Morrie Pongratz Nominated for ‘Salute to Senior’ Service Award

Morrie Pongratz has volunteered in Los Alamos for more than 25 years. Courtesy photo

Staff report

Home Instead Senior Care network sponsors an annual contest to recognize seniors for the impact they make in their communities by volunteering their time and talents.

Joy Beery of Los Alamos Family Council has nominated Morrie Pongratz for the Salute to Senior Service award.

Voting occurs online. For more information or to vote for Pongratz, click HERE

In Beery’s nomination, she described Pongratz’ many contributions to Los Alamos:

Morris (Morrie) Pongratz is highly regarded in the Los Alamos community – he was selected as a “Living Treasure” last year. He is very active as a volunteer in the following ways:

He has been the Los Alamos High School Key Club sponsor for 25 years and has worked with the students on projects such as raising money for the United Way and supervises trips to state and district meetings.

He helped organize and was a vice president with the non-profit Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, which funds a wide variety of programs for grades 8-12 including the Teen Center that opened three years ago.

Morrie is known by the students as the “Voice of the Toppers” because he has been the volunteer announcer for football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and track for 25 years.

For 20 years, he has been teaching high school religious education classes at church as well as facilitation of the adult religious discussion group. At Aspen Elementary School he is a first grade reading coach and serves on their site council.

Morrie was on the Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Board of Education for four years and has written annual statistical reports for the Board covering the results of annual surveys such as Pride.

Those reports are used not only by the schools for planning but also community agencies to plan prevention and early intervention programs.

He is the co-chair of the LAPS Strategic Planning Committee and a Charter member/past president of the non-profit LAPS Foundation, which raises funds to support teachers and building improvements.

LA Family Council has been pleased to have Elvis (Morrie in costume) as the emcee for the annual Family Sock Hop fundraiser for the Youth Activity Centers and the Counseling Center.

In addition to the classes Morrie teaches at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church (IHM), he serves as a Lay Distributor and Lector. He organized and contributed to a book published by IHM: “Nuclear Weapons and Morality: A View from Los Alamos.”

Morrie served as an elected official for 14 years on the County Council and he serves on the DWI Advisory Board.

The Senior Care network’s mission is to help seniors stay healthy and active as they age, which many do through volunteering. They also encourage a positive outlook on aging.

The award seeks to encourage everyone in the country to personally recognize seniors who set an inspiring example for people of all ages.

Senior volunteers nominated for the Salute to Senior Service℠ contest not only receive public recognition and appreciation of their dedicated community service, but are eligible for a chance to win up to $5,500 for their favorite volunteer organization.

State winners will be announced June 9 and a national winner will be announced by June 30.

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