Citizens, organizations honored for improving Oxford community
● By Steven Hoffman
Carlos Hernandez, Day Roberts Iseminger, Roy Caudill, the employees of the Oxford Area Sewer Authority, Ruth Jenkins, Oxford Borough Council, and Ralph Purcell and Randy Phipps were this year’s recipients of the Citizen Recognition Awards that were handed out during the council meeting on Monday night.
Oxford mayor Geoff Henry, who established the Citizen Recognition Awards in 2006, led the award presentations. Henry said that handing out the Citizen Recognition Awards is always one of the highlights of the year. The awards were established as a way to recognize the individuals, businesses, and organizations that have made positive contributions to the Borough of Oxford and its citizens.
“They do what they do not for recognition, but to improve the quality of life for residents of Oxford,” Henry said.
This year's recipients all improve the Oxford community in a variety of different ways.
Roy Caudill was nominated by Neeley Spotts for, among other things, his role in helping to form the Kindness Counts in Oxford group. Spotts called Caudill an ambassador for Oxford.
According to Spotts, Caudill “...builds meaningful relationships with the people in our community, particularly the businesses, and he goes out of his way to spread the word about what they have to offer.”
Spotts also praised Caudill's work with the local church where, among other things, he has encouraged children during Vacation Bible School.
“Roy has a remarkable ability to connect with each child and bring out the best in them,” Spotts said. “It may sound trite, but I truly believe that he made a difference in their lives.”
Spotts added that Caudill “...never wavered in his commitment to spreading his message of faith and kindness―not only by word but in deed. With the founding of the Kindness Counts in Oxford initiative, he has packaged up and put a name on the way he has lived his life. Roy gives more of himself than could ever be imagined or expected. He has a unique ability to make everyone he meets feel that they count, that they are loved, and that they have the power to be better people and really make a change in their neighborhood and the world. Roy deserves all the praise we can send his way for the positive impact he has had, and continues to have, on the people of Oxford.”
Henry nominated Oxford Borough Council for the award. He noted that he has worked closely with the men and women who have served on borough council for more than 11 years.
“The men and women of the borough council have freely chosen to volunteer their time and talents to improve the quality of life for the residents of the Borough of Oxford,” Henry said. “The fruits of their labor and dedication are evident throughout the borough.”
Ralph Purcell and Randy Phipps were nominated for the award by Peggy Ann Russell. The Oaks Ministry received a $5,000 grant from the school Sisters of Notre Dame to build a deck and above-ground gardens for the Oaks home that provides a safe haven for vulnerable women in transition. The grant covered the cost of materials, but no the labor. Purcell and Phipps donated their time to do the work.
Ruth Jenkins was nominated by Phyllis Tester for her work protecting animals.
“Ruth goes out of her way day after day to find lost pets and to reunite them with their owners,” Tester said of Jenkins when making the nomination. “I have no idea how many pets she has found and returned. She personally purchased a scanner to scan animals that may have a chip. She has a big heart for all animals and understands the importance of pets and how that adds to the owners’ quality of life.”
Carlos Hernandez was nominated by Karen Packeri for his volunteer work with the Lighthouse Youth Center.
“Carlos has devoted much of his time to helping the Lighthouse Youth Center by cooking and assisting with the children. He helps get children to and from school as well. He is known throughout the neighborhood as someone who is always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. His volunteerism and sense of duty to the community is unsurpassed.”
Employees of the Oxford Area Sewer Authority were nominated by Peggy Ann Russell. According to Russell, while the sewer authority faced financial turmoil, the employees themselves continued to work through the challenges with an exemplary attitude. She lauded the employees for maintaining a professional and courteous demeanor as they worked with the management of the sewer authority, the board of directors, and local residents.
Day Roberts Iseminger, the owner of Daisy Mae Printing and Design, was nominated by Diane Hager. Hager commended Iseminger for holding many volunteer positions in the community.
“She has started or been a member in several capacities in booster clubs for various sports in the school district,” Hager said. “She is our current Oxford Area High School Hornets Football Booster President and is doing a wonderful job. Her dedication to the school, her friends, and the kids is remarkable. She also works tirelessly to help support the Oxford Area High School track team by organizing fundraisers and assisting the coaches with communications to the athletes and parents. Day is the kind of person that, if you have a team, you want her on it.”
Hager also noted that Iseminger opened her business on Third Street in Oxford, and makes a point to support other businesses by recommending that people visit other businesses in town.
According to Hager, Iseminger is “dependable and willing to help out with benefits for charity organizations and community events. Oxford is better and the lives of many people in our area are better because of her.”
The first Citizen Recognition Awards were handed out in 2007, and with the eight recipients this year, there have now been a total of 86 individuals, businesses, and organizations that have been recognized for improving the quality of life for borough residents.
Noting that this was the last year that Henry would be handing out the Citizen Recognition Awards―his third term as mayor ends this year and he is not seeking reelection―Caudill joked that the awards need to be rebranded with a short, catchy name, like the Tonys and the Emmys are. He suggested “The Geoffies,” in honor of Henry. Caudill then offered the serious suggestion that perhaps the awards could be renamed The Geoff Henry Citizen Recognition Awards moving forward.