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As we stop and think about the first Christmas, the various accounts of it from the Bible share a common element — angels with a message. Whether they were visiting Mary to tell her she would conceive a son or announcing the birth of Jesus to shepherds in a field, as the good book says, angels do indeed bring “…good news of great joy.”

When Ed and Donna Fritz’s truck and trailer carrying their horses and carriage from Fritz Farm Carriages in Millville jackknifed on a slippery and steep, snow-covered Vine Street in Avoca, en route to the third annual Duryea Christmas Stroll, the last thing they thought they’d receive was “good news.” Although everyone, including their Belgian horses, Ben and George, escaped the accident with only a few minor bruises — which was indeed good news — their truck and trailer, along with the front porch of the home that stopped their slide, didn’t fare as well.

When Duryea and Avoca first responders arrived on the scene and quickly assessed the damages, they knew they had the equipment and supplies to treat Ed and Donna and tow the truck and trailer. However, they also knew they needed some special assistance to help the horses, but where would they get it? Enter Bobby Bejeski — the “great joy” in this little Christmas miracle.

Being a horse owner himself, Bejeski volunteered his horse trailer to transport Ben and George to safety. However, due to their larger size, the horses would not fit on a standard-sized trailer. Recognizing the momentous problem the Fritzs faced, Bejeski dug even deeper into his good heart and teamed up with co-worker and friend, Corrina Chwal, to walk the horses nearly a half-mile to his nearby home. When the horses arrived, Bejeski made a comfortable place for them to stay in his on-site horse coral and stable and also provided lovely accommodations for Ed and Donna in his home.

As all of the Fritzes settled in for the night, Bejeski continued his rescue mission. Because of the Fritz’s unfortunate luck, the accident made it impossible for another Duryea Christmas Stroll contingent, Young’s Farm therapy donkeys, to navigate around the accident scene. Knowing this, Bejeski placed the donkeys in his truck and successfully transported them to the stroll for all of the visitors in town to enjoy. He also volunteered the use of and delivered his vintage Ford tractor to the stroll for all of the kids to explore and get their pictures taken sitting on it.

Talk about a Christmas angel!

Thanks so much Bob for being such a great guy and for sharing your Christmas spirit. It’s these kinds of actions that ignite this same spirit in others and continues to make Duryea a place with good values and good neighbors.

Church services

If you’re searching for some Christmas spirit, you’ll surely find it at any of the following church services taking place in town.

The Rev. John V. Polednak, V.E., Deacon André Kabacinski and the parishioners of Nativity of our Lord Parish will have Christmas Masses at the church, 127 Stephenson St.: 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, preceded by singing of traditional Christmas carols at 3:40 p.m. with Nativity of Our Lord Parish Youth Choir, and at midnight, 9 and 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 25. Midnight Mass will be preceded by the singing of traditional Christmas carols, including Koledy, at 11:30 p.m. with the Nativity of Our Lord Parish Senior Choir. Mass for the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, will take place at 9 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1, at the church. The vigil Mass will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31.

The Rev. Dr. Al Cremard and the congregation of the Independent Bible Church will have a Christmas Eve service at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, at the church, 328 Main St.

The Rev. Sharon Deitz and the congregation of the Brick United Methodist Church will have a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 11 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, at the Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St., Avoca.

Holy Rosary news

The students at Holy Rosary School certainly brought lots of Christmas spirit to

their corner of town! Just a few of their Christmas activities included a St. Nicholas Day party, decorating Christmas trees with ornaments they made in class and a performance of secular and religious Christmas songs at their annual Christmas concert which was topped off with a nativity play.

Nice work, kids!

SAL beer winners

The winners of the Duryea Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 585, annual beer raffle drawing are Dennis Vikink, first prize, $500 Laflin Beverage gift certificate; Bridgette Bastek, second prize, $200 Fine Wine & Good Spirits gift certificate; Jack Kurrent, third prize, $50 Komensky’s Market gift certificate, and Tara I., fourth prize, $50 Arturo’s Restaurant gift certificate. Thank you to everyone who purchased tickets.

Lions lighting donations

The Duryea Lions Club has certainly made Main Street and other areas of town festive with its Christmas lighting and decoration program. In order to keep this program thriving, the Lions are seeking the help of the community. To make a donation to assist the Lions in purchasing replacement lights and maintaining the current supply, please send your gift to Duryea Lions Club, P.O. Box 2085, Duryea, PA 18642.

Story hour

Duryea’s My Little Library will hold a story hour at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, at the Duryea Municipal Building, 315 Main St.

The January “celebrity” readers will be the students of Rothrock’s Kung Fu and Tai Chi Academy, Duryea. The students also will give a short demonstration

My Little Library can be found in front of the municipal building and in front of the Community Park, Stephenson Street. It is a “take a book, give a book” program for children up to an eighth-grade reading level.

VFW cornhole

The Duryea Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1227 cornhole league begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10, at the post home, 529 Stephenson St. This is a fun activity and a great way to support our veterans. The public is invited.

Sewer bills

Duryea Borough Sewer Authority invoices for June to December 2017 have been mailed. They are due by Jan. 17, 2018. Anyone who did not receive an invoice should call 570-457-0122 Monday through Friday 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m.

Recovery meetings

SMART Recovery’s Bi-Weekly Support Group meets from 5:45 to 7 p.m. the first and third Monday of the month, at Nativity of Our Lord Parish Hall, (formerly Sacred Heart Hall), 529 Stephenson St. Duryea. For information, visit or

Al-Anon meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays at the Brick United Methodist Church, 935 Foote Ave. This is an anonymous 12-step program for families and friends of addicts and alcoholics. There are no dues or fees. Meetings last approximately one hour. Public is invited.

That’s about it for this week, my friends.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca every week. To include an item in her column, email or call 570-301-2171 by noon Sunday, Dec. 24.