Jaycees honors community service with new award at annual banquet
HAWLEY — The Honesdale-area Jaycees honored a quartet of community-minded individuals at their annual Service Awards Banquet held in November at the Settlers Inn. In addition to the three traditional categories of Law Enforcement Officer, Educator and First Responder of the Year, the 2021 Awards Banquet introduced a new award category, Community Leader of the Year. .
“We love to honor our educators, law enforcement officers and first responders,” said Chris Novoa, corresponding secretary and service awards banquet co-chair.
“We wanted to have the ability to…recognize other people in the community who might not fit that mold, but we know they still contribute a lot to our community.”
“…the people who have received the award…expect nothing in return for being themselves, and that’s ultimately what it’s all about,” he continued. “They get involved in the community. They see the value in giving service to others and at the end of the day, as I mentioned, they don’t expect anything in return for just being themselves. That makes them even more deserving.”
Novoa later added, “I think they need that recognition and to let them know that the community appreciates them and that their work doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Each of the winners is nominated by members of the public for their outstanding community service. They are then reviewed by the Jaycees before the final winners are selected and presented with their prizes at the annual banquet.
Community Leader of the Year
The first “Community Leader of the Year” award went to Kevin Edwards.
“His service to our community in youth sports – volunteering with Honesdale Little Baseball, Missy Softball, Biddy Basketball… – is well known to many of us,” Novoa wrote on behalf of the Jaycees via email. . “In addition, Kevin often volunteers his writing skills to local organizations to showcase or publicize their story in Honesdale.
“Additionally, Jaycees often spots Kevin at our events and countless others in the community. In his own positive and unique style, he seems to be constantly looking for ways to uplift his community through the power of his words.”
Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
The 2021 Law Enforcement Award went to the crime duo of Deputy Sheriff Ron Kominski and his canine companion, Deputy Manfred.
“Ron is best known for his work with Manfred,” Novoa wrote, “but, as always, there is much more to his story. A lesser-known fact about him, Ron has been a volunteer firefighter longer than he knows. served our community as a judicial police officer (27 to 23 years old).
“Ron, together with the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney and Commissioners, brought the first ever K9 unit to Wayne County. It has had a wide and immeasurable impact on our community assisting in the search and rescue of missing persons, thanks to the efforts of Ron and Manfred, our community is much better equipped to handle a wider range of criminal threats to our safety.”
Educator of the Year
Christine McClure was chosen as the Jaycees’ 2021 Educator of the Year for her work in the Western Wayne School District and other parts of the region.
“As an educator, she doesn’t let her impact end in the classroom,” Novoa wrote. “Christine remains actively involved in roles where she can continue to serve the youth of our community and help them grow into future leaders. She is well known to many in the Jaycees because of her leadership role in Wayne County. 4-H and her work with the Endless Mountains Pony Club. In both organizations, she is an exemplary role model who teaches the skills of collaboration, leadership and sportsmanship to the youth she serves.
“Christine is not just a career educator; she is a life skills instructor that she has enough experience to teach. Additionally, she is the president of the Western Wayne Education Foundation – an organization dedicated to the obtaining funding for non-traditional education opportunities for students such as science camps and classroom gardens, all combined with an exceptional educator who stood out among the rest.
McClure’s achievement was also honored by the Western Wayne School District at its November board meeting.
First Speaker of the Year
The final award for 2021 went to Cindy Batzel, hailed as First Responder of the Year.
Wrote Novoa, “As a first responder, Cindy has truly stood out for her contributions to the community within, as well as beyond the requirements of the category. Cindy is both a volunteer firefighter and EMT for the White Mills Fire Department who holds her Emergency Vehicle Operators Certificate . Beyond that, she is a volunteer with the North East Suicide Prevention Initiative and a trauma-informed care instructor. Professionally, Cindy has worked with children and youth in Wayne County for the past twenty years. Service is the common thread that weaves the rest of his life together.
“We usually nominate a lot of volunteer first responders, all of whom are deserving simply because they volunteer. It’s always hard to single out deserving winners in this category, but when nominees come with extra volunteer work on top of a full – career time dedicated to service, they get away with it a little more.”
This article originally appeared on Tri-County Independent: Jaycees present community service awards at annual banquet