Spirit of Community Award Winners Announced for 2016

The Volunteer Center of South Jersey will celebrate these distinguished achievers on October 27, 2016 at the Mansion in Voorhees, NJ.

VCSJ Awards

The Volunteer Center of South Jersey is excited to announce its Sixth Annual "Spirit of Community Celebration, presented by PBF Energy. This event brings the entire community together to honor volunteers as well as non-profit and corporate leaders whose dedicated service makes a difference in South Jersey. The celebration will take place on Thursday, October 27, 2016 from 6:30-9:00pm at The Mansion on Main Street in Voorhees, New Jersey.  Tickets are still available for the event.

The distinguished award winners include:  Charlie Doud for South Jersey Humanitarian of the Year, Alexa Grabelle for Distinguished Youth Service, South Jersey Robotics for the Bob Shryock Community Service Award, The New Town Press for Corporate Excellence and the HEROES Award will be bestowed on Michael Hallam of PBF Energy.

Additionally, these tireless people were recognized for exceptional service as Volunteers of the Year: Judy Holmes (Gloucester County Library System), Melissa Luckach (Heart of South Jersey), Janel Miller (Volunteer Center of South Jersey), Tom Mirochna (The FAF Coalition), and Nancy Zappala (The FAF Coalition). In addition, this year, there was a three-way tie for non-profit Volunteer Manager of the Year. Winners are: Sally Cezo (Samaritan Healthcare & Hopsice), Patricia McCall (Gloucester County Library System), and Barbara Moncrief (Senior Citizens United Community Service).

The FSN Advocate of the Year is being presented to Karen Phillips for her consistent support and commitment to the success of local families.  The Family Day of Service 2016 Project of Honor is being presented to Issa Marquina Jacobo & Marie Canino for the energy, passion and commitment they displayed to make the Indian Avenue Community Garden project a huge success.

Also noted are the Unidos Para La Familia Leadership Award to Manuel Gonzalez, Spirit of Service Award to Francis Ferrara and Team Work Award to Israel Cruz.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award is a national honor based on the number of hours contributed, which honors Americans who, by their steadfast commitment and example, inspire others to make volunteerism a focal part of their lives. The award goes to individuals, families and groups that have demonstrated outstanding volunteer service over a course of a 12-month period.  A full list of awardees is below.

“This is the best night of the year for the Volunteer Center. Many times we hear the common refrain from volunteers, ‘I don't deserve an award, I play only a small part.’  Here at VCSJ, we know that volunteers sometimes don't realize their own impact,” said Executive Director Michele Epifani. “For example, the Volunteer Center is honoring our newsletter writer Janel Miller this year. If she wasn't part of our team, we would not be able to reach over 5,000 people in South Jersey every other week. That is huge for us, and we are grateful for her time.” 

The event features keynote speaker J. Israel Greene. Israel is passionate about inspiring others to recognize and reach their full potential through intentional and purposeful living and leadership.  For the past twenty years, he has worked in a variety of leadership positions and is currently authoring a book entitled Forgotten Sons, 40 Steps to Success for Young Minority Men. Diamond sponsor PBF Energy is also joined by gold sponsors: James Controls, Nalco Champion, Atlantic City Electric, Identity Gear and PostNet, without whose support the evening would not be possible. 

More information on the awards and the criteria for selection may be found on the VCSJ website at sjvolunteers.org. The Volunteer Center of South Jersey (VCSJ) was established as a private, independent 501c3 non-profit organization in 1996. VCSJ is a volunteer action center (VAC) in South Jersey, covering seven counties from Burlington to Cape May, whose mission is to change lives, empower families, and improve our community through volunteerism and the support of local non-profit organizations. The center offers best practices in civic engagement through education (workshops, publications, webinars, etc.) for volunteers (individual and groups) and organizations (business and non-profit). For more information, please visit sjvolunteers.org for more information.

 Presidential Awards


  • Rosanne Danner
  • Ettore (Terry) Gismondi)
  • Elizabeth Hulitt
  • Stephen Plevins
  • Rob Toreki


  • Dennis Bratton                                                 
  • Bill Cassidy
  • Shari Chase
  • William KIienegger
  • Rosanne Danner
  • Elizabeth Hulitt
  • Stephen Plevins
  •  Non Profit Development Center of Southern NJ


  • Dr. Laurie Appel
  • Meredith Baubles
  • Kenn DuTill
  • Ettore Gismondi
  • Randa Hogate
  • Elaine Lovelace
  • Winna McWhorter
  • Eliana Moorer
  • Joe Vitulli
  • Dick Zeiner


  • Bruce Baker
  • Karen Barry
  • Harry Bittner
  • Krista Briglia
  • Bev Currier
  • Tiffany Donio
  • Barb Eadson
  • Francis Ferrara
  • Manuel Alejandro Gonzalez
  • Wanda Hardy
  • John Horsfield
  • Matt Jakubowski
  • Ryan Kastner
  • Kathleen Logan
  • Frances McElhill
  • Barb Mitcho
  • John Politsky
  • Glen Walton
  • Ira Weisman
  • Michael Willmann

Source: Volunteer Center South Jersey

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