Commissioners recognize Lehigh County residents
Lehigh County Board of Commissioners recently recognized and honored three of the county’s residents.
Joseph R. Zeller was honored with the Freedom Foundation Award. He was honored Sept. 12 and celebrated his 100th birthday Sept. 19.
In a special resolution, the commissioners thanked Zeller for “a lifetime of service to his community and his country.”
The resolution described him as one who brought “unbounded vision, impassioned drive and unmitigated commitment to virtually any issue he addressed, thus leaving the people he meets and the areas he services far better.”
Zeller, a resident of Lowhill Township, served five terms (1971-80) in the Pennsylvania State House, where he represented the 134th Legislative District, which comprises parts of Berks and Lehigh counties. In Lehigh County, the 134th includes Alburtis, Lower Macungie Township, Macungie, parts of Salisbury Township and parts of South Whitehall Township. He also served two terms as mayor of Emmaus Borough and four years as an Emmaus Borough councilman.
Zeller is a Penn State graduate and a war veteran. He was a 70-year member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He was the first commander and founder of Post 12099, Allentown.
He served during World War II as a chief aviation electrician on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger CV-4 in the Atlantic, where he saw combat on more than one occasion. He also served during the Korean War, where he helped man an early warning system.
“The young people should get involved, so they can be part of the community,” Zeller said during a recent interview, when asked what advice he has for the younger generation. “Work for the people; help them. Be part of the community.”
Commissioners also recognized Clarence and Florence Smith, of Slatington, for “outstanding initiative in support of local, national and global humanitarian causes.”
Clarence Smith has been following unclaimed property reports and trying to contact the rightful claimants who usually have no idea they may have unclaimed property.
When he locates a claimant and they collect the unclaimed property, Smith takes no commission. Instead, he suggests the claimant donate to Heifer International, a charity that provides cows, chickens and other agricultural animals to families around the world.
According to its website, “We believe that the collective power of economic development, food security and nutrition and environmental sustainability can empower small-scale farmers on the path to living incomes. When those components are multiplied by the positive impacts of gender equality and social capital, communities achieve greater resilience and a sustainable reduction in hunger and poverty.”
The commissioners cited the Smiths for their “countless hours volunteering and educating others on worthwhile causes.”
According to the citation published by the commissioners, the donations the Smiths collect “increase access to medicine, schools, food and a sustainable livelihood. Their efforts make the world a better place.”