(EDITOR'S NOTE: Today the Sun-Gazette continues its second annual Person of the Year series. Each day will shine a spotlight on each of six finalists. On Monday the Sun-Gazette will name its 2012 Person of the Year.)
Donna Bastian long has been affiliated with Leadership Lycoming, the local organization dedicated to community involvement and service.
She can remember how it all got started 25 years ago and how it grew over that time.
Mostly, she takes pride in the fact that so many Leadership Lycoming graduates have gone on to volunteer their time in so many other organizations.
Bastian, of Montoursville, earlier this year received the first Leadership Lycoming Community and Service Award, named in her honor.
But it's not in her character to boast about any of her accomplishments.
She'd rather talk about the positive experiences she's gained from Leadership Lycoming, the good it does and the many people she's met through the organization.
"It's been fun," she said. "I have a lot of good friends as a result of it."
Bastian, a married mother of three, got started on her path to voluntarism and community involvement early on.
The Michigan native moved to Williamsport in the early 1970s after graduating from Wittenberg College in Ohio.
Her affiliation with groups such as the Junior League led her some years later to be on the ground floor of Leadership Lycoming.
She remembered Don Creamer, who later served as president and CEO of Susquehanna Health System, as among those who helped start the group.
In launching the organization, it was decided it would stress leadership development, make use of local resources to support it, expose members to the community, and turn over to graduates oversight of the program.
Bastian, a former Loyalsock Area School District teacher, was a member of the first Lycoming Leadership class in 1987.
"I went through that first class and it just became a passion," she said. "I saw people get involved in the United Way and other groups."
But her ties to the group did not stop there.
She later served on the board of directors and over the years became a big part of the organization.
When Williamsport/ Lycoming Chamber of Commerce President Vince Matteo arrived in the community 11 years ago, he became aware of the work Bastian was doing with Leadership Lycoming.
"You mention Leadership Lycoming and Donna is one of the first names you hear," he said. "She's given her heart and soul to it."
Leadership Lycoming program coordinator Sharon Jones said Bastian has simply been a valuable part of the organization.
"If you need someone on a committee, she is always willing to help out," she said.
Jones said Bastian brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.
But she's not one to bask in the glow of her good works.
"She leads by example," Matteo said. "She's humble. She really is."
Added Jones, "And she doesn't ask for anything."
Over the years Bastian has served in a number of other organizations.
She served as chairwoman of the Red Cross and Hope Enterprises.
In addition, she was an officer in the Susquehanna Health Foundation and part of the Project 2012 campaign.
Bastian said Leadership Lycoming has proven to be a rich and fulfilling experience.
She relishes the idea that many of the more than 600 graduates of the program have gone on to lead and be involved in other service organizations.
Matteo said that's the magic of the program: Leadership Lycoming people getting each other involved.
"That is very rewarding," Bastian said.