By Karie Simmons

Mayor Polly Sierer presented six members of the community with Jefferson Awards during a ceremony last week at Home Grown Café.

Nic DeCaire, owner of Fusion Fitness, was recognized for his philanthropy and for founding the Main Street Mile, which has raised more than $80,000 for the Newark Police Department’s K-9 officers since 2007.

Resident Robin Broomall was awarded for her involvement with the Newark Morning Rotary Club and Downes Elementary School Homework Club. She also serves on the board of the Delaware Academy of Science and volunteers for its Iron Hill Museum, Archeology Festival and Scout Merit Badge program.

James P. Flynn, described as a “pillar of public service,” received a Jefferson Award for his work at the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration, School of Public Policy and Administration and Human Resources office for 35 years. Flynn has also made a difference in the community through various projects such as Blue Collar Task Force and Delaware Youth Opportunities Initiative.

As an employee and volunteer with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for 38 years, Donna Draper assisted with Community Day, Liberty Day, the Halloween Parade, the Memorial Day Parade and Safety Town. She was honored with a Jefferson Award for her work and also for volunteering more than 25 hours a week with White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, UD’s Alpha Xi Delta sorority and Friends of the Bear Library.

James Allen Lawrence was recognized for his work as an employee in the city’s electric department. He retired in March, but during his more than 43 years with the city, Lawrence was a part of and directly managed the development of the modern electrical grid that Newark operates on today.

Lastly, Maddie Milligan, a senior at Newark High School and co-president of the Newark High School Students in Action team, was given a Jefferson Award for collecting sleeping bags and funds for the homeless. Last summer, Milligan went on a trip to Peru, where she volunteered at a local orphanage while also holding a Vacation Bible School for the local children.

Sierer said she was proud of the six award winners and what they represent.

“They don’t do it to get awards; they do it because they care about their community,” she said. “But in that same breath, they deserve to be recognized and it spreads the word about all the good things people are doing in the city.”

The April 30 ceremony was the first time the Jefferson Awards were presented in a separate ceremony. Typically, nominees are recognized in council chambers prior to a regular meeting, but Sierer said she wanted to mix things up.

“I thought it should be a celebration,” she said.

During the ceremony, Sierer also recognized several students from Glasgow High School, the Homeschool Group, The Independence School, Keene Elementary School, Networks School for the Entrepreneurial Sciences, St. Mark’s High School and University of Delaware for their service in the community through the LEAD360 Challenge.

This year in Delaware, there was a total of 41 service projects submitted statewide. The city of Newark’s nine projects engaged roughly 2,000 volunteers, contributed 625 hours of service and impacted 3,500 lives. This had a financial impact of $14,094 to the city and surrounding areas.


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