Barletta Honors Brandon’s Forever Home in DC Award Presentation

Sep 21, 2016
Press Release
Group Founded by Rep. Tarah Toohil & Attorney Lori Ogurkis Named as Angels in Adoption

Rep. Barletta with state Rep. Tarah Toohil, Lori Ogurkis, family, friends, and people associated with Brandon’s Forever Home, recipient of the Angels in Adoption award.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today honored Brandon’s Forever Home, the non-profit organization in Hazleton focused on raising awareness of adoption and foster care and placing children with permanent families, with the formal presentation of the Angels in Adoption award.  Brandon’s Forever Home was founded in 2014 by state Rep. Tarah Toohil (116th District) and local attorney Lori Ogurkis, who each has her own personal experiences with adoption and foster children.  Barletta had nominated the group for the honor awarded each year by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.   

The Angels of Adoption award, which is given to individuals or organizations nationwide, is considered prestigious in the world of adoption and foster care. Since 1999, nearly 2,000 have been named, including: Muhammad Ali, former First Lady Laura Bush, Patti LaBelle, Al Roker, the Hallmark Channel, and People Magazine.

“At home in Hazleton, we’re all familiar with the great work Rep. Toohil and Lorine Ogurkis have been doing at Brandon’s Forever Home, so it is truly gratifying to see them receive national recognition,” Barletta said.  “For too many children, the dream of a loving, permanent family can seem so far out of reach.  But thanks to Brandon’s Forever Home, that dream is becoming reality for more and more young people.”

Both Toohil and Ogurkis came to their commitment to the welfare of children through experiences in their own personal lives.  Rep. Toohil’s parents lovingly fostered more than 40 children through the years, including Brandon, a young man whose tragic death inspired the lifelong dedication that has resulted in Brandon’s Forever Home.  Ogurkis, the mother of three biological children, met her youngest son, Michael, through adoption.  She also has provided a home to young Brittany, who had aged out of the foster system.  The first location of Brandon’s Forever Home was actually in the Ogurkis residence.

Brandon’s Forever Home, located at 187 North Church Street in Hazleton, assists with adoptions and children in the foster care system, and urges individuals to become foster parents.  The non-profit organization is a place for those aging out of the foster care system to find help, learn life skills, and connect with others.  For more information, please visit the website