The Middle Smithfield Township Board of Supervisors is pleased to announce that the 2015 MST Person of the Year is Chauly Younger, for championing Bushkill Outreach through her work with the MST Community Gardens Park and the “Grow a Row” program started by Parks & Rec Board Member Michele Dellavalle. Chosen from a selection of fine nominees by an independent panel of judges from academia, business, and the local clergy, the winner was first announced during the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Whispering Pines Banquet Hall.
Younger is a Penn State Master Gardener trainee and was recognized for contributing countless hours at the Middle Smithfield Township Community Gardens Park, assisting and teaching other gardeners, and promoted the “Grow a Row Program” introduced by Michelle Dellavalle, a MST Parks & Rec Board Member, resulting in over 150 pounds of fresh, organic produce for the Bushkill Outreach food pantry.
Younger covered her mouth in excitement and disbelief when announce the winner. Younger received a check for $2,000 toward the Bushkill Outreach food pantry. Kate Newman was in attendance with over a dozen volunteers from Bushkill Outreach, who all expressed their enthusiasm for the community’s continued support of the organization.
Wayne Witowski, the judge from the Pocono Record chosen by the Judge Selection Committee to represent the news media, was inspired by the nominees’ efforts for the community. “[Chauly Younger] shows a great talent and ability not only in farming,” he said, “but in encouraging and exciting the people around her to donate to the Bushkill Outreach, which gives the Coolbaugh Community Gardens Park even more purpose and meaning to its name.”
Michele Cacko, who is a team mom for East Stroudsburg Youth Association (ESYA) and also contributes her time to the Independent Biker’s Association’s annual KidsPeace Toy Run, was awarded $375 for each of her organizations. Tim O’Donnell was recognized for the children’s environmental learning program he created thought the Kiwanis Club of the Poconos –Daybreak. The Kiwainis Club was also provided with a $750 check. More information about each can be found online at .
The independent panel of judges was selected by a committee of the township’s three elected auditors (Joyce Fenical, Regina Ireland, and Angela Nevin) and the chair of the Person of the Year sub-committee (Craig Wetherbee.) The 2015 judges were: Pastor Jeff Brower of the Middle Smithfield Evangelical Presbyterian Church; Dr. Matt Connell of Northampton Community College; Laura Law, the 2014 Middle Smithfield Person of the Year; Jeff Weber, Professor at East Stroudsburg University; Wayne Witkowski, Editor of Pike & Monroe News.
The evening’s sponsor also contributed to the success of the event, from the wine tasting by Mountain View Vineyard and piano player sponsored by the Bushkill Group to Gold Sponsors King Spry, Herman Freund & Faul, SFM Consulting LLC, Sheeley Insurance, and T&M Associates; Silver Sponsors Matergia & Dunn and Gilmore Associates; Bronze Sponsors the Bushkill Group and Richards Tree Farm; and Raffle Prize sponsors Bushkill Group, Pocono Palace, Mountain Valley Vineyard, and Country Club of the Poconos Municipal Golf Course. Special thanks to resident and professional photographer Tony Collando for donating his photography services, and to the volunteers who helped make the community event possible.
The awards were announced just before dinner at the New Year’s Eve celebration at the Whispering Pines Banquet Hall in Country Club of the Poconos. For more information visit mstPersonoftheYear.com