Vol­un­teers hon­ored

Ne­wark­ers pre­sented with Jef­fer­son Awards

Newark Post - - Front Page - By POST STAFF RE­PORT

Dozens of Ne­wark­ers were hon­ored Wed­nes­day evening for their work on var­i­ous com­mu­nity ser­vice ini­tia­tives.

Part of the Jef­fer­son Awards pro­gram, the cer­e­mony took place at Home Grown Café.

Mayor Polly Sierer hon­ored five peo­ple – Joe Charma, Char­lie Emer­son, Richard Gays, John Hornor and Gene Ni­land – all of whom have served the com­mu­nity for decades.

Charma has played in in­te­gral role in the growth of the Down­town Newark Part­ner­ship. He has served as a vol­un­teer since the in­cep­tion of the DNP and is a long­time mem­ber, and cur­rent chair, of the De­sign Com­mit­tee. As a re­cently re­tired en­gi­neer by trade, with a strong in­ter­est in the arts, Charma shares his knowl­edge and abil­i­ties when­ever needed. Through his lead­er­ship of the De­sign Com­mit­tee, he has safe­guarded the preser­va­tion of Newark’s history, while en­sur­ing newly con­structed build­ings are in­ter­est­ing and at­trac­tive – adding to rather than de­tract­ing from the ex­ist­ing streetscape.

Emer­son, who re­tired ear­lier this year as di­rec­tor of the Newark Parks and Recre­ation De­part­ment, over­saw the es­tab­lish­ment and cre­ation of many ac­tiv­i­ties and events, in­clud­ing the Newark Com­mu­nity Band, Thanks­giv­ing Day Break­fast, Win­ter­fest, the Newark Com­mu­nity Gar­den and the fire­works dis­play on July 4. His im­pact on the de­sign, con­struc­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of nu­mer­ous parks and fa­cil­i­ties for the commu- nity, in­clud­ing the James F. Hall and Pomeroy trails and two skate­board fa­cil­i­ties, will be ben­e­fi­cial for gen­er­a­tions to come.

Gays’ decades-long ser­vice touches the lives of the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, whether through the Newark Area Wel­fare Com­mit­tee, Hope Din­ing Room, The Newark Em­pow­er­ment Cen­ter, Code Pur­ple or the Newark Se­nior Cen­ter. He reaches out to count­less peo­ple and of­fers what he can, be it ma­te­rial re­sources, food, time or at­ten­tion. His ser­vice can be char­ac­ter­ized not in grand ges­tures of deeds of hero­ism, but in daily acts of ser­vice to his fam­ily, friends and com­mu­nity. His pas­sion and great­est plea­sure is help­ing oth­ers by rec­og­niz­ing a need and ful­fill­ing it in any way that he can. His ser­vice is a quiet gen­eros­ity.

Horner has served as chair of the Hope Din­ing Room’s Board of Di­rec­tors for 15 years. In ad­di­tion, he co­or­di­nates more than 20 groups in­volved with the prepa­ra­tion and serv­ing of the lunches and su­per­vises the work of two em­ploy­ees. He has per­son­ally en­abled Hope Din­ing room to carry out its mis­sion of serv­ing meals with dig­nity to those in need in the Newark area. Hope Din­ing Room, the Newark area’s only “soup kitchen,” serves 60 to 100 lunches a day to hun­gry peo­ple in Newark.

Ni­land joined Aetna Hose Hook & Lad­der Com­pany in 1977 as a fire­fighter and EMT. He served the cit­i­zens and vis­i­tors of Newark un­til the age of 74, mak­ing him the old­est EMT in the State of Delaware. He served on the Aetna’s Board of Di­rec­tors for 22 years and also was in­stru­men­tal in creat­ing the emer­gency op­er­a­tions plan for the city of Newark. He is con­sid­ered a men­tor and fa­ther fig­ure to many Aetna mem­bers.

Wed­nes­day’s cer­e­mony also hon­ored 19 groups and in­di­vid­u­als as part of the Jef­fer­son Awards LEAD360 Chal­lenge, which is open to school kids and univer­sity stu­dents. The projects en­gaged 19,889 vol­un­teers, con­trib­uted 118,401 hours of ser­vice and im­pacted 44,935 lives.

A pro­ject com­pleted by Gal­la­her El­e­men­tary School stu­dents took the top honor in the Newark area and went on to be a na­tional fi­nal­ist.

As part of the “Got Milk Bot­tles?” ini­tia­tive, the stu­dents set out to re­cy­cle the milk bot­tles used in the school cafe­te­ria. Af­ter in­ter­view­ing the prin­ci­pal and cus­to­di­ans about what hap­pens to the trash, they es­tab­lished a ded­i­cated re­cy­cling bin for milk bot­tles and raised aware­ness at an assem­bly.

They have suc­cess­fully launched a new pro­gram, which in­cludes a small dec­o­rated garbage can. The stu­dents pour out the re­main­ing milk from their plas­tic bot­tles and and throw the bot­tles in the ded­i­cated re­cep­ta­cle to be re­cy­cled.


Mayor Polly Sierer hon­ors a stu­dent group from Gal­la­her El­e­men­tary School.

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