Home Medford News Medford resident’s work on Dr. James Still property earns her Volunteer of...

Medford resident’s work on Dr. James Still property earns her Volunteer of the Year


A Medford volunteer who led the charge to restore one of Medford’s most famous historic sites has received recognition herself.

Medford Historical Society member Janet Carlson Giardina received a “Volunteer of the Year” award at the Pine Barrens Festival on Monday night. Giardina was the recipient of the award for Medford Township. Each town participating in the festival selects one person for the recognition each year.

Township council decided to name Giardina the recipient after a discussion during its meeting on July 15. The council decided to give Giardina the honor after discussing how she led the effort to create the Dr. James Still Education Center and Historic Site on Church Road.

“This year, particularly, she’s done a lot of work for the historical society,” Councilman Randy Pace said.

Giardina was surprised she received the recognition. She enjoyed meeting the festival’s organizers.

“They couldn’t be more gracious and friendly,” she said. “I was overwhelmed with how much they paid attention to me.”

Despite receiving the recognition, Giardina is more for the numerous volunteers who helped to renovate and restore the Dr. Still house. It was on Martin Luther King Day of Service in 2013 when a group of volunteers began the restoration process for the property.

Today, the site is a full-fledged education center regularly hosting community events. The Medford Historical Society is looking at renovating Still’s home next to the education center and re-opening it to the public in the near future.

Without the many volunteers joining her, Giardina realizes the education center would have never come to fruition.

“I’m looking at it as all of the volunteers were recognized at the presentation,” she said. “I’m really a team player. We all have different gifts and ideas. That’s how I approached things my entire life.”

Money has been the toughest hurdle for the education center. The center operates on a tight budget consisting mainly of donations from local residents, businesses and other organizations.

To help keep the center operating, the historical society relies on the efforts of volunteers as well as sponsorship during events. Last week, the center announced it is hosting the first annual Pinelands Jazz Festival on Saturday, Sept. 13 and has been looking for sponsors and vendors for the event. Radwell International was the first to step up to the plate, signing on for a $500 sponsorship for the event, and Giardina hopes other businesses will follow suit.

The Dr. Still office is not the only project Giardina with which has volunteered. She has also been a volunteer with Medford Works, an organization supporting the success of growth of the township’s Main Street business district. Giardina has also done projects with the Pinelands Garden Club.

Despite these other projects, the education center seems to resonate the most with the Medford community. Giardina hopes residents continue to support the site for years to come.

“It is a source of community pride that the center has come so far with the limited amount of community funding,” she said. “There is a focus on the Dr. Still Center, and it’s happening with community pride.”

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