The City of Westlake awarded certificates to over seventy volunteers at a special ceremony on Thursday evening 18 April 2013 in Council Chambers at Westlake’s City Hall. Among those honored guests was four year-old Anna Lassen who participated in a food drive for the City’s food bank as well as those who have served as auxiliary police, magistrates, commissioners, advisory board members and in a variety of other ways to provide much-needed service to the city of Westlake and its residents.
During the recognition event, nine volunteers received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in our communities. This award program is a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
Among those honored was Westlake High School senior David Lubrant who has volunteered in food drives and food basket distributions since the age of six. He received President Obama’s bronze award. Jimmy Lee received the gold award. Jimmy is being saluted for his many years of contributions to the Westlake Food Bank, his efforts with Westlake students and as a founding organizer of Relay for Life in Westlake. Also receiving the gold award was Dorothy Titera, recognizing her hours/weeks/months of volunteer service to the residents and extended families of sister city, Tralee, Ireland on behalf of the City of Westlake. These awards will be presented to the recipients at the recognition event as a surprise.
Lastly, a mayoral proclamation was presented to Dorothy Titera for her incredible work as a Family History Consultant in partnership with sister city, Tralee, Ireland. Like the Presidential Awards, this too was a surprise. Some of the proclamation language included the following:
Dorothy is the wife of Bill Titera and a Westlake resident for eight years.
Dorothy Titera is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and serves as both a Family History Consultant and is the Cleveland Ohio Stake Indexing Director in their Family History Centers, including Westlake’s. Open to the general public, she has assisted countless individuals and families over many years in their search for their ancestors.
Dorothy served in this volunteer role at two City of Westlake Bicentennial programs in 2011, entitled “Westlake is 200 Years Old…How Old is Your Family?” The first event was attended by Tralee, Ireland Mayor Grace O’Donnell and Tralee, Ireland Development Officer John Griffin. From this chance meeting, John Griffin told the story of a baby, Nicholas Johnston Ryle (Reilly), born aboard the famine ship Jeanie Johnston on its maiden voyage from Tralee to Quebec in April 1848; Quebec was the gateway to North America for thousands of Irish emigrants fleeing the potato famine. In 2003 a replica of the ship was completed in Tralee and sailed to the United States and Canada but Tralee officials were unable to find descendants of Nicholas—searching for more than fifteen years. That’s when Development Officer John Griffin found Tralee’s sister city of Westlake’s bicentennial event and solicited help from Dorothy Titera.
Dorothy searched for descendants online, on the phone, in letter correspondence and in person at far-away locations. She was able to find the last living direct descendant, Miss O’Reilly, in California.
Dorothy procured certified copies of vital records for the Irish Government Consulate to confirm the relationship and gladly shared this information with Tralee officials, O’Reilly family members, including many great-grandchildren as well as an eastern US author who was including Tralee, Ireland in her new book.
Dorothy is responsible for connecting long-lost Reilly/O’Reilly family members in North America while providing proof and lineage to Westlake’s sister city of Tralee, Ireland the long-awaited family history of the descendants of one Nicholas Johnston Ryle (Reilly). As all of Ireland celebrates The Gathering Ireland 2013, Tralee will spotlight Nicholas and his prodigy as well as Dorothy Titera during the Rose of Tralee week-long event this summer as well as other possible gatherings in Tralee and County Kerry.
The Honorable Johnnie Wall, mayor of Tralee, Ireland personally enrolled Dorothy as one of three first members of the newly established organization, The Friends of Tralee at the conclusion of this volunteer recognition event.