Hamburg native selected for Thun Award

Thomas Work recieves the Thun Award for a lifetime of community service and philanthropy on April 8.

C. Thomas Work, shareholder of Stevens & Lee P.C., was honored for a lifetime of civic service in Berks County in April at a private award ceremony at the Berkshire Country Club. Work, a Hamburg native, is the 2013 recipient of the Thun Award.

“I am deeply humbled by the community’s generosity, and my humility grew as I learned the names of past recipients and the many ways in which the Berks County Foundation, in partnership with Fulton Bank, honors Thun Award recipients,” said Work.

The Thun Award was created in 1988 to honor brothers Louis R. and Ferdinand K. Thun, who were Wyomissing industrialists and philanthropists. The award is presented to a Berks County resident who has made significant contributions of civic service, and who exhibits an enduring sense of commitment to the community.

In 1996, Berks County Community Foundation established the Thun Award Fund from which the award winner awards a $5,000 cash grant to a charitable organization of his or her choice. Work chose Reading Musical Foundation and the grant will be used for a new program that will provide piano lessons to elementary school students in financial need.

“I was advised in mid-December that I had been selected to receive the 2013 Thun Award and told a month later that the award included the right to designate the recipient of a $5,000 charitable grant. It took me less than a minute to decide to establish a new program at the Reading Musical Foundation to provide piano lessons to young children in financial need. I would call the decision “delightful,” not just easy,” said Work when asked if the decision was an easy one.

Work graduated from Hamburg Area High School and attended Ithaca College where he studied music. He graduated first in class from Dickinson College of Pennsylvania with a bachelor of arts degree and major in psychology in 1974. Work received a Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law in 1977 and has been with Stevens & Lee since.

As part of many organizations including Reading Public Museum, Reading Symphony Orchestra, Berks County Estate Planning Council, honorary trustee and past president and chairman of the Reading Musical Foundation, and chairman of the Board of Directors of Reading Health System, Work credits his parents and upbringing for his passion for Berks County.

“It started with the best parents anyone might have had, Thomas B. and Katharine A. Work. While my every reasonable need as a child was provided for, I was aware at an early age that our family had very limited discretionary income. Nevertheless, my parents got me to private flute lessons every other week with a teacher in Lititz and prioritized sending me to summer music camp. As soon as I had some financial means beyond what my family needed, I burned to give back,” said Work.

Work also credits growing up in Hamburg for his work ethic. “Hamburg was a quiet, nurturing place in which to grow up,” he said. “The strong worth ethic of its people, primarily Pennsylvania German, and large industrial base set high standards for my integrity, reliability and tenacity.”

One of Work’s previous honors was being selected as the inaugural recipient of the Berks Arts Council’s Pagoda Award for Leadership and Commitment to the Arts in 2011. Work continues to give back through his leadership with the multiple organizations he is involved with and has a passion for the Berks County community.