BELOIT- A local resident has garnered high honors for his work with the United Commercial Travelers.
Rick Gruszecki of Beloit was named the 2014 Fraternalist of the Year of the Ohio region of UCT, an international membership organization focused on volunteer service, at the organization's annual regional convention in June. The Fraternalist of the Year is awarded each year to the region's top volunteer.
Gruszecki has also been named supreme chaplain of UCT International for 2014-2015.
According to his fellow members, he is an energetic UCT advocate and volunteer who puts in countless hours each year giving back to the community. Some of his volunteer activities include supporting the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and the Stark County Special Olympics' Great Pumpkin Race, as well as coordinating Alliance's annual junior golf tournament for area youth.
He also spearheads UCT's local safety poster contest in the community each year, supports Alliance's women's shelter, and is involved with First Christian Church and Damascus Friends Church.
Within UCT Gruszecki has served through both the local and regional lines of office and has served on numerous committees at the international level. On the local level during the past year he served as Council 261's volunteer coordinator, newsletter editor, Facebook page administrator, media relations coordinator, and chairperson of the recycling committee.
"What Rick does is truly remarkable," said UCT Past International President and Ohio Past Regional President Tom Smith. "He is an individual who is always giving of himself, and he's a great asset to our organization and the people he serves. He cares about making life better for others and people respond positively to that."
A member of Ohio's Alliance Council 261 since 1978, Gruszecki's service in UCT is a family affair. His parents Bob and Beverly Gruszecki of Alliance are longtime UCT members and volunteers and his wife Dayle is a co-honoree for fraternalist of the year. Their adult daughters- Ashley Gruszecki and Rachael Gibellino and her husband Scott, past president and president, respectively- are also members of the Alliance council.
A 1978 West Branch graduate, Gruszecki grew up in Damascus. He currently lives on U.S. Route 62 south of Sebring and works as a floater in management at Mister Tire in Alliance.
Gruszecki said he UCT joined through the influence of his parents, helping out with smaller projects such as picking up apples while his father was a member.
"I always wanted to help people when I was growing up," he said. "I've just adapted to the UCT motto of people helping people."
There are 22 UCT councils in the state and Alliance is sister council to Salem. The Alliance council meets at 6 p.m. the fourth Saturday of each month at the First Christian Church on West Beech Street. The Salem council meets at 6 p.m. the first full week Wednesday of each month at Perkins. Those interested in joining UCT can contact Gruszecki at 330-206-9009 or 330-938-9117.
UCT is a non-profit financial services membership organization with more than 55,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. Members work to enhance their communities through community service, charitable fundraising and helping those in need. Members decide on a local basis which causes and charities to support and how to best meet the needs of their communities. Visit www.uct.org to learn more.