Sandy Spencer Recognized for Public Service to the Legal Community
At the 2022 LLA Annual Banquet, Corey Mowrey introduced the winner of the 2021 Public Service Award. This award is given to someone in the community who has had a significant impact in the community related to the legal profession. This year’s honoree was Sandy Spencer, for her work with Susquehanna Valley CASA.
In preseting the award, President Mowrey made the following comments:
As the President, I have the honor of selecting a non-attorney to recognize for the public service award.
If you know me, you know of my connection to and passion for Susquehanna Valley CASA – Voices for Children. CASA recruits, trains and oversees volunteers that advocate for the worst cases of child abuse and neglect in the court dependency system.
The LLA and CASA’s connection runs long and deep. Judge Anderson was a part of the initial team that brought CASA to Lycoming County almost 20 years ago. Judge Linhardt has spoken at volunteer swearing ceremonies about his mother serving as a CASA volunteer. Former Judge Joy McCoy has repeatedly said that if she could only read one thing before going into a court dependency hearing where a CASA is assigned, it would be to read the CASA’s court report. Judge Tira is now overseeing the court dependency cases and continues to value CASA’s service in his courtroom.
Last year, the Lycoming County court held a special ceremony to recognize CASA’s service to the court. Long time guardian ad litems – Skip Greevy and John Pietrovito – have also been long time supporters of CASA. I am proud of the fact that the partners at my firm have been donating office space to the Lycoming County CASA case managers since 2016. The LLA Foundation supported CASA two years ago with a grant. Many of you have supported CASA by donating gifts to the Angel Tree Toy Drive, Project Linus, or attending our fundraising events over the years.
No person can do all things, but all persons can do something. So many of you have done that something that has supported and made a difference in the lives of the abused and neglected children that CASA serves. The person that I am recognizing is a shining example of one person doing something. Sandy Spencer graduated from CASA’s second ever volunteer training class approximately 18 years ago.
Sandy has taken 9 Lycoming County cases and served more than 20 abused and neglected children. She has made a profound impact in those children’s lives and also in the lives of their families. Many years later, she remains in contact with some of the children and their families.
At CASA’s 2019 Gala, we had the pleasure of hearing the mother of one of the children that Sandy served speak. That story was about a baby girl that had been physically abused and removed from the household. By the time Sandy was assigned to the case, those involved believed there was no chance for this baby girl to be reunified with her mother. Sandy spent many hours investigating and found that the father was the sole abuser, the mother had no knowledge or part in the abuse, and the mother kicked the father out as soon as she learned about the abuse. Sandy reported what she learned to the court and recommended reunification with the mother as being in the child’s best interests. Ultimately, that case closed with the outcome being to reunify the mother and daughter, and with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear Sandy and the court made the best decision for that child.
As if being a CASA volunteer was not enough for Sandy, she has also served on CASA’s board of directors since March 2019 and chairs the Marketing Committee and the Volunteer Engagement Committee.
Sandy also serves Lycoming County in other capacities, including:
- Serving on the Montoursville Rotary from 1998 until January 2022. Serving as a Lycoming Chamber of Commerce Board Member for many years, and still serving on its Membership Development & Retention Committee.
- Serving on the Harry Plankenhorn Foundation Board of Directors for approximately 5 years. The foundation's mission is to provide support to the vision impaired, the youth, needy and lend a helping hand for the capital needs of local nonprofits that serve the people of Lycoming County.
- She has served as her church choir director for many years.
- She has been heavily involved in organizing the Balloonfest since its beginning 16 years ago. She has served as the chairperson of the Balloonfest the past several years. Many of you have probably attended the Balloonfest over the years at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds. The Balloonfest is a non-profit promoting STEM learning for students and volunteer opportunities for adults.
Simply put, Sandy serves and she does so without wanting or expecting any recognition. Unfortunately, Sandy, today you are not going to get your way. You deserve to be recognized as an example of the difference that one person with a heart of service can make in the world.
Louise Campana is joining me. Louise is a friend of Sandy’s, a fellow CASA volunteer and also a CASA case manager.
I feel terrible that I had to lie to Sandy to get her to join us this evening and surprise her with this award. I told her that I needed someone to speak about CASA at our banquet, knowing full well she would not pass up the opportunity to speak about CASA’s cause.
The Lycoming Law Association offers its thanks and congratulations to Sandy Spencer.