The Boyertown Area Times
Citizen of the Year award winners announced
69th Annual Gala set for April 15
Winners of the Boyertown Citizen of the Year Awards will be honored at the 69th Annual Citizen of the Year Gala on April 15.
Organized by the Citizen of the Year committee — comprised of past award recipients and community members — the gala will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles. Proceeds will benefit the citizen of the year winner’s choice of charity.
“We take time to appreciate the people who make our town better,” said Mark Malizzi, committee member and past award recipient.
Previously, the 2020 and 2021 award ceremonies were a socially distanced limited gatherings that were shared virtually via Facebook Live due to COVID restrictions. While the 2022 event boasted a larger in-person gathering, the event was still shared virtually.
This year, the event can accommodate 200 attendees but will not be shared virtually.
“We want people from this community to come and thank all these wonderful people in person,” said Malizzi. “We’re asking people to come in person and thank each one of these wonderful people personally.”
Doors open at 5 p.m. for a meet and greet with hors d’oeuvres followed by the awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit www.boyertowncoty.com.
“This year’s board of directors for the Citizen of the Year program was very impressed with the wonderful results that were sent in for the nominations for 2023,” said Malizzi. “After reviewing all the nominations, it was easy to decide who would win in each of the categories just from the amazing stories that have been sent in
“We are truly blessed to have a community and individuals in our community that makes such a difference in this Boyertown area and look forward to continuing this amazing tradition of honoring Boyertown Citizens of the Year that make Boyertown a wonderful place to live,” continued Malizzi.
This year’s Boyertown Citizen of the Year Award will be presented to Thomas McHugh. Other awards will be presented to Katie Groff as First Responder of the Year, Dr. Tina Srode-Fries as Mentor of the Year and Nicole Stout as Senior of the Year. The Special Recognition Award will be presented to Wreaths Across America.
Citizen of the Year
Thomas McHugh has been selected as the Boyertown Citizen of the Year. A PIAA and American Legion Baseball umpire for 30 years, McHugh has officiated at numerous championship tournaments for both organizations.
One award nomination letter states, “Tom and his wife, Jayne, are the consummate ‘parents and family’ folks …. Their grounded moral and spiritual attitudes and their community ideals are examples for all of us.”
A Boyertown native and 1973 Boyertown Area Senior High alumnus, he has been a member of the Boyertown Alumni Band and Marching Unit since 1976 and currently serves as president.
A trumpet player for nearly six decades, he performs locally and regionally with the popular Directors Big Band. He has performed at two Maxwell Football Club Awards events. He also has played at numerous Boyertown Area School District musicals as a member of the pit orchestra.
Now retired, McHugh was employed with A.W. Mercer Inc. of Boyertown and Gilbertsville for 41 years, during which he was a supervisor for many years.
“I have three primary goals,” McHugh said in a statement. “One is to be the best father and husband for my family. Second, to be the best at what I enjoy doing, namely trumpet-playing and baseball-umpiring. And finally, to assist with the outstanding legacy of the Boyertown Alumni Band and Marching Unit.”
First Responder of the Year
Katie Groff of Oley was selected as First Responder of the Year. A 2012 graduate of Boyertown Area Senior High School, Groff has been involved in emergency services starting as a Junior Cadet with Friendship Hook & Ladder Co.15 where her father was a firefighter.
Groff later became a volunteer with the Earl Township fire company with her husband, while working to obtain her Interior Firefighter Certification, Emergency Medical Technician license, and Pump Operations Certification. She recently became a nationally licensed paramedic, and currently serves as the Emergency Medical Service Captain of Bally Community Ambulance Association where she is employed fulltime.
Mentor of the Year
Dr. Tina Srode-Fries was named Mentor of the Year. A member of the wellness committee, she is an advocate for wellness among students and staff. She has also been a fitness instructor for the Boyertown YMCA for more than 25 years. She cocreated the Fun on the Run program to prepare young students for a 5K.
A teacher for the Boyertown Area School District for 29 years and a graduate of BASH, Srode-Fries taught fourth grade at Gilbertsville Elementary and then taught the gifted program for third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades for all the district elementary schools. She now teaches the gifted program at Middle School West for grades 6, 7 & 8 as well as co-teaching the gifted 5th graders from all the elementary schools.
She serves as the advisor of student council, a leader of special events, like the BES Fun Run, as well as a coach for the district for the Venzke Relays, the West lacrosse team and the Boyertown High School winter track team, and helps with the Road Warriors program. Also she is the advisor for the spirit club at Middle School West, and a proponent for the Optimist Club’s Optimist Contests.
Student of the Year
Boyertown Area Senior High senior Nicole Stout of Gilbertsville has been a Boyertown Bear since kindergarten. Stout has been involved in Boyertown’s Student Council for six years holding many chair and officer positions, including Homecoming Chair, MiniTHON Chair, Historian, and two terms as vice president. She was also one of the co-chairs of the 2022 Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils meeting that was hosted by BASH this past fall, and she has held other chair positions within the organization’s executive boards.
Stout is also part of the school’s National Honor Society and Green Cord. Due to her academic success, she is spending the second semester of her senior year as a full-time, first-semester sophomore honors student at Kutztown University where she is pursuing her bachelor’s in business management.
She has also danced with Premiere Dance Studio for 15 years, studying various styles and dancing competitively.