Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick President Matthew Meade recently announced Art Owens has been name the Francis Swingle Award Winner. He will receive the award when the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick gather Tuesday, March 17, for the 106th annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet. Anthony “Tony” Alba will be the grand marshal.
Tickets for the banquet may be purchased from any active member of the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick or at the Knights of Columbus on Main Street in Pittston every Thursday night until the night of the banquet. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Jimmy Cefalo will be the guest speaker.
Art Owens was born on Jan. 12, 1959 to Sheldon and Eleanor Owens in Wilkes-Barre. He attended grade school in Wilkes-Barre and graduated from E.L. Meyers High School in 1979. He earned an associate degree in social science from Luzerne County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies in social services along with a certificate in gerontology from College Misericordia.
Owens began a 20-year career at Mercy Hospital in Wilkes-Barre in 1975, starting in the dietary department. He held several positions before advancing to the position of volunteer director. As volunteer director, Owens developed therapies and projects intended to help volunteers enrich their lives and futures such as the Angel/Golden Tree project. He also chaired the annual Festival of Trees in 1992. He built professional relationships with organizations such as Catholic Social Services, the Catherine McCauley Medical Clinic and the United Way to provide medical services, gifts for underprivileged children and assistance for senior citizens. He served on the policy/procedure committee and as vice president of the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary. He earned the Mercy Leadership Award and the Mercy Community/Professional Involvement Award.
In 1996, Owens accepted a position with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeastern PA as wish granting director/volunteer supervisor. He continued to make wishes come true for critically ill children, advancing to the position of program services director and then vice president of program services. He worked to procure more than $100,000 in donations by reaching out and building relationships with businesses and organizations across northeastern Pennsylvania. He recruited, hired, trained and coordinated volunteer involvement in wish granting and development during his time with the foundation.
In 2006, Owens took a position with the Luzerne Intermediate Unit No. 18 assisting children in the behavioral health and rehabilitative services department. He currently provides services to children who attend the Greater Nanticoke Area School District.
Owens is a member of the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. He is also a member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, Aerie 584 and currently serves on the scholarship committee to help raise funds for local students to assist with college expenses.
He currently lives in Nanticoke with his wife of 25 years, Lisa.
Anthony ‘Tony’ Alba
Meade also announced that the grand marshal this year will be Anthony “Tony” Alba for the 106th annual St. Patrick’s Day banquet.
Alba, formerly of West Pittston, resides in Orlando, Florida, with his fiancé Kaitlin.
He is a 2007 graduate of Wyoming Area High School, and a 2015 graduate of Wilkes University, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
Alba is currently employed by Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, where he works in the emergency department. As an employee at Nemours, he has helped to expand their newly developed Difficult IV Access (DIVA) Team, where they utilize ultrasound technology for intravenous therapy and blood draws to help improve outcomes and decrease stressors on children while in the hospital.
He is the son of Frank Alba and Sandra Zalepa Alba of West Pittston.