MILFORD — Good deeds often go unnoticed — and that can be a shame.
That’s what inspired Darel La Prade, publisher of the Delaware State News and former president of the Milford Chamber of Commerce, as he introduced the winners of the first Freedom Awards at the 20th annual Riverwalk Freedom Festival on Sept. 18 in Milford.
“We intend this program to shine a light on the good work done by local citizens and the businessmen and women who help to make the greater Milford community such a wonderful place to live and work,” Mr. La Prade said.
Nominees were placed in one of the following categories by the 2021 selection committee: Business Volunteer, Emergency Responder, Faith/Spiritual Leader, Educator, Mentor/Coach, Community Volunteer, Veteran Volunteer, Lifetime Achievement and Youth Volunteer.
It was stressed that all nominees should be of good character and provide a positive role model; have history of volunteerism and sacrificing personal gain to achieve broader community goals.
Sponsored by the Delaware State News and the Chamber of Commerce, the awards honored residents of Greater Milford who routinely go out of their way to serve the community unselfishly.
It turned out that Milford had little trouble finding people in the community who fit the winning criteria perfectly.
Presentations took place on the main stage in Bicentennial Park during the 20th Annual Riverwalk Freedom Festival.
Angela Dorey was named the winner of the Business Volunteer award; Pastor Andy Stevens of the Milford Church of God was honored as an Emergency Responder; the Rev. David Shockley of Jesus Love Temple was named as the Faith/Spiritual Leader and Milford School District Lead Nurse Yvonne White was honored as an Educator.
Jennifer Jurczak was awarded with the Mentor/Coach award; Peggy Reilly received recognition as a Community Volunteer and Joey Phillips got the nod as Veteran Volunteer.
In a neat little twist, Elizabeth “Lizzy” Abbate was honored for her Youth Volunteer work while her grandmother Ruth Ann Abbate received the Lifetime Achievement award.
Ms. Dorey, the owner of Dorey Insurance and Financial Services, served as the chairwoman of the Riverwalk Freedom Festival for her ninth year last month.
“I was extremely surprised and very honored to be selected as the first business volunteer recipient,” Ms. Dorey said. “I love Milford and all the people that make it an amazing community.
“I love giving and getting to know so many amazing people from fellow volunteers, sponsors, vendors, performers, etc… I can’t imagine not being part of the event. It is truly part of me.”
Ms. Reilly said she has been volunteering for around the past eight years. She began by running an Entrepreneur Network Group of all small businesses in Milford for Downtown Milford, Inc.
“From there I evolved into joining the (DMI) board for the past six years with two years as vice president and two years as president,” she said. “I also volunteer to help women in their career and to job search.
“I believe in paying it forward and was blessed with a great career and give back to the community, which is important to me, and I highly recommend to anyone that can give time to their community.”