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Student earns honors for humanitarian service

Date: 2/10/2010

Feb. 10, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- West Side native Charline Pysher's outstanding dedication to human service has put this sophomore in a place of honor at Elms College.

Pysher is the first recipient of the Bishop Joseph F. Maguire Award, established by the Western Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association in commemoration of his 20-year service as their chaplain. The award honors one outstanding student for his or her contribution to the community or campus ministry programs -- traits ingrained in Pysher and illustrated by her numerous humanitarian service projects.

"I was definitely humbled because Bishop Maguire has led an extraordinary life through his kindness through the wonderful treatment of people," Pysher told Reminder Publications of earning the award.

Pysher received the commendation along with a scholarship to help pay for her studies at Elms. She's majoring in nursing with a 3.97 grade point average and has thus far completed three humanitarian service missions during her short time at the college.

Pysher was nominated by Sister Carol Allan, director of Campus Ministries, for her work with service missions to West Virginia and Honduras as well as the Dorothy Day Program in conjunction with the Sisters of Saint Joseph Ministry.

"It has definitely been an eye-opening experience," Pysher said of her time in West Virginia and Honduras. "I learned more about my values and simple things are often overlooked. I learned a lot about myself and what I believe in. I learned compassion for others and the desperate situations that they were in.

"I definitely learned it was harder than I thought it would be," she continued." You can't imagine the situations that people are in. You can't imagine that people are begging for food when you can eat dinner with your friends."

Pysher helped distribute food and clothing to those in need throughout her 10-day stay in West Virginia. She worked alongside other international volunteers to build a community center during her time in Honduras.

"The big thing with that group is walking with people and learning about them and their needs," she recalled.

Pysher said she has been most surprised by the people she's helped throughout each service project. "They're in difficult economic times and family situations but they always know how to be compassionate and how to show you true love and happiness," she added.

Pysher will continue her studies at Elms College in conjunction with her participation in local and international human service projects, including a mission to Jamaica next month.