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Mayor’s Column: I was privileged to be part of the Sixth Annual Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club Community Awards Dinner

Voorhees Mayor

On Jan. 22, I was privileged to be part of the Sixth Annual Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club Community Awards Dinner at The Mansion. Hilary Platt was honored as the 2014 First Responder of the Year. Rachel Levinson received the First Selfless Student of the Year Award. Pastor Jeffrey Bills was honored as the Business Person of the Year and Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago was honored as the Citizen of the Year.

Hilary Platt is the coordinator of Project Sarah, a domestic abuse prevention program at the Jewish Family Children’s Services. She has a passion for preventing and raising awareness of domestic abuse in the suburbs. Hilary is also a domestic abuse response team advocate for Camden County.

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Rachel Levinson is a student at Eastern Regional High School. She is a member of the Success Club that works with special needs teens to include them in social events. Rachel’s selfless attitude embodies the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” and she has been a role model for her peers.

Jeff Bills is the Lead Pastor of Hope Church in Voorhees. He has been described by members of his congregation as “humble” and “down to earth” but he is a passionate preacher. Under his direction, Hope Church has established such programs as a food pantry, The Meeting Place for anonymous 12- step programs and Drive Thru-Prayer. Jeff is also a member of the Voorhees Public School District Key Communicators Committee.

Gloria Bonilla-Santiago is the founder and director of LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden. Since 1997, the school has given Camden students from infancy through high school an invaluable gift — a chance. LEAP Academy boasts a 100 percent graduation rate with every graduate moving on to college.

The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club has worked passionately and tirelessly since its inception in 2002 for the Voorhees Community. The group has donated thousands of dollars in scholarships to local high school students. They have also donated hundreds of food baskets and countless backpacks filled with school supplies to needy Voorhees families. The Club has provided meals for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House and is a fixture at Voorhees Community events, particularly Halloween in the Park. Each year the Club organizes and sponsors our local Egg Hunt.

The Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club meets every Thursday morning at 7:15 a.m. at Short Hills Restaurant and Deli at 486 Evesham Road in Cherry Hill. For more information about the Club visit www.voorheesbreakfastrotary.org.

On behalf of the residents of Voorhees and the Township Committee, thank you to the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club and congratulations to Hilary Platt, Rachel Levinson, Jeff Bills and Gloria Bonilla-Santiago. All embody the Rotary Motto of “Service Above Self.”

**The 2015 Relay for Life of Voorhees will be held from 6 p.m. on Friday, June 12 to 6 a.m. on Saturday, June 13 at Eastern Regional High School. Relay for Life brings people together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those who lost the fight and raise funds for the American Cancer Society to battle the dreaded disease. A Kick-Off rally will be held at the Voorhees Diner on Route 73 on Tuesday

Evening, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. Join us to begin building momentum for the event. To learn more about the Relay or to register for the event, visit www.relayforlife.org/voorheescamden.com or visit the Facebook page for Relay for Life of Voorhees.

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