Garrity wins Altruism Award
For Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin it was nice to hear of young people doing community service for altruistic reasons – not because a judge ordered them to do it as part of their sentencing procedure.
"It's a refreshing thing to be with students who are doing well and have a bright future," said Martin, the guest of honor at the annual Altruism Awards ceremony where high school seniors from across Lehigh Valley were honored for performing altruistic acts in their schools or communities.
The students, who were nominated by their high schools, received $100 and other gifts from the Lehigh Valley Travelers Protective Association Post "L" at a ceremony April 11 in Northampton.
"I'm tired of going out in the middle of the night seeing 17- and 18-year olds dead," said Martin, who urged his young audience to be a good influence on their friends and to be aware of who they associate with. He said gangs are moving out from the city into the suburbs and that the drug culture is a big problem.
"Be better informed as to who your associates are," he said. "You are lucky to have strong, caring parents and teachers."
Martin briefly addressed the issue of violence in schools, saying only "isolated incidences" have taken place in local school districts.
"We haven't seen the level of [school] violence [compared to other areas]," said Martin."The interest and concerns resulting from Sandy Hook have waned to some degree," he said referring to the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
"There are not too many people in law enforcement who think gun control will end violence," said Martin. "The real answer is to do something about mental health.
"School safety is on all our minds," said Martin, "especially the educators here. I don't think anyone has a bromide or a solution."
Martin urged the 90 students, parents and educators attending the event to be vigilant, to report suspicious activity to law enforcement, teachers or to parents.