Dunmorean of the Month: Jeannie Kreis McDonald

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.”

Doin’ Dunmore: Shrine of Sacred Heart restored thanks to Pat McMullen

By Steve Svetovich

Early last month the Dunmore community was in shock over vandalism to a statue of the Blessed Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The shrine is located on the campus of Marywood University and owned by the Sisters of I.H.M.

It can easily be seen while driving on Interstate-81. Located on the Dunmore side of the campus off I-81, borough residents were enraged that vandals would attempt to destroy the shrine.

Then local residents and volunteers came to the rescue.

Pat McMullen, 22, of Roaring Brook Township, in particular.

Son of Kristi Walsh and Patrick McMullen, the North Pocono graduate owns Electric City Power Washing, LLC.

He volunteered his time and utilized his skills to restore the statue and its foundation and remove all of the graffiti vandals inscribed on the shrine.

After about four or five hours of hard work, the young man was able to completely restore the shrine and remove all the graffiti. The statue was as good as new, even better.

“There was graffiti on both sides of the statue,” he said. “It was not easy to get off, but I have the power washing equipment to do it. The hardest part was getting all of the graffiti off because it soaks into the rock.

“I was able to power wash everything and clean up the statue and foundation.”

McMullen said it felt good to give back to the community.

“My dad called me to tell me about it,” he said. “He said it would be nice if I could clean it up.

“I immediately jumped at the opportunity to help out. I was honored to do it because the Sisters at I.H.M. do a lot for the community. I thought I could give back. I like giving back. The surrounding community has always been good to me.

“The Sisters of I.H.M. were very happy. I’ve received a lot of thanks from them and other people in the community. I must have received a thousand calls. I liked doing it. I think it’s terrible that it even happened. And the police still don’t know who did it.”

McMullen has owned and operated Electric City Power Washing, LLC, for the past year and a half. He also works for Standard Iron Works, a structural steel business owned by his mother and her two brothers in Scranton.

His dad used to run the former McMullen’s Restaurant and Bar in the Green Ridge section of Scranton. His grandfather, also Pat McMullen, was the owner of the popular establishment which was sold several years ago.

McMullen said he hopes to eventually expand his power washing business. “I wanted to own a business ever since I was in the eighth grade,” he said.

As far as his latest project, he says, “I wanted to make this religious shrine look nice. As it should be.”

Holy Cross forward Matt Lyons steadily improves his game

By Steve Svetovich

Holy Cross Crusaders sophomore basketball forward Matt Lyons has steadily improved his game this season.

At press time, he was a big factor in the Crusaders winning 15 of its first 20 games under veteran coach Al Callejas.

Son of Mark and Eileen Lyons, Matt has picked up on his scoring as the season progressed. He is often in double figures.

“I have been playing more inside,” he said. “I’ve been getting more rebounds and scoring more scrap points off the boards.”

The sophomore stalwart contributed 10 points in his team’s 51-50 win over Dunmore Friday, Feb. 10. Teammates Hayden Hosie and Gabe Gonzales scored 11 points each. Gonzales hit the winner for Holy Cross on a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left.

Matt, 16, has an impressive 3.9 academic average at Holy Cross. His favorite academic subject is history.

The sophomore scholar-athlete said he learned a lot from his parents.

“They teach me to stay humble and treat people with respect.”

Humble in nature, Matt was the recipient of the Presidential Service Award last year. The award goes to a student with at least 100 hours of community service.

Matt is also a member of the Holy Cross track and field team. He performs in all three jumping events and qualified for districts in the high jump.

He praised coach Callejas who was honored in a home court ceremony recently for his own personal fight with cancer. “He is beating it and that’s why they held the ceremony for him,” said Matt, “It was a nice tribute to  him. He continues to be at every practice and every game. He is doing well.

He teaches us to never give up. If you never give up, you can do anything.”

The talented sophomore made the Holy Cross varsity basketball team as a freshman, but suffered a fractured left wrist early on. He came back in time for the district playoffs. He is as strong as ever this season.

He talked about the success of the team this season. “It’s all about teamwork, trusting each other ,and finding the open man. We’ve been doing that. No one plays selfish on this team.”

He talked about future goals. “In basketball, we want to win district and state titles. Those are  the only goals. As far as academics, I want to continue to do my best and eventually decide what I will do after high school.”

Matt, whose favorite musical artist is Drake, is the grandson of late legendary Scranton Prep basketball coach Jack Farrell.

“I wish my grandfather was still living, so he could see me play. I know he would have loved seeing me on the court.”

Matt said he is enjoying his experience at Holy Cross High School. “It’s been a very good experience,” he said. “The school was very welcoming to me as a freshman. It’s carried over into my sophomore year.”