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Eileen Burns and Ellen Mondlak: A Face of America on its Best Day

Anthony J. Mussari, Ph.D.
The Face of America Project
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, 2011

I saw the Face of America on this fine evening in Pittston, Pennsylvania. It belonged to two women who gave of themselves in the best interest of their community.

These are women who were born and raised in the place they call home. They are not rich or famous in the ways of the world. They are not celebrities. They are not household names. They are much more important than any of those popular terms. What they have done during their lifetime has touched the lives of thousands of people in positive, productive, endearing and quiet ways.

These two women have led exemplary lives of service to family, church and community.  

They always see opportunities for improvement and growth, and they make the most of the opportunities they see.

They were educated at local colleges and employed in local schools. For them, education is the portal to a life of success in all the ways that matter.

When they were in the classroom, they opened doors to students who to this day celebrate their goodness.

When they were asked to help their community, they willingly accepted the call, and they lived a life of service to others not themselves.

On this night, they received the praise of a grateful community. It was a celebration of two women who reflect the Face of America on its best day.

Listening to their accomplishments was like listening to a check list of what America is on its best days. It recorded a life of learning, teaching, sharing, helping and doing business in an honest and equitable way.

These two women exhibit a sense of belonging that is central to America on its best day. They are welcoming, kind, compassionate and determined to make a positive mark on the ledger of Pittston’s history.

They did it without noise or notice.

Because of their service to the Pittston Memorial Library, thousands of people, young and old, have access to a modern facility with services that accommodate the needs of the mind and the heart.

Yes, they were part of the renaissance of the Pittston Memorial Library, but it is more than the beautiful building they helped come to life. It is the welcoming spirit and the symbolism of this place where people gather as if it were an extension of their living room. 

On this night, they were honored for years of dedicated service to the Pittston Memorial library, and everyone who gathered in the Mt. Carmel Parish Center saw a beautiful Face of America. It belonged to Eileen Burns and Ellen Mondlak. These women share much in common. They are wives, mothers, teachers, leaders, and pathfinders for positive change in the community they love.

The legacy of their Face of America was best described by Albert Einstein: Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living.

Thank you Eileen Burns and Ellen Mondlak, you have made a lasting mark in our little corner of the world.  You deserve the Jean Yates Award, because your Face of America is an example of what America is all about on its best day, and for that we are eternally in your debt.

tmussari@gmail.com, faceofamericawps.com