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Attorney Lorine Ogurkis of Brandon's Forever Home -- Why NEPA? image
May 21, 2024
Attorney Lorine Ogurkis of Brandon's Forever Home -- Why NEPA?
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"I have a responsibility to stay here in Hazleton, to make sure the hard work others put in, all their commitment to this one little place, is forever remembered and showcased."

As a third-generation Hazleton resident, Lorine Ogurkis is proud to have grown up on the same street as her Italian and Polish immigrant grandparents in the city that she calls her forever home.

As one of four siblings in a tight-knit religious family, Lori attended Most Precious Blood Church, which her grandparents’ helped build, the former Bishop Hafey High School and Marywood University, where her passion for service was ignited. It was that exposure and her empathy for others that led her to Penn State Dickinson Law School and on a path that has allowed her to serve her community.

After college, Lori made a promise to herself to come back to Hazleton to raise her family, have a career and help others. And that’s exactly what she’s doing. After more than a decade in corporate law, Lori opened her own private practice in downtown Hazleton specializing in family law. With an open-door policy, she wholeheartedly believes everyone should have unobstructed access to legal aid.

Along the way, she met her husband Michael and became a blended family of five. After years of trying for more children, they opened their hearts and home to fostering and were blessed to adopt their son Michael, who came to them as a newborn, and led them to adopt their oldest daughter, Brittany, who Lori met as an adult while teaching at Luzerne County Community College.

Their journey to fostering inspired the family to form Brandon’s Forever Home, a nonprofit facility that raises awareness about children in foster care as well as offering mentoring programs; a food, clothing and toiletry pantry; and hosting special events.

Surrounded by photos of family and friends in her law office, Lori shared with us her dedication for helping those in foster care find their happily-ever-after and for her, Why NEPA?

How long have you lived in NEPA?

50 years…to give up my age!

What do you love about your town?

The people. The ability to connect instantly with each other. I have my practice here, doors open. There’s a reason for that. I want anybody at any time to feel they can have access to an attorney. I’m blessed to do this and I’m blessed to help as many people as I can in the heart of Hazleton.

I know in Hazleton, people will help people and if I need anything for any child, any person, anything, I could call anyone and they’ll help me. That is what I believe is most important in a community. That’s why I’m here with my kids and family.

What’s your favorite NEPA restaurant?

Pazzo. It’s where my husband and I went on our first blind date. We go there every year on our anniversary and they take very good care of us.

What’s your favorite thing to do in NEPA?

We love the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and any of the events at Montage. I look at everything that everybody has put together, like the arts at the Kirby Center. The ability to be able to take people who would never, could never have seen a show like that, walk into a building like that and get to see a performance. That’s everything. Everybody needs to be able to have access to what NEPA provides. And I think that’s the best thing about us is that we have nature, we have museums, we have the arts. Churches and the church picnics. Food. Eating, you know, that’s what we do best.

What’s next for you?

I don’t know. I know God does. And I’ll just keep praying and He’ll send me where I’m meant to be. I think that’s the best answer I could give. If someone would have said, Lori, you’re going to have five kids. You’re going to own Brandon’s Forever Home and have safeguarded it for the community. I wouldn’t have believed it. I don’t know where my next step is. I know that I’ll know it when it happens. When the opportunity arises.

Where do you see NEPA heading in the future?

I think we’re at the top right now. I have looked at the lay of the land for a long time and I’m committed to staying here because of all those who stayed here before me. I look at it as a responsibility to return to where you are from and continue to make it better. And I think, when you look at every person who’s been working so hard to get it to this next level, we are at the best right now. I feel it. I know it.


Three generations in. How could I go anywhere else?