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Two Plains residents receive Bishop Gartland Service Awards

SAVANNAH — Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer bestowed the Bishop Gartland Service Award on 79 volunteers from throughout South Georgia at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Savannah on Sunday, Nov. 25.
Salvador Rodriguez and Bonnie Mallard, both members of St. Mary Church in Americus, received the award.
The Bishop Francis X. Gartland Service Award recognizes long-standing service to the Catholic Church, and the recipients are nominated by their pastors. Bishop Gartland was the first bishop of the Diocese of Savanah, serving from 1850 to 1854 when he contracted yellow fever and died.
Fr. Samuel Aniekwe, pastor of St. Mary’s, said:
“Sal, along with his wife Bonnie, significantly gives of his time, talent and treasure in ministry to the Hispanic community in St. Mary in Americus. Sal has helped Hispanic parishioners who are sick and/or hospitalized with transportation and language translation, between the patient and healthcare professionals. Sal is always willing to serve when needed. Because of his humility, few realize the magnitude of his service. Bonnie has provided transportation and accompaniment for doctors’ visits and medical emergencies. She visits parishioners during hospital stays and patiently accompanies their families during unsettling times. She has hosted intra-cultural gatherings in her home, including posadas during Advent.”