Y to Honor Neighbor at Salute to Courage event

July 24, 2012

NEW CASTLE, Pa., July 24, 2012 – Chris Niles, a Hickory Twp. man who is recovering from a spinal cord injury, will be honored on Sept.27 at the New Castle Community YMCA’s annual Salute to Courage dinner. The event is open to the public and will be held at the Villa Banquet Center.  A reception begins at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner and program at 6 p.m. Tickets for the event are $65/person or $550/table of 10, and may be purchased at the YMCA Downtown.  Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available, and interested businesses may contact Bill Lutz, 724.658.4766, for information.

 About the Award

The Salute to Courage award is given annually to a neighbor in our community who has demonstrated great courage in recovery from an accident, injury or illness, in living with a disability or through an act of heroism.

Salute to Courage event coordinator, Lynise Massella, said, “The event committee feels Chris Niles has shown great courage throughout his accident and rehabilitation. We are happy to honor him in this way and hope others will be inspired by contagious zest for life.”

About the Recipient

About 16 months ago, Chris Niles did what any dad would do. In an attempt to keep his sons safe from a dead tree limb, Chris found himself trapped under it while cutting it down. The accident left him paralyzed from the chest down.

According to friend and former co-worker Melissa Colaluca, who nominated him for the award, “Chris is so positive in many ways. At work, he was always making everyone smile and his humor was unlike anyone’s. He never put anyone down or did anything to hurt the feelings of people, yet he always had us laughing basically at ourselves.”

Colaluca said, “I can’t think of anyone who has had a life-changing accident and remained the same personality wise.” Colaluca recalls Chris joking with her about his accident just three weeks after and she is inspired by his determination to regain his life back.

Chris’s mother, Kathy Howley, explains “Chris has been an active participant in his recovery. He has been to Panama three times for stem cell therapy, receiving injections from his own stem cells harvested from his bone marrow. He participates in intensive physical therapy three times a week. He continues to try and live life as normal as possible.”

Chris returns to Panama this week for another round of stem cell therapy. You can learn more about this courageous neighbor at the Y’s Salute to Courage dinner on Sept. 27. 

We help families learn, grow and thrive

Event proceeds benefit the Y’s Youth Scholarship program, which will provide our life-changing programs and memberships to over 1000 youth, adults and families in 2012-2013. The Y counts on the generosity of our members and partners to keep our doors open to whoever needs a place to go to help them be more healthy, confident, connected and secure.  No young person is ever turned away from the Y because of inability to pay for a membership or program.

About the Y

At the Y, we strengthen our community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. We engage 6,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the county’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Rooted in the Lawrence County community for 145 years, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. Learn more at www.ncymca.org.