Pride is Made by Our Community 365 Days a Year

Pride Stars: The volunteers who make us proud all year round

QBurgh introduced the Pride Star Awards for Pride 2022 to celebrate the volunteers and community members that help make all of our organizations possible. The Pride Star Award is designed to acknowledge the many valuable contributions being made by our volunteers in our local community who receive no or little compensation for their hard work and dedication. The award is also meant to increase awareness of the importance of volunteering, especially in the LGBTQ communities. The Pride Stars were chosen by their own organizations.

Thank you to all of our community volunteers!

Rick Allison

for OUTrageous Bingo

Rick Allison. Photo by Mara Rago.

Rick Allison was awarded for his work on OUTrageous Bingo. Rick has been the force behind and the face of OUTrageous Bingo for 25 years. His efforts have produced critical funds for the Shepherd Wellness Community and the Pittsburgh Equality Center, (fka GLCC Pittsburgh). In addition to being the prior caller for the games, Rick does many tasks behind the scenes to make each bingo a success.

The next OUTrageous Bingo is tonight! Get your tickets here!

Nathan Grijalva

for Gay for Good Pittsburgh

Nathan Grijalva. Photo by Mara Rago.

Nathan was awarded for his volunteer work with Gay for Good Pittsburgh. Nathan Grijalva is a business intelligence developer for UPMC. He is originally from Augusta, GA, but has been in Pittsburgh since 2010 and has volunteered with G4G since 2012. Nathan says he volunteers to take his mind off of his own concerns and that giving back to his community is something he finds incredibly rewarding.

“It’s one thing to live in a community but it’s a totally different thing to directly contribute to that community. We do a lot of revitalization projects throughout the city and it’s such a pleasure to see the tangible impact we have.”  Nathan also enjoys what he gets back from volunteering.

“Coming from rural GA, I never felt like I was truly part of a community before and G4G really has given me that. Pittsburgh has become home for me and I look forward to continuing giving back.”

Terry Hudon

for Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation

Terry Hudon. Photo by Mara Rago.

Terry Hudon was awarded by the Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation for traveling over 6,500 miles delivering food for Hugh’s Kitchen. Terry is a Vietnam Navy Veteran. Terry comes from a family of volunteers. “My mother and sister were very active. My mother always said, ‘you get back what you give out’, and that is what drives me to give my time to others. When people say they don’t know what they would do without food from Hugh Lane, it really makes it all worth it. All I have to do is give a little of my time and it makes such an impact, and makes me more thankful for the life I have.”

Terry can also be found at Hugh Lane in-person events like the Pride Family Picnic, Fall Fest, and Winter Wonderland activities helping out with setup or just hanging out with friends from the community.

Matthew Kramar

for Steel City Volleyball

Matthew Kramar. Photo by Mara Rago.

Matthew says that he didn’t choose Steel City Volleyball, but that SCVL chose him. “Since moving to Pittsburgh almost ten years ago, SCVL has been one of the few constants for me. Right after I moved, a colleague and member of SCVL brought me along to experience the league, and I was ready to sign up immediately because I saw the unique environment SCVL promotes. Volleyball has been a big part of my existence since high school, and this league welcomed me very quickly at a time when I was new to the city and didn’t know many people at all.”

Matthew says volunteering at Steel City Volleyball has enriched his life. “Seeing players smiling and having a good time week-to-week each Sunday is the pinnacle of my weekend. SCVL formed during a time in Pittsburgh’s history when the LGBTQIA+ community was marginalized and excluded and had limited safe spaces to be themselves. It’s so important to remember that the league would not be what it is today without the strength and drive of all the hard-working volunteers over the years that have shaped SCVL into what it has become today. Volunteering as a Board member feels so fulfilling even after 9 years!”

Nick Smerker

for Reel Q

Nick Smerker was awarded for volunteering with Reel Q for over 4 years. They said, “The festival would not be the same without Nick’s steady quidance.” Nick has been living in Pittsburgh for the last nine years and works in higher education. He supports students creating short documentaries, PSAs, and podcasts. He volunteers because he likes to keep busy and share his skills with others.

“I’m fascinated by storytelling, particularly from lesser-known communities, and am drawn to the international short films that Reel Q brings to our local queer community as well as all of the other programming throughout the year. Working with Reel Q has given me an opportunity to screen so many fascinating films, help to shape festival programs, and to publicize film screenings and other community opportunities via the website. It’s rewarding work and I enjoy doing it.”

Thank you to all of the Pride Star winners for your hard work, commitment, and dedication to the LGBTQ+ Community. We see you, we appreciate you, and we honor you!

Nominations for the 2023 Pride Stars will open in February 2023 and will be open to any LGBTQ+ nonprofit, charity, group, or sports league in the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania region to select one volunteer to be recognized.

Chrissy Costa is a local comedian known for her dry wit, satirical style of comedy, and big earrings. Before doing stand-up she studied sketch comedy at Chicago’s famed Second City. You can follow her on Instragram and Facebook. (She / Her / Hers)