar life experiences by offering insight into their own recovery process. These professionals acknowledge their lived experience as a person in recovery with colleagues, patients and others. Through certification and their unique experiences, CRSs are able to serve as role models, advocates and motivators for others to live a successful life in recovery.

Certified recovery specialists also advocate to reduce stigma, eliminate barriers, increase support systems and build community. Overall, the services aim to substantially improve an individual’s ability to sustain recovery and wellness.

The Wright Center for Community Health promotes McAndrew to marketing manager

The Wright Center for Community Health has named Ryan McAndrew of Scranton as community health marketing manager. He previously served as the graphic designer in the marketing and communications department.

An employee of The Wright Center since 2020, McAndrew will be responsible for developing and maintaining marketing strategies and campaigns to meet strategic growth and community relations objectives for the network of community health centers in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. McAndrew received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Marywood University.

McAndrew will raise public awareness about The Wright Center for Community Health’s medical home model, which offers patients access to nondiscriminatory, high-quality, affordable integrated care that includes medical, dental, behavioral, addiction and recovery, and other supportive services at one location. With a sliding-fee discount available, The Wright Center reduces barriers to care by ensuring health care is affordable for everyone regardless of a person’s ability to pay.  

The Wright Center treats patients of all ages, income levels and insurance statuses. No patient is turned away for lack of health insurance or an inability to pay. Please go to or call 570-230-0019 to find the most conveniently located community health center in the region or make an appointment.

Join Downtown Business in Support of Ukraine

Calling Scranton businesses to help us decorate the downtown in yellow and blue showing support for the people of the Ukraine.

Utilizing flags, lighting, window painting, posters, and merchandise are a few ways to showcase your support.

Please contact Liz Baldi at if you are interested in participating. Scranton Tomorrow will be putting together a press release and would love to include the location and a photo of your display.

If you are a Scranton business, but not located in the downtown, and are interested in participating, please let us know, all are welcome! Check out how Ufberg & Associates and Nada & Co are showing their support and get inspired!

Noteology ‘Peace for Ukraine’ Candle

Noteology stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian civilians and refugees and pray for peace during this turbulent time. 

To show our support, we developed our ‘Peace for Ukraine’ Sunflower candle and will be donating $8 per candle to the International Rescue Committee, an organization providing life saving support to people forced to flee their homes in Ukraine.  The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine and has become a global symbol of solidarity for Ukraine. Our sunflower candle is filled with love and peace, with notes of sunflowers in bloom, lemon peel, lemon verbena, and a touch of honey. 

FNCB Supports Students at Allied Services

FNCB Bank, locally based since 1910, has announced an $85,000 Pennsylvania Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) donation to Allied Services dePaul School for Dyslexia.

The non-profit school in Scranton serves children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities, providing specialized instruction to assist students in identifying their learning style and maximizing their abilities. Students from 19 local school districts attend the full-time school serving grades 1 through 8. FNCB’s donation directly funded student scholarships for families in need. 

“The work the teachers, staff and administration at the dePaul School do is amazing,” said Jerry Champi, FNCB Bank President and CEO. “As a community partner, we are proud to support their efforts and help a large number of students reach their full potential.”

The support of Allied Services dePaul School for Dyslexia is part of FNCB’s larger Community Caring initiative. As a true, local community bank, FNCB Bank is making a difference through volunteerism, donations and outreach programs. Since 2010, FNCB has contributed just under $2,500,000 to local educational and scholarship organizations through the EITC initiative.

Telespond Senior Services Awarded $5,000 to Support Operations

Telespond Senior Services has accepted a $5,000 Critical Needs grant award from the Scranton Area Community Foundation to support operations of in-home and on-site senior services in Northeastern PA.

Telespond’s on-site day program provides a community-based environment for older adults who require supervised care outside the home during the day. Telespond’s in-home personal care services assist seniors with non-medical activities of daily living so they can continue to live independently.

Telespond is dedicated to enhancing the safety and well-being of the region’s elderly and has served the Lackawanna County community for over 40 years. To learn more, visit