This year's Phoenixville Mayor's Citizen Recognition Awards are slated for March 6, and in all, Mayor Leo Scoda chose 13 recipients this year.
The mayor chooses the award winners throughout his travels during the year, making a note of who is doing a great job giving back to the Phoenixville community. The mayor held the awards for the first time in 1999 and has never had a shortage of folks to choose from. In fact, some years he has to many, and he stows those names away for the next time around.
This year's winners vary widely in ages and backgrounds, with the youngest award winner at just 8 years old. They have voluteered in many different capacities in Phoenixville and have each helped better the borough in some way.
The 2012 Mayor's Citizens Recognition Awards will be presented in a ceremony on March 6 at 7 p.m. in Phoenixville Borough Hall. The public is invited to attend.
Here is half of the list of the 2012 recipients, in alphabetical order. Check back on Saturday for the rest of the award winners. Congratulations to all of those who are receiving the honor.
Byers will be honored for his work as a leader with Boy Scouts of America, Troop 58 Phoenixville. Byers has provided his leadership to hundreds of young men for the past 26 years. Troop 58 is sponsored by the Phoenixville Knights of Columbus. Byers has held the position of Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster for many of those years and is an active committee member for the troop.
Byers has tended to all of the activities associated with scouting such as hiking, camping, overnights, education and service.
One particular project of the troop was building and maintaining Reservoir Dogs Park on the northside of Phoenixville. His scouts also participate in putting flags on the graves of deceased service men and women for Memorial Day and annually hold a Flag Burning Ceremony in which old and tattered U.S. flags are ritually burned.
In past years, Byers served as a coach for both the youth soccer program and for Little League baseball.
He is a firefighter for where the achieved the rank of lieutenant.
Dorothy Claudy is being honored for her work as a volunteer at in Phoenixville. Claudy, a licensed nurse practitioner, has retired as the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with the Chester County Health Department.
Claudy has served as a classroom aide for the past seven years. She not only tends to the children but has often been an invaluable support to the mothers and fathers of these children. Even the smallest medical issues are tended to by Claudy, who aids the staff with first aid training and her ability to communicate health and safety information.
At Mom’s House Claudy has contributed more than 3,000 hours of her time. She spends six hours each Tuesday and Thursday in the classroom and has served on the Board of Directors for the organization.
She finds time also to volunteer at the Norristown Soup Kitchen for Mother Teresa of Calcutta Church at in Phoenixville. She serves as a nurse and writes the Nurse’s Corner column for the church bulletin.
Only 8 years old, has already proven that she is an outstanding volunteer willing to do all she can to help many people that are in dire need.
Her story began last winter when she and her mother drove by . When she saw a large group of people standing behind the church she questioned her mother why they were standing there when it was so cold outside. Her mom told her that these people had no food or groceries and the church tried to provide a once-a-week a soup kitchen and food pantry to help these needy people.
Kashmiera and her mother spoke to Julie who runs the food pantry and both volunteered to work at the kitchen. One week, supplies ran short and not everyone received the food.
Kashmiera decided that she would help out by going door to door and collecting over 200 boxes of cereal. Not stopping at this, Kashmiera got a friend of her father’s to sponsor a concert at the . Seven bands volunteered their services. Admission was a bag of groceries and $4. She collected 550 pounds of food and $505. They hope to do it again this year.
The 8-year-old said, “We all have so much to give and everyone can make a difference. You just have to try."
For his work with the Emergency Response Team of the Borough of Phoenixville and his contribution as a volunteer coach with the Youth Lacrosse Program and later the high school's lacrosse team, Christopher Gaudan will receive a 2012 Mayor's Award.
The Emergency Response Commission is a group of individuals appointed by borough council to oversee the town’s activities in response to situations like flooding, blizzards, fires or any type event that puts in jeopardy people and property in our town. Gaudan has been a member of this committee for more than seven years. In just the past year the members have gone into action to deal with the September hurricanes and the freakish October snowstorm that caused power outages throughout the northeastern United States.
Gaudan and the other members on the committee are there to help people in any way possible. In the past year the Emergency Response Team has worked to upgrade and modernize its headquarters in the borough garage. They are also working up a plan to provide emergency shelter within the borough to be activated when needed.
In addition, Gaudan has donated his time to help develop the sport of lacrosse within the community. He has been a volunteer coach with youth lacrosse since 1998, first at the YMCA and later through the Phoenixville Marian Youth Club. He served as a coach with the Phoenixville Area High School boys' lacrosse program, first developing a club team and later having the boys' lacrosse program receive full team status.
Marnie Herzfeld is being honored for her volunteer work with . This past year, the theater celebrated its 50th anniversary. A community theatrical organization, the theater has sponsored shows running the full gamut of stage productions. Musicals, dramas, comedies, classics and children’s shows have all graced the stage of the Forge Theatre.
One volunteer who has made all this happen is Herzfeld. She has been part of the theater since 1982, over half the number of years it has been in existence.
Herzfeld has played many roles with the theater from actor to producer. She currently serves as president of the board of directors and has developed a wonderful relationship with actors, directors, producers and stage workers.
Those volunteers with Forge Theatre describe its members as a large family. This is an activity that brings out the best in everyone.
For her work with the Phoenixville Candlelight Holiday Tour, the annual holiday home tour that takes place between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Margaret Howard will receive a 2012 Mayor's Citizen Recognition Award. Howard has worked on this tour for many years. She coordinates the hosts and hostesses who greet the visitors at each house and helps design the posters and other printed material.
Howard brings a steadying influence to the tour committee; no job is too small for her to take on. Her enthusiasm and upbeat personality quickly spreads to the rest of the committee. She is on top of the many details that go into making this program a successful event. As soon as the current year’s tour is done, Howard is ready to start planning for next year’s tour.
Howard has also been a member of Friends of the Library for more than 20 years. At the library, she has helped with the poetry contest, the summer reading programs and the Thrilling Thursdays to name a few. She has also served as a member of the library board and the executive committee.
This recipient is only 10 years old. Like recipient Kashmiera Cosenza, also helps out at the food pantry and weekly food kitchen held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on Church Street.
“Bella,” as she is called, began her philanthropic journey a few years ago. She has been a vegetarian for more than three years because of her concern for animals. Jenney also decided on her own that instead of receiving birthday gifts she would ask her friends to donate food to a needy cause. They chose St. Peter’s Food Pantry. She signed up to work at the food pantry along with her younger brother, Patrick, age 7.
Through Heifer International she created a website and distributed posters and flyers throughout Phoenixville. She called her mission “Help in a Heartbeat” and even has a Facebook page for it. Her goal was to raise $1,000. She raised $1,140.
Jenney sees the big picture and says, “It all starts with one person pitching in, and that person can be you!” She realizes how lucky she is to have a warm, safe home with food and a loving family.
A student at Charlestown Elementary, she plays the flute in the school band.
Be sure to check back Saturday for the rest of the recipients of the 2012 Mayor's Citizen Recognition Awards.