Brotherhood Dinner honors men for service to community

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Keynote Speaker Wayne Motts,Ray Keyes Sports Award recipient Steve Wiser and Pickelner Brotherhood Citation Award recipients; Fred Holland and Spencer Sweeting, from left to right, at the 61st annual Brotherhood Banquet at the Genetti Hotel in the city on Thursday evening.

The recipients of Lycoming County Brotherhood Alliance awards embrace a passion for civic duty, giving and leadership.

At Thursday’s 61st annual banquet, the three men left no doubt that they each deserved to be honored.

Fred Holland and Spencer Sweeting received the Brotherhood Citation Awards and Steve Wiser earned the Ray Keyes Sports Award.

Long-time area radio personality Ken Sawyer, who served as master of ceremonies, perhaps summed up what it means to be honored by the Lycoming County Brotherhood: “We honor people who put dreams to actions.”

Each of the honorees are active volunteers in the community.

Sweeting, pastor of City Alliance Church, called himself a “product of a lot of people showing up in my life.”

He acknowledged the mentors, counselors and coaches who were there for him and inspired him to community service.

“It’s our time to step up,” he told the audience at the Genetti Hotel ballroom.

The world, he said, longs for people to rise up and be good neighbors.

Holland, a city attorney, urged everyone to listen to the voices that inspire us to be better people.

He said William Penn, founder of the Pennsylvania Colony and the leader of the Quaker religious community in the 17th century, was a man willing to reach out to the Native Americans when others were reluctant.

“His feeling was to deal with them justly and fairly,” he said.

Sawyer said he always perceived Holland as a quiet man with a smile, but also noted his active participation in so many organizations.

Wiser said he was accepting his award on behalf of so many people.

“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that was very giving,” he said.

He recalled his mother feeding the hoboes outside his home.

Wiser, a retired Williamsport Area School District social studies teacher and long-time defensive coordinator for the Lycoming College Warriors football team, said he was fortunate enough to have held those positions.

He said he has told his students and players “find something that makes you want to pop out of bed in the morning.”

But as much as he loves teaching and coaching, he said there is nothing better than helping people.

The keynote speaker was Wayne E. Motts, an historian and Gettysburg Battlefield guide, who shared stories of courage and compassion from the Civil War.

Among the stories was that of William C. Lilly, a Union soldier mortally wounded in battle, who gave comfort to a wounded Confederate soldier.

The Civil War, Motts said, was filled with stories of soldiers reaching out to not only friends but enemies and under the dire circumstances of war.

“There are lessons here from 150 years ago,” he said.