College recognizes employee for outstanding community service

service awardLeadership in supporting charities has earned Deborah Arduini this year’s Bernie G. Henderson Community Service Award at SUNY Oswego.

“Debbie has done so much for the community, getting everyone involved in different causes,” said co-worker Tammy Young, who nominated Arduini.

For six years Arduini has spearheaded SUNY Oswego’s participation in Lee National Denim Day, the largest single-day fundraiser for the fight against breast cancer. Her involvement was triggered by her mother’s diagnosis with the disease in 2000.

“It hit home for me,” Arduini said. “It became important for me to learn the facts and get the word out to others.”

Though her mother passed away in 2002, Arduini continues to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

“Anything pink, like the pink ribbons, makes me think of her,” Arduini said of her mother. “But I would do this anyway. It’s a fun thing to do.”

On Lee National Denim Day in October, anyone who donates $5 to the foundation receives a pink ribbon pin and can wear denim to work. Arduini and her co-captains sell pink wristbands and clothing. Volunteers have also constructed two quilts that were raffled to raise funds. Every year, the day’s events on campus include a group photo, a brief walk and a reception to honor survivors and thank participants.

In 2000, the fundraising mainly consisted of the Student Accounts Office in Culkin Hall where Arduini works. By 2005, the entire campus was participating.

“I have so many people that help me that it makes this easy,” she said. “It’s a united thing now.”

Young credited the high involvement to Arduini’s enthusiasm. In her nomination letter, she wrote that Arduini “gives unselfishly of herself, her time and her contagious energy for this cause.”

“You can’t be in a room with her for 10 minutes without wanting to help,” Young said.

In addition to her work with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Arduini has sold candy bars and participated in the run/walk for the March of Dimes and been a captain for the United Way Baskets of Caring.

Arduini called the award “a huge honor” but insisted that there are others deserving of recognition. It is a modesty that Young predicted in her letter.

“I am absolutely positive that Debbie would never expect to receive any kind of recognition for any of her deeds as she does them purely from her heart,” she wrote, “but everyone who knows Debbie would like her to know that nothing she does for the good of others has gone unnoticed.”

The Bernie G. Henderson Community Service Award is named after SUNY Oswego’s former vice president of finance and budget. Henderson, who retired from the college in 1999, continues to donate time to community projects, including serving on the boards of Seneca Hill Manor, the Salvation Army and Oswego County Historical Society, as well as on the SUNY Oswego College Council. He also co-chairs the Campaign for Oswego, the college’s first capital campaign.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Making a difference—Deborah Arduini of SUNY Oswego’s Student Accounts Office (center) was honored by the college for her volunteer service through this year’s Bernie G. Henderson Community Service Award. Presenting the award to Arduini at the campus Employee Recognition and Awards Ceremony in May were Henderson (right) and Arduini’s co-worker Tammy Young, who nominated her for the annual honor.

(Posted: Jun 13, 2006)