The Middletown Township Public Library (MTPL) recognized members of the community for their service and dedication to Middletown with four awards at its Black & White Masquerade Gala on Oct. 28 at Jacques Reception Center.
The Joyce Murphy Imagination in Education Award, presented in memory of MTPL Children’s Department employee Joyce Murphy, recognizes an individual who shares her inherent kindness, joy and creativity in their interactions with children and supports children’s reading to strengthen their creativity, language, learning and overall well-being. This award was presented to Craig Palmer, who embodies these values in his role as principal of St. Mary’s School.
The Outstanding Philanthropist Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the best of this caring and generous community and has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to long-term positive change through exemplary care, empathy and generosity within the Middletown community. This award was presented to Tony Panzica, a longtime Middletown resident who has been recognized for his unwavering support and passion to help others, exemplified by his work distributing supplies to those in need during Superstorm Sandy. He has also been a significant benefactor to the Middletown World Trade Center Memorial Gardens and has helped fund improvements in honor of the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11.
The Business Generosity Award recognizes a Middletown-based business that embodies an overall spirit of giving through contributions of time, leadership and resources in support of local nonprofits. This award was presented to the Saker family, the owners and operators of Saker ShopRites. They support their communities through a variety of fundraising efforts, including participation in the Check-Out Hunger program, the Vision of Children Foundation to combat childhood blindness, the Joan Dancy and Pals organization to support those suffering from ALS, and their continued support of New Jersey food banks.
The Historic Preservation Award recognizes an individual or an organization who has been an outstanding advocate for historic preservation in our community through projects or programs. This award was presented to the Friends of Cedar View Cemetery for their work restoring and cleaning up the historic Cedar View Cemetery.
The Black & White Masquerade Gala was the kickoff event for MTPL’s Reimagining Your Library Campaign. In addition to the awards presentation, a cash raffle and a silent auction were part of the event. All the evening’s proceeds will go toward the library’s planned internal redesign.