Delaware Stars contest celebrates the best of shopping and service


What’s the best place to get pizza? Or Caribbean food? Where are the best tacos, teachers, tree service or tattoos? These answers and more are found in the 2023 Stars of Delaware, hosted by Delaware State News.

As possibly the most comprehensive readers’ poll in the state, the Stars of Delaware features hundreds of restaurants, parks, businesses and individuals who serve their customers and community each day. Readers voted all summer on everything from health and beauty to food and home services.

The winners have now been made public, and the finalists gathered at King Cole Farm in Dover to celebrate on Sept. 7.

The Stars program is part of Delaware State News’ mission to strengthen our community by publishing unbiased journalism and growing local business. “We hope that after reading this magazine, you will use it to plot out your next adventure and join us in celebrating these exceptional winners,” said Publisher Konrad LaPrade.

The party featured great food, the Vanderwende’s ice cream truck and live dance music by Mike Hines & the Look. Sponsors include Chesapeake Utilities, the Biggs Museum of American Art, Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC) and High Ground Creative.

A special highlight is the Stars of Delaware Person of the Year award, celebrating good deeds in the community. Dr. Linda Hackett was named the 2023 Star for a lifetime of education and service, including 25-plus years as the co-founder of Delaware Multicultural and Civic Organization, Inc.

“DEMCO was founded because a group of teachers who taught at public schools realized that we needed the entire community to prepare our leaders of tomorrow to meet the challenges that we all face,” Hackett said. That means providing life skills and job skills to the entire family, for the sake of the entire community. “As an educator, I know there are three parts that drive change: uncompromising vision ... courageous passion to look forward … and organizational skills to put them together in view of a watching world.” It takes a village, she said. “Tonight, I want you all to celebrate that there’s still beauty in the world and so much to be thankful for.”

Finalist Nancy W. Cook continues serving on major boards, even decades after her tenure as a Delaware State senator, where she was the first woman to co-chair the prestigious Delaware Joint Finance Committee. At age 87, she’s active with Polytech School District school board, the DE Turf, the Delaware Historical Society, the Biggs Museum of American Art, the Delaware Women’s Hall of Fame, the Delaware Council on Development Finance, and the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council (DEFAC).

“It’s all about building relationships and recognizing that … you’ll have to come together to represent everybody,” Cook said. You don’t have to agree, you just have to work together to find solutions.”

Finalist Martha Gery is the founder and president of Milford Advocacy for the Homeless, a grassroots organization that directly provides meals, clothing, blankets, toiletries to people in need, besides partnering with barbers, healthcare professionals and more.

Gery is proud that “I’m able to extend kindness and love to others. To me that’s the most important part. Not to be too religious, but I feel very strongly that we’re put on this earth to serve each other, to be the hands and feet of God, and if we don’t do it, who will?”

For a full list of winners and finalists, plus Person of the Year interviews, look for the Stars of Delaware 2023 publication, inserted in the Delaware State News Sunday edition on Sept. 10, 2023. 



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