May 03, 2016
The Washington County Community Foundation (WCCF) is pleased to announce that it has selected Traci McDonald to receive its annual Louis E. Waller Humanitarian Award. The award recognizes a local individual or organization devoted to the promotion of human welfare or the advancement of social reform as evidenced by humanitarian deeds in the community, whether local, national, or international.
“Both in her career and in her free time, Traci McDonald has been focused on helping some of the most fragile members of our community find the strength they need to move forward. The care, compassion, and support she has extended to those in need is laudable and truly worthy of recognition,” stated Deborah Takach, WCCF Chairman.
“I had such respect for Lou Waller. Our families were close, and I grew up with him as a mentor…In fact, I started my involvement in the community because of Lou,” McDonald remarked. “What a blessing and an honor to be recognized with an award in his name.”
For 15 years, McDonald was an Assistant District Attorney who served as the head of the Domestic, Sex Crimes, and Child Abuse Unit of the Washington County DA’s Office. After noticing gaps in the process and needs that weren’t being addressed, she took action. Just one example is her effort to rally support from local service organizations such as the Zonta Club and the Women of Philanthropy to collect jogging suits and care packages for rape victims who have surrendered their clothing as evidence for law enforcement.
But more often than not, McDonald spent her days as an ADA working hard to build a trusting relationship with victims, many of whom had never experienced the support she offered. It would be impossible to determine how many victims, or future victims, her work in the DA’s office has impacted. “I gave my all while I was there – blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul . . . If I helped one person, that’s enough.”
That same level of commitment extends to McDonald’s charitable activities, which have benefitted organizations such as the ABCDE Scholarship Fund, Jameson’s Army, Village of FPC, Pathways, Literacy Council of Southwest PA, Community Action Southwest, United Way, Washington Health System, and the WCCF.
"My mother was a big inspiration for me in teaching care and compassion for others by example . . . I have a passion for helping the most innocent of our world. Children are our future.”
The Louis E. Waller Humanitarian Award will be presented to McDonald at the WCCF’s annual Legacy Luncheon on Friday, May 20. In her honor, the Foundation approved a $1,000 unrestricted grant to Jameson’s Army, a local charity that raises awareness and funding for children affected by congenital heart defects.
For more information about the Community Foundation, please visit www.wccf.net.