LEWISBURG — Samantha Pearson is hardly one to crave recognition.
She said she’s flattered but admits being not just a little embarrassed at having been named among The Daily Item’s People Who Made A Difference in 2017.
Pearson is involved with an exhaustive list of community-based initiatives. There’s the Lewisburg Neighborhoods Corporation where she works as a staff of one — its executive director and Elm Street Manager. There’s also the River Town Team and the Bull Run Greenway, Walk It! Bike It! Lewisburg and the Lewisburg Flood Impact Task Force.
For all of it, she’s a leader. For any successes, she credits the collective work of everyone involved.
“Of all the people doing the most good in the most areas, she’s the one. I don’t even think people realize it,” said Sue Auman, executive director of the Union-Snyder Community Action Agency, who’s worked several initiatives with Pearson including Walk It! Bike It!
“I just want everyone to be involved and participating. I don’t know that I’m specifically different in making a difference. I think we can all take part and make differences in lots of different ways,” Pearson said.
“All of our projects are really critically dependent on volunteers,” she said.
This is one of a week-long series of stories about the contributions of area people to their communities. They were nominated by those who know how much they have helped.
Auman knows the extent to which Pearson has helped greater Lewisburg. So does Ben Marsh, a Bucknell University professor. He works with Pearson for the River Town Team and the Flood Impact Task Force.
The task force hosts community forums on issues concerning flood plains, insurance and potential damage in the event the Susquehanna River or small streams leave their respective banks. As such, Pearson compiled flood maps, flood plain analyses, information on insurance rates and federal policies, all available at www.lewisburgneighborhoods.org.
The River Town Team works to create a better connection between Lewisburg and the Susquehanna River — improving access to the water, access to adjacent walking trails along the waterway and improving biking and walking infrastructure in the area.
Bucknell University students in some of Marsh’s environmental studies classes work with Pearson.
“Sam is very impressive to work with. She’s so focused on making a difference,” Marsh said. “I find her to be a strong role model for students and I like to use her for that reason.”
Pearson’s passion may be most evident when it comes to Walk It! Bike It! The campaign focuses, in part, on pedestrian safety. As heavy truck traffic spiked on Market Street with Valley road construction projects, the organization sought to inform Bucknell University students and all residents and visitors who walk the downtown about crosswalk rules.
The campaign also focuses on transit efficiency, balancing the needs of motorists, bikers and walkers to make for a better commute locally, no matter the mode of transportation.
“Ideally, it would be a place where people think they have all modes at their disposal and no one is adversely impacted,” Pearson said of her vision for Lewisburg. “The aim is to make it work better for everyone, including drivers.”
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