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friends of father baker reception honorees

Ronald E. Thaler - Service to Youth Award Honoree:

Ron began his life-long service to youth as a teacher at the former Diocesan Education Campus (DEC) in 1970.  It was apparent from the start that Ron was able to connect with young people in ways that acknowledged their talents and gifts, empowered them to get involved, and fostered a commitment to faith that would stretch across generations.  After his time at DEC, Ron worked at St. Nicholas Parish and initiated many programs and activities include gospel dramatizations, gesture groups, and Passion Plays that would continue to the present day.  In 1979, Ron became the Pastoral Associate for Our Lady of Loretto; a role he would continue through their reorganization into Our Lady of Hope Parish.  What is even more remarkable is the fact that Ron has accomplished this in one of the most multi-cultural parish communities in the diocese.

Next year will mark 40 years of service to the Catholic faith community in the Westside of Buffalo for Ron.  Ron’s service to youth and their families reaches across and encompasses ethnic and cultural diversity to create unity and community.  He works tirelessly to ensure that youth representatives attend every Christian Leadership Institute.  Throughout all of Ron’s service and dedication he has graciously gone about his labor of love, not seeking fanfare, or the spotlight.  His joy comes from seeing others grow in their faith, succeed in life, and continue his efforts in their own faith communities.




Douglas Coleman - Youth Service Award Honoree:


Douglas is a 2018 graduate of St. Francis High School who has served in student government and competed on the swim and chess teams.  Douglas was also a proud member of the National Honor Society.  Not only was Douglas involved in his school community, he also lent his time by volunteering with St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy through the St. Francis’ Franciscan Youth Ministry, 716 Ministries, and Habitat for Humanity, in addition to teaching Sunday school at his parish.


Douglas is an incoming freshman at D’Youville College and aspires to be a Physical Therapist.