A Catholic author and evangelist, who is suffering from cancer, is a semifinalist for Energizer’s Keep Going Hall of Fame because of his charitable work supporting orphans overseas.
Thomas Rutkoski, a resident of Evans City, Pennsylvania, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable blood and bone cancer in 2005. In 2006, he founded Abode for Children, a non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, shelter and values-based education to children suffering from poverty and disease. The organization runs two large orphanages in Nigeria and India, respectively.
After becoming convinced of the need for someone to help the poor children he met in the two countries, Rutkoski made the decision to underwrite Abode for Children largely with sales from his four books: “Apostles of the Last Days,” “Miracles and How to Work Them,” “Great Divide” and “My Scriptural Rosary.”
Rutkoski was a fallen-away Catholic for 27 years. He was a photojournalist for a Pittsburgh television station when his work took him to Jerusalem where he believes God began his journey to conversion. After later visiting Lourdes and Fatima, he gave up his television career to travel the world and tell people how God changed his life.
In 1990, to fulfill a promise he made to Christ in gratitude for his conversion, he founded Gospa Missions, a Catholic nonprofit foundation dedicated to evangelization and humanitarian efforts. Gospa is Croatian for Our Lady. The mission now includes worldwide retreats, conferences, prison ministry, healing ministry, speaking engagements, publishing and humanitarian efforts.
The semifinalist is also a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus and has served as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and as a member of his parish council.
Rutkoski and 99 other semifinalists contending for a place in the Keep Going Hall of Fame will be entered into a second phase of the contest in which judges will choose ten finalists. One winner will be chosen from the ten finalists by a public vote beginning June 12 on the energizer.com web site.
The Hall of Fame winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize plus a $5,000 donation to the winner’s favorite charity. The winner will also be formally honored at an induction ceremony in August in St. Louis, Missouri.
According to a press release from Energizer, the Keep Going Hall of Fame was created in 2006 as a way to share the stories of people “who live every day with the same spirit as the Energizer Bunny.” The Energizer Bunny is a toy drum-playing rabbit used in battery advertisements bearing the slogan “It keeps going and going.”