November 2012 Volunteer of the Month
Whether raising money through the Walk to Defeat ALS®, spending time as a Visiting Volunteer, spreading awareness as a Community Ambassador, or any other activity, everybody who volunteers their time and energy at the Greater Philadelphia Chapter shares the same goal: to create a more beautiful world without ALS. For Greg Telthorster, our November Volunteer of the Month, creating a more beautiful world comes naturally, and we are honored to benefit from his talents.
We know Greg because of his own personal journey of living with ALS, but he has been able to rally the community to his side because of the example he set over many years as a teacher, a volunteer, a friend, a husband, and a father. Through his art and his life, he has set an example for all of us to follow.
Many of our incredible volunteers specialize in one activity and focus their efforts on helping us succeed that way, but Greg Telthorster makes an impact all year round. He has been a fixture at the Walk to Defeat ALS® since 2007 and his team, Legs for Greg, was the largest fundraiser at the Bucks County Walk to Defeat ALS® from 2007-2009 and was the Walk Chair in 2008. He and his wife Marcia have also organized large teams for the ALS Express Bike Ride for Research since 2010 and he has participated in many Chapter related events.
As an artist, Greg says that he has had the privilege of having his artwork displayed in the annual ALS Association calendar, but the privilege belongs to the Chapter and all those who have enjoyed his art. He has also used his artistic talents to raise money for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter through the sales of notecards, reproductions, and original artwork. Many people have commented on the beautiful images that we have in our publications and we at the Chapter have Greg to thank for many of them.
Greg is quick to tell you that “it takes a village of incredible support, generosity, and encouragement from family, friends and colleagues to make this all happen,” but that village of support has rallied to his side because of his personality, his effort, and the kindness he’s given out through the years. After 30 years of teaching fine arts and graphic technology at Keith Valley Middle School in the Hatboro-Horsham School District, Greg’s colleagues, students, parents, and community have participated in several fundraising activities to support the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. In February of 2007, the Keith Valley Challenge (the largest on-going fundraising event of its kind by a middle school in America) raised nearly $26,000 for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter in Greg’s honor. Each year, students, staff and members of the community participate in the Keith Valley Fun Run to raise money to fight ALS. His colleagues and friends continue to support Legs for Greg in the Walk to Defeat ALS®.
As anyone who has organized a walk team knows, that support does not come passively. Greg has worked hard to make every effort a success, and through that work inspired others to be successful too. After all, that is what the best teachers do.
“All through my ongoing battle with ALS, I have felt truly blessed by the kindness and support of my family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and even total strangers,” said Greg. “Additionally, the support of the doctors, nurses, specialists, and support personnel at the ALS Association Clinic at Pennsylvania Hospital has been absolutely wonderful. Without their generous spirit and caring, I know that the difficulties and challenges that I face daily would be almost insurmountable. In this way, I know that I am truly fortunate.”
We are also truly fortunate for the memories that Greg has given us through his many activities with the Chapter. His generous spirit and caring have motivated staff, donors, volunteers, and others to do even more to help fight ALS.
When asked about his fondest memories with the Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Greg talks about his first walk at the Bucks County Walk to Defeat ALS®, which had over 100 people walking for Legs for Greg. “I was overwhelmed and truly touched by my students in their dedication and willingness to raise funds in my honor by participating in the Keith Valley Challenge,” said Greg. “In addition, the Legs for Greg Art Party and the annual “Kegs for Greg” parties have raised additional funds for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. Through these events and so many others, I have felt so much strong support for which I am very proud.”
One thing above all truly makes Greg proud. He’s participated in the Walk to Defeat ALS®, ALS Express, Hot Chocolate, and creating beautiful artwork to inspire others, but his proudest moment was this summer when he was there for his daughter as she got married.
“I am so proud of my daughter Becca and her work with the ALS Association. It makes a Daddy proud!”
Thank you to Greg Telthorster, our November Volunteer of the Month, for all that you have done in the fight against ALS and all that you continue to do to inspire us every day.