TROY - In western Bradford County, 2012 was no ordinary year, due to the accomplishments of several residents.

Their achievements brought honor not only to themselves, but, it could be argued, to their fellow citizens and the entire area.

Here is a listing of the individuals and their honors:

- Like an early Christmas present, the news came in December that Matthew Brann was confirmed as U.S. District Court Judge.

U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) praised Brann and the Senate's unanimous confirmation. "Matthew Brann has a wealth of legal experience gained from more than two decades in private practice, and I am so pleased Williamsport will finally have a federal judge, especially one of his caliber," Sen. Toomey said.

Brann, a partner at Brann, Williams, Caldwell & Sheetz, serves on the boards of a number of charitable and civic organizations, and graduated from the Pennsylvania State University's Dickinson School of Law in 1990. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1987.

Brann was nominated by President Obama in May.

At the time, Matt Gordon, superintendent of the Canton Area School District, where Brann is the solicitor, offered his congratulations. "Mr. Brann is very deserving of these accolades and he and his family's law firm have served the district well in their capacity as solicitor for the district."

- In September, Troy Intermediate School welcomed a fitness celebrity, Jake Steinfeld, with open arms as he arrived to help cut the ribbon on the school's new fitness center. It was all the result of the hard work of the school's physical education teacher, Christina Sheeley.

Sheeley applied for and received a grant for the school of about $100,000 for the fitness center. As a result, Troy Intermediate School was one of three Pennsylvania schools that were chosen as a National Champion School by the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils - and received a new, state-of-the art fitness center at no cost to the taxpayers.

"This is a big deal," said Troy Area School Board Member Deb Harer.

- Maria Jo Noble was named not only the Bradford County Dairy Princess in 2012 (the second time she has held the county title), but was also crowned the 2012-13 Pennsylvania Dairy Princess.

Judges selected Noble, 18, of Gillett, among a pool of county dairy princesses from across the state during the 56th annual Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Pageant, held in Camp Hill.

As a representative of the state's dairy industry, Noble is responsible for educating people statewide on the benefits of dairy products. A panel of judges chose Noble from a group of seven finalists based on public speaking skills, knowledge of the dairy industry, poise and personality.

- Barb Andrus, president of The Heritage Garden Club of Troy, and other members of the club helped honor local veterans in a very special way in 2012.

They made possible the Blue Star Memorial Highway Marker at the Bradford County Manor in West Burlington Township. First, a groundbreaking was held for the memorial in the spring, and then a dedication in the fall.

The Blue Star Committee of the club - Andrus, Sharon Brown, Judy Warn and Vivian Hall - worked especially hard on the project.

The marker honoring the veterans bears this inscription: "A tribute to the Armed Forces that have defended the United States of America." It's sponsored by The Heritage Garden Club of Troy in cooperation with the Manor and the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania.

At the dedication, Andrus spoke of the "Spirit of the Landscape."

"The stone wall represents the strength of our military - standing solid through the years. The 'red' of the Coral Bells stand for the sacrifice of life and limb, given by those who fought in wars from the Revolution to Afghanistan. The Pencil Holly - 'evergreen' signifies the desire for freedom which has forever lived in the hearts of all Americans. The yellow of the Chrysanthemums represents the yellow ribbons anticipating the homecoming of our troops. The Silver Brocade Artemesia Groundcover blankets the soil, just as all Americans are blanketed with safety thanks to the vigilance of our military."

- In June, Terri Kelley made history by being installed as the first-ever female president of the Troy Lions club.

She said she hoped to bring a "woman's perspective" to the club.

Kelley noted that times have changed with the Lions, which used to be a "men's club" in previous generations.

But now more women have gotten involved, she said. Instead of a men's club, she likes to think of the Lions Club as a "service organization."

"It was traditionally business men in the community. That's something that has changed. There are business women in it now. They've come into the 21st century."

Do you have an idea for the Western Bradford Notebook? You can reach Eric Hrin at (570) 297-5251; email: