Tish Colombi gets recognized for her years of community service

Tish Colombi has found ways to give back to Haddonfield in more ways than one, and clearly her neighbors have taken notice by naming her the recipient of the 2018 Alfred E. Driscoll Award for Community Service.

Some 1,800 miles from her hometown of Odessa, Texas, Tish Colombi has found ways to give back to Haddonfield in more ways than one, and clearly her neighbors have taken notice by naming her the recipient of the 2018 Alfred E. Driscoll Award for Community Service.

“She’s worked tirelessly to give back to the community as an elected official and as a community volunteer,” board of governors and head of the nomination committee Jack O’Malley said. “She didn’t just close up shop once she left office.”

The Alfred E. Driscoll Award for Community Service is presented by the Haddonfield Civic Association, bestowed on a Haddonfield resident who has exemplified volunteerism, encouraging others to make the community a better place.

Colombi said in the 28 years serving on the board of commissioners and as mayor of Haddonfield, she learned a great deal about what it takes to give back and be successful at helping the community. Colombi fondly recalls learning every inch about public works, a department she would oversee as commissioner, even dressing in uniform and riding to job sites with public works employees learning every facet of the job.

“I was not there for a title,” Colombi said. “I was there to run my department, and I needed them to teach me my job.”
During her time as mayor, she has recognized more than 600 women and their work and their contributions to Haddonfield.

“One of the things I am most proud of is the recognition of women in this town, and I made an effort to recognize them,” Colombi said.

In addition to finding ways to honor the hard work of women in the community, Colombi designated one day a week to listen to ideas circulating throughout town. As mayor, every Wednesday she would open the doors to Borough Hall for residents to meet with her and share any concerns or ideas with her personally.
“There was never a week where somebody didn’t come,” Colombi said.
When the Haddonfield Civic Association reached out to Colombi, informing her of the nomination, she was appreciative and shocked.

“I had no idea,” Colombi said.

Although Colombi was surprised, the community was not.
Colombi has continued to help improve her community, which has contributed to her recognition for the award.

Some of her notable contributions to Haddonfield include her role as a trustee of the Historical Society of Haddonfield; president and trustee of the First Presbyterian Church of Haddonfield; vice president of the Haddonfield Cultural Events Commission; director of the 1st Colonial Community Bank; and member of the Boxwood Arts Theater and Cultural Center executive committee, among others, according to The Haddonfield Civic Association.

“I felt it was my job to be where something was going on,” Colombi said. “You have to support all of the things going on in the community if you truly represent them. …I felt strongly about that.”

Colombi was instrumental in establishing the Pigtail Softball program in 1974, a group she would be active in for the next 25 years. Colombi has also worked to encourage hundreds of young women to learn about what it takes to hold positions in public office by helping girls participate in the Camden County League of Women Voters’ “Running and Winning” program, according to Haddonfield Civic Association.

When Colombi is not actively involved in her community, she can be found spending time with her husband, three daughters and eight grandchildren, who all thankfully live close by, she said. She is looking forward to staying actively involved in Haddonfield and paving the way for women everywhere to follow their dreams, no matter how big.

“The one word or trait I would use to describe Tish is ‘inspirational,’” O’Malley said.“Inspirational to every member of our community and especially our future female leaders.”

Colombi will be accepting her award on Thursday, April 26, at Tavistock Country Club. To purchase tickets for the event, go to www.haddonfieldcivic.com/event/annual-town-dinner-2018.