Area Woman Honored By President Trump For Community Service

Joanne Malecki holds her certificate of lifetime service signed by President Donald Trump. Photo by David Prenatt

Joanne Malecki’s simple philosophy — if you see a need, take care of it — has earned her recognition from far beyond her home area of Clymer/ Findley Lake.

Malecki has recently been awarded a host of citations from public officials for her community service, ranging from the Chautauqua County Executive, all the way up to President Donald Trump.

Malecki, who says, “I just enjoy helping people, no matter how big or how small,” learned from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (R.S.V.P.) that she has put in over 4,000 hours of service over the last four years.

In recognition of this accomplishment, Malecki has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Trump and The Corporation for National and Community Service, whose mission is to “support the American culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility.”

The President’s Volunteer Service Award Program is intended to honor and thank those who, by their commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. Lifetime achievement is recognized with a special President’s Call to Service Award, which honors those who have provided more than 4,000 hours of service.

Malecki also received the Presidential Volunteer Lifetime Service Award from Tom Reed, U.S. Representative for New York’s 23rd Congressional district. County Executive Vince Horrigan honored Malecki with the Chautauqua County Certificate of Recognition.

New York State Senator Catharine Young recognized Malecki’s achievement with a President’s Lifetime Service Award Certificate, and New York State Assemblyman Andy Goodell also awarded her a Presidential Volunteer Service Award Certificate for over 4,000 hours of service.

Malecki volunteers at the Findley Lake Community Library and does volunteer work with the Senior Citizens lunch program, which gives seniors the opportunity to enjoy a nutritious noon meal.

However, the accomplishment of which Malecki is most proud is her fabrication of dozens of warm hats and mittens. I decided to start crocheting hats and mittens for the homeless and for people with cerebral palsy about four years ago, she said. I make three dozen hats and three dozen pairs of mittens in all colors, she added.

Malecki said the mittens she creates have ribbing up to the elbow.

“What homeless person has a coat that fits them?” she asked. Also, I make the mittens so people with cerebral palsy can get their hands into them, she said.

Malecki has been offering a helping hand to those in need for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve just been always helping whoever needs it,” she said. “I do the Veteran’s Day dinner, too.”

Malecki recently underwent bypass surgery, but it has not slowed her down when it comes to helping others. She recalled how one of the staff members at R.S.V.P. told her: “You don’t even have six months under your belt from your heart surgery, and you’re complaining that you can’t do more.”

Malecki was quite surprised when she learned that R.S.V.P., in keeping track of her volunteer hours, noted that she had put in over 4,000 hours, and that she would be recognized for her charitable acts.

Malecki said the citations do not change her outlook on serving others.

“Everybody said ‘Oh, boy, what an honor,’ and my husband said ‘you need to show everybody those certificates so they can really see what you do,'” she said. “But I don’t think much about that. I just want to help people.”