Mayor’s Column: Voorhees Breakfast Rotary’s ninth annual Community Service Awards

Mayor Mignogna congratulations the selfless servicemen and women.

On Jan. 25, I was privileged to be part of the seventh annual Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club Community Awards Dinner at The Mansion. Karanveer Pannu was honored as the 2017 Voorhees Citizen of the Year. Glen Werner received the First Responder of the Year Award. Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice was honored as the Business of the Year. Rachel Waro received the Voorhees Selfless Student of the Year Award.

Karanveer Pannu is a student at Rutgers University, pursuing a Political Science Major with minors in Psychology and National Security. As a junior at Eastern Regional High School, Karanveer developed a capstone project to highlight bullying of Sikh-American children and to address the psychological impact of bullying a child. In his senior year, he published his first book, “Bullying of Sikh American Children: Through the Eyes of a Sikh American High School Student.” Since publishing his book, he has spoken at 30 venues and continues to speak about bullying, explaining that Sikh-American students are bullied at twice the national average.

Karanveer has interned with U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald. He credits his civil conscience to his Sikh faith that has anchored his life and his involvement with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts programs.

Glenn Werner joined the Voorhees Ambulance Corps in 1985. In 1987 he became a volunteer firefighter with the Ashland Fire Company #1 where he attained life member status for his years served. Glenn took a leave in 1990 to proudly serve in the United States Coast Guard and was honorably discharged in 1994 after serving his tour of duty. He returned to Voorhees Township and continued to serve with the Ashland Fire Company where he held the rank of Assistant Chief until the 1995 consolidation and establishment of the Voorhees Fire District. After consolidation, Glenn held the rank of Battalion Chief for nine years. Since 2004, Glenn has proudly served Voorhees Township as a full-time Emergency Medical Technician.

Glenn currently resides in Gibbsboro with his daughter, Rylee, and son, Nicholas, and volunteers for the Gibbsboro Fire Company where he holds the rank of Deputy Chief.

Rachel Waro is a senior at Eastern. Throughout her high school career, she has been involved in the Interact, National Honor Society and E.S.C.A.P.E. community service clubs. As a leader of these clubs, Rachel has served school, local and county communities through programs like the Senior Citizen Brunch, Foster Kids’ Breakfast with Santa and B.U.D.S. Dance. Her service also extends beyond these clubs where Rachel participates in Cathedral Kitchen, Cherry Hill Food Pantry, softball camps, pitching clinics and the Eastern Craft Show.

Rachel has received awards for outstanding service and leadership, accounting and English academic awards, Varsity Softball Scholar Athlete, South Jersey Girls Softball Association 2017 All-South Jersey All-Star, Olympic Softball All-Conference, Varsity Softball MVP, DECA Regional Finalist and one of the RYLA Conference Finalists.

Samaritan Healthcare and Hospice is South Jersey’s first and only independent, not-for-profit hospice. Samaritan has been caring for patients since the 1980s, and in 2017, established a presence on Route 73’s Medical Mile, becoming South Jersey’s first freestanding inpatient hospice. Samaritan is the regional leader in palliative care, providing relief from pain and its symptoms.

Samaritan Hospice services have received national DEYTA honors for quality and were recently reaccredited by the gold standard in health care — the Joint Commission. The organization’s four-star hospice care for veterans has attained the highest level of achievement in the national, “We Honor Veterans” program, an initiative of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Veterans Administration.

Since 2010, Samaritan has “adopted” a sister hospice in Kampala, Uganda through the Global Partners in Care program, sharing education and resources with an African organization making a difference in the treatment of HIV-AIDS, cancer and tuberculosis.

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 the Halloween Festival. 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 the Voorhees Diner on Route 73. 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 Karanveer Pannu, Glen Werner, Rachel Waro and Samaritan Healthcareand Hospice. All embody the Rotary Motto of “Service Above Self.”

** The Voorhees Police Department will be conducting its third annual Citizen’s Police Academy beginning on Thursday, March 8. The academy will meet on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., concluding with a graduation ceremony on May 17 (final dates TBA.) The program will offer our residents an inside exclusive look at the training and behind the scenes activities of the Voorhees Police Department. The academy is open to approximately 30 Voorhees residents who are 18 years old and older. Applicants will be required to successfully pass a background examination including warrant, NCIC, driver’s license checks and NJ and Interstate Criminal History checks. To apply, visit the police website at: www.vtpd.com/about-us/community-collaboration/citizen-police-academy/

The deadline for applications is Friday, Feb. 9 by 5 p.m. For more information about this program, please contact Lieutenant Bill Walsh at wwalsh@vtpd.com or (856) 882–1107.