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Extending a helpful hand

March 25, 2011
By KIM LOCCISANO Times Leader Staff Writer

There is something very special Sally Lynn of Bethesda brings into the lives of those who share any part of her world.

Sally has been selected to be the March spotlight honoree for the monthly highlight, "Hey! That's my neighbor."

She was nominated by her sister, Candice Fleagane, who was the initial honoree of this monthly spotlight.

Article Photos

NOMINATED?BY?her sister, Candice Fleagane, pictured at right, ?as this month’s featured honoree in “Hey! That’s my Neighbor,” is Sally Lynn holding her treasured bichon frise, Angel, in a recent photograph. Fleagane said Sally is a caring person who nevers hesitates to help others.

Sally is a much loved sister, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, volunteer, and all around helper with talents and resources a plenty to make the road of life a bit less bumpy for others.

The retired school cafeteria head cook is never at a loss for something positive to do, someone to go see who could benefit from a little company, someone in need of a bit of help or an encouraging word, or opportunities to make someone else's day a bit brighter.

It took a little encouragement from her sister before she could be convinced there is something special about the way she spends her time and energies, and that in agreeing to be recognized for this spotlight award, someone else might be influenced in a positive way.

Sally never invites attention.

She never makes a fuss about the things she does to help others.

It is not her way, nor will it ever be.

"I don't do anything special," she insisted during a recent conversation.

This is not an opinion her friends and family share with her.

She has long been known for her many efforts to raise funds to help animal welfare and shelter programs and projects; many have also involved efforts spearheaded by Fleagane.

In addition to her many volunteering ventures, Sally has baked countless goodies to use for fund raisers for dog and cat care programs.

She is known not only for baking wonderful items to tempt any human sweet tooth, but is also well known for the unique handcrafted dog treats she prepares and donates to the various animal welfare, spay and neuter programs locally for fund raising.

Even her constant companion, an adopted Bichon will often get into the "good neighbor" mode by accompanying her on visits to friends who are unable to get out much, or to local nursing homes where "Angel" has no trouble finding ways to bring smiles to almost everyone she meets.

Like most people who are noticed for their kindness, generosity, unfailingly positive attitude, patience and always unassuming manner: Sally never sees the many things she does for others as being worthy of any sort of special notice.

In the eyes of friends and family, she could not be more wrong.

As soon as Sally's daughters learned of the nomination of their mother, and that she had been selected as the March 2011 spotlight honoree, it was very quickly clear this was no ordinary woman in anyone's eyes: except her own.

Sally is adored and admired by her sister and her own daughters, not to mention a growing number of grandchildren.

"She is just a quiet person who does a lot for everyone, but never calls any attention to it. She always helps raise money for my animal causes," shared Fleagane, a retired dance school owner and animal rescue and spay and neutering advocate.

"Anytime I've needed her to sell raffle tickets, to work tag day events, to help at the malls when we take animals there while trying to find them good homes. She has even fostered animals. She has always been willing to do whatever needs done," shared Fleagane.

Sally's fund raising efforts have been directed to the works of Hounds Haven, the Belmont County Animal Shelter and a new spay/neuter funding program focused on helping fund spay and neuter services in an effort to increase cat adoptions by covering costs of the surgeries.

"She volunteers at the Bethesda Senior Citizens Center and at the Belmont County Historical Society's Victorian Mansion Museum in Barnesville," offered Fleagane. "She recently bought life saving respirators for animals for the Bethesda Volunteer Fire Department to use if they have animals at an emergency needing help breathing."

Sally is well known to many with ties to the Union Local Schools. She worked as head cook in the school cafeteria for 30 years.

A long-time volunteer at various Union Local sporting events, Lynn continues to enjoy helping out at the ticket gate when an extra hand is needed.

She is a person who simply chooses to do good things, the right things.

Whether she means to or not, Sally shares her passion for the positive simply by the way she lives each day: refusing to let darkness, pain or difficulties prevail.

Keeping a positive outlook has not always been easy.

A woman of unwavering personal faith, Sally has known the deep sorrow that comes to a parent struggling to understand why one of their children has suddenly died.

It was not long ago the peace and joy of her everyday world was torn away by the untimely and unexpected death of her son, Michael Carter.

True to her lifelong habit of striving to find some hint of light in even the darkest of days, Sally found a way to share her love for late her son with others.

"I bought a bench to go on the Union Local walking trail by a pond he loved," she shared.

Michael was a member of the Union local High School class of 1976.

Sally worked for the Union Local Schools for 30 years, and looks back fondly on many of the goings on in and around the school's cafeteria where she worked as a head cook.

She knows the joy of motherhood, and the additional blessings that come with the birth of each new grandchild and great-grandchild: of which another four are soon due to be born.

To her family and friends, Sally's is always a gentle voice of encouragement, and of pride in another's efforts - no matter how large or small the goal to be reached.

She is the person who finds ways to make even the everyday into something special; something personalized; something made with a little extra love and thoughtfulness mixed in just because that is the way she does things.

Her daughters: Tracy Snyder and Jackie DiPerna long ago learned their mother was someone special, and they could not be more proud of her, or appreciative of all she has done and continues to do to help make life go a little more smoothly for those she loves.

In many cases Sally has also been the person largely responsible for driving her grandchildren and other young family members to various activities and events as they were growing up.

"We couldn't do it because of work or school. If it had not been for Mom doing so many things and getting the kids where they needed to be at the right time they would never have been able to experience all the things they have," offered Snyder of her mother's valuable contributions of both time and resources.

But, Sally has never viewed the time she put in toward getting her grandchildren to dance classes and back home safely as anything other than opportunities to share memorable experiences with them, and at the same time help out her children.

To Sally, her efforts were nothing special - they were the right thing to do to help out loved ones -- and in fact, she often viewed the driving time and the many hours spent waiting alongside her grandchildren as gifts they shared together.

In a society where negative all too often seems to get considerably more attention than do good works done by good people, she never falters when it comes to sharing messages of her genuine pride in each and every one of their many endeavors.

"My mother is a wonderful woman, strong and very kind," reflected Jackie, referring to her mother.

When Sally's daughter Tracy was asked if she thought both she and her sister Jackie had taken after their mother: had adopted her kind and generous approach to helping out others in daily life, her response came straight from the heart.

"Not enough!

"She really has a good heart. She doesn't do the things she does for others because she has to," said Jackie of her mother's actions on behalf of others. "She does it because she wants to - because she cares."



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