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Category Archives: Mom of the Month
By Maureen Leader, Special Features Writer
“I just don’t know what Buchanan Elementary School is going to do without her next year!”
Those are the words of Kathi Twiford Graham about her friend, Peggy Mast Ziegler, in her Mom of the Month nomination for her. “She’s often up until the wee hours of the night putting the finishing touches on some project or another. Puts most of us other moms to shame with the level of detail, effort and quality of stuff she is able to produce!”
Ziegler and her husband, Jack, live in Lancaster and have been married for seventeen years. They are parents of ten-year-old triplets, Emma, Sophie and Jack. The Zieglets, as they are lovingly known, will soon graduate Buchanan and
start Wheatland Middle School in September.
Ziegler is a stay-at-home mom and, in addition to everything that means for triplets and a husband, she volunteers a lot at Buchanan. A Lot. She’s PTO co-president and a Literacy Corps volunteer. She also helps students with math and teachers with classroom projects. But she also does things like create special scrapbooks and photo albums as thank you gifts for coaches and bus drivers. She’s even sneaked little good luck charms on desks for all the students before a big test. But one of the biggest things she does is organize Buchanan’s “Back to School Fair” at Hamilton Park. According to Graham, for the past four years Mast
has done this “almost single-handedly.”
Graham explains, “It’s so professional, most people would never know it’s a city elementary school event. Pretzel rolling with Auntie Anne’s, ice cream from Turkey Hill–complete with a large cow in the middle of the park–karaoke with the Hershey Kiss Mobile, paint your own pumpkins, pony rides, dunk tank, cake walks, face painting, inflatables … she does it all!”
By Maureen Leader, Special Features Writer
Here come the B.E. Girls! Here come the B.E. Girls!
That’s what March Mom of the Month, Tynisha Robinson, hears every time she goes shopping with her friend up and down Lincoln Highway East in Lancaster. The two are long time servers at Bob Evan’s Restaurant there and that is what B.E. stands for.
Robinson is the mother of eight children: Aliesha, 21; Aaron, 18; Angel, 17; Akia, 15; Ante, 12; Ashawn, 9; Ajah, 5; Ahnest 4. She is also raising her cousin, Lauren Powell, age 18.
Robinson is popular in the stores along Lincoln Highway because she is there four to five
evenings a week. No, she’s not a shopaholic. And, no, she’s not a hoarder. She’s not out to get the latest fashions. She’s scouring the sales racks looking for good buys to purchase for those less fortunate than herself.
Robinson is not a wealthy woman–far from it. But she spends almost all of her free time and money shopping for inexpensive items and food to help her neighbors along Ann Street in Lancaster. “I love Ross Dress For Less, I love Target and I live at Goodwill,” she says.
By Maureen Leader, Special Features Writer
It’s great to be able to fulfill all of your passions in life. For many women being able to add the passion of motherhood to our professional lives makes our lives so much richer. Mom of the Month Sarah Diiorio has done this, and she makes it seem so easy. Four children, a husband and a fulltime job … and she manages it all successfully.
Diiorio and her husband, Wes, are parents to: Eilis, 6; Liam, 4; Elena, 2; and Isabella, 9 months. Since 1999 she’s been a full-time high school English literature teacher at Hempfield High School.
For as long as Diirorio can remember, she has always wanted to be a teacher. She said as a child she used to pretend she was one. “Plus,” she added, “I was the oldest child and tended to be a bit bossy!” Diirio always loved to read, and she also knew her life as a teacher would involve that.
Holly Cummings remembers it like it was yesterday. She was about 20 years old and her boyfriend, Rob Cummings, was getting ready to go to basic training for two weeks. The two met at Lancaster General Hospital Nursing School and had been dating for about a year. They were very close. It was the first time the two were separated, and Holly didn’t know how she would survive. She curled up in a little ball and cried her eyes out for those two weeks.
Looking back, Holly can say those horrible two weeks early in their relationship were just a tiny hint of what was to come later during their marriage.
Rob and Holly married the next year and today, almost 15 years later, have five children: Gabrielle, 12; Max, 11; Addison, 5; Bethany, 3; and Juliette, 17 months.
During his time in the military, Rob has been away a total of about seven years over their 15-year marriage. And though as of last May he has retired and is home permanently, it is not easy. Rob suffered a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq.
He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Additionally, some of the Cummings children have recently been diagnosed with special needs. As Holly puts it, “It’s been a wild ride.”
Emily Mankin is a busy lady. She is the mother of three children: Grant, 18; Evan, 16; and Emily, 7. She is an eighth grade geometry teacher at Swift Middle School in the Solanco School District. Mankin is involved with her family, her job, her church and her community. But she’s not overwhelmed with all her responsibilities. As she puts it, “It’s all OK—It’s all stuff that I love!”
Mankin was born and raised in Solanco and still lives and works there. She met her husband, Mike, in the second grade. She admits she had a crush on him through her growing up years, but the two didn’t officially become a couple until they started dating while attending Shippensburg University. The two got married while she was finishing her college education at Millersville University.
Mankin originally majored in business, though everyone told her she should major in education. Her grandmother was a teacher, and her friends and family saw similar qualities in Mankin. Maybe for a time Mankin was rebelling, but by sophomore year Mankin did come around and pursued education. She remembers it as one of the best decisions she’s ever made.
“The good Lord never gives us too much to bear … but this is enough!”
These are the words of Mom of the Month, Emma Potter. And though she chuckles when she says them, she says them with sincerity.
Seventy-five-year-old Potter is raising her three grandsons: Michael, 16, Robert, 12, and Ryan, 11. In 2009 her son, Robert Potter, the boys’ father, tragically died following a domestic dispute with their mother. Their mother was charged with homicide and is now in jail.
Emma Potter, without any hesitation, took all three boys into her home. Potter remembers, “I really didn’t know what was going to happen with the boys, and I just wanted to make sure they were OK … especially Michael, who witnessed it. I was 70 years old, and I just took them in. I didn’t want them to be separated.”
At the time of her son’s death, Potter was at a point in her life where she was winding down. She had already raised her own four children: George, Robert, Kathryn and Susan.
Robert was not the first child Potter lost. In 2002, daughter Susan passed away from cancer. Potter was widowed in 1995, and she was on her own. When her own children were young, Potter was a stay-at-home mother. As they got a little older, Potter worked at Sears and stayed there for 23 years. When she retired from Sears, she worked part time at Weis Market in Bridgeport. She jokes that she has now returned to Weis, but only to keep buying food for the three growing boys.
By Maureen Leader
Special Features Writer
You would think any mother of young twins would have plenty of opportunity to get exercise. And Mom of the Month Jennifer Kauffman certainly does while chasing her twin four-year-old son and daughter, Cole and Lexie. But it was having the twins that motivated and pushed Kauffman to add even more activities to her already busy life of a stay-at-home mom. And she also found a new career.
Kauffman lives in Neffsville with her husband, Kenneth and their twins. They say they never thought they would have twins, even though twins run in both their families. But for some reason, Kauffman remembers referring to her growing tummy as “they.” At a 12-week examination, the two heart beats were heard.
Kauffman admits pregnancy and the first year of the twins’ life was challenging. She suffered with preeclampsia before their birth and then afterwards, with the babies, there was colic, acid reflux, allergies and other ailments.
You might say that Mom of the Month, Amanda Nesbitt, has spent most of her life in training.
Nesbitt is a member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard and started basic training in high school. After graduation she moved on to advanced individual training and became a radio operator. Nesbitt was deployed to Afghanistan at the age of 19 and afterwards decided to begin training as a helicopter pilot. Right now she flies a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and trains about once a month flying out of Fort Indian Town Gap.
Nesbitt also volunteers her time at the Training Loft in Mountville, helping girls in sports training. And she volunteers to help train girls for Girls on the Run—an educational and motivational running-based program for girls. Nesbitt, herself, is an accomplished cross country runner and often trains for marathons and other competitive runs.
But probably the most important training Nesbitt has ever received is the training she went through before becoming a mother. Nesbitt and her husband, Drew, are parents of a four-month-old son, Dathan. But before he was born, the Nesbitts had the opportunity to get training as parents.
Heather Meaney, Mom of the Month, will never take for granted the wonderful friends and family she has in her life. She knows firsthand the value of good people, who will always watch your back and help you become the best you can be. “I’m a better mother because of the mothers I know,” she said.
Meaney is the mother of 11-year-old Rachel. When Rachel was just four years old, her father passed away suddenly. Meaney’s world was shattered, and she was lost. But because of her family, especially her mother, her best friend, the moms at her daughter’s school, and, yes, lots and lots of therapy, she was able to pull herself back up. “It pushed me to build a better life,” she said. “I had to step up to be a better mom, to be a better person.”
“For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.” — Luke 12:48
After talking to Maryanne Cullen for a while about her life, one is tempted to ask, “Honey, when do you SLEEP?”
But Cullen has lived her life under one simple philosophy: “To whom much is given, much is expected.”
And Cullen has been given much in her 58 years. She is the mother of nine children: Patrick, 33; Martha, 32; Bridget, 31; Bernadette, 29; Theresa, 27; Michael, 25; Joan, 21; Brian, 18; and Francis, 14. She also has three grandsons.