By Steve Svetovich
Jeannie Kreis McDonald is a lifelong Dunmorean who enjoys giving back to the community.
Married for 16 years to Kevin McDonald, the former director of building and grounds for Dunmore School District, both she and her husband are community activists.
Her husband, now retired, continues with his volunteer work for “Citizens Regarding the Environment.”
Daughter of the late Robert and Marie Kreis, Jeannie has been employed at Lockheed Martin, Archbald, for the past 35 years. She is a senior program planner and hopes to retire August 1.
She is a 1978 Dunmore High School graduate and went on to receive a bachelor of science degree in public relations with a minor in business from Mansfield University in 1982.
Her husband, a 1968 Dunmore graduate, received his bachelor of science degree 10 years after Jeannie did.
“Same schools, but 10 years apart,” she said. “I had a crush on him, so I hired him as a handyman. It worked. We have been in love ever since. We dated for 12 years and now have been married 16 years. So it’s a success story.”
Jeannie has been a volunteer for over two decades at Saint Joseph’s Center, where she has been a member of Saint Joseph’s Auxiliary for over 20 years.
“Right now I am organizing the massive sidewalk sale to be held at the DeNaples Center Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to noon,” she said.
The DeNaples Center, 320 South Blakely St., Dunmore, is located at the spot of the former Riccardo’s Market.
“We raise over $10,000 every year from this event for programs at Saint Joseph’s Center. We collect merchandise at the DeNaples Center all year for this fund-raising event. We have a whole team of volunteers who collect books, household items, small pieces of furniture, jewelry, tools, and sporting goods, among other items.”
Jeannie and her group of volunteers are accepting donations at the DeNaples Center every Saturday from April 1 to May 6, from 9 a.m. to noon, and every Wednesday, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Jeannie, who has a bubbly and positive demeanor, is also heavily involved in Saint Joseph’s biggest fund-raiser, the annual picnic held the final weekend of July at Marywood University.
“We have a team of volunteers for that event too,” she said.
The lifelong Dunmorean said she hopes to do more volunteer work after she retires late this summer.
She is also involved with the annual “Giving Tree” held during the Christmas season at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Dunmore.
“We do a ‘Giving Tree’ in which our church members donate gifts for parishioners who are homebound or in nursing homes. The church members wrap the gifts and transport them while also visiting with the homebound and nursing home parishioners. It’s really nice.”
Jeannie and her husband have no children, but are immensely proud of and devoted to their 40 nieces and nephews. “We are very proud of all of their many accomplishments,” she said.
Jeannie also ran her first half marathon at 53 and is currently training for her 16th half marathon to be held in Scranton.
Besides the running and volunteer work, Jeannie, humble in nature, comes from a family of educators.
Her late grandparents, Albert and Helen Kreis, owned Kreis Jewelry and Appliances, Dunmore, for over 75 years. The couple lived into their mid to late 90’s and were married close to 75 years. Jeannie’s late dad worked in the family business.
Her grandmother was a school teacher at Dunmore and a graduate of West Chester Teacher’s College, a rare feat for a woman a century ago.
Jeannie was raised with three brothers, Tim, Joe and Mike, and a sister Kathy. Mike died at age 31 due to juvenile diabetes in 1999. Her sister Kathy is a retired special education teacher.
Her brother-in-law, Joe McDonald, is former principal at Dunmore High School.
Jeannie’s late maternal grandmother was Catherine Egan Buckley, Dunmore. Her grandmother’s brother and sister were both teachers at Dunmore.
“My main focus right now is on the upcoming sidewalk sale at the DeNaples Center,” she said. “Our team of Saint Joseph’s Center volunteers are working hard to make it a big success. After I retire, I am looking forward to putting even more time into these efforts.
“It is very gratifying to help give back to the community. I have been very fortunate in my life.”