During this year’s Pine Barrens Festival, Shamong resident Jeff Siedlecki was honored for his service to the community through the festival’s Volunteer Service Awards.
Every year, the festival honors an individual or group from each of the Pinelands’ five towns; Medford, Southampton, Woodland, Shamong and Tabernacle.
Siedlecki has served the community in many ways throughout the years. As a business owner, he considers himself lucky to be able to have such a flexible career that gives him time to work on other ambitions.
“It gives me the time to look for opportunities and to commit my time to helping the community,” said Siedlecki.
He was a Shamong Foundation for Educational Excellence trustee for more than eight years, helping to raise more than $100,000 for the foundation. According to him, that was when his school involvement began.
Four years later, in 2006, he started serving on the Shamong Township Board of Education. He is still an active board member.
As a leader in Boy Scouts of America, he has served in several capacities and created the Christmas Tree Recycling program for Boy Scout Troop 47, which raised funds for summer camp and created an ecological initiative. This program earned him the Hornaday Award from BSA, a nationally recognized award given for ecological projects.
“There’s only a few of them handed out nationwide, so it’s probably one of the biggest ones we were ever given locally,” said Siedlecki.
His many hours of volunteer service allowed him to receive the President’s National Volunteer Service Award from President Bush in 2004, and from President Obama and the Freedom Corporation in 2009.
He is a member of the Holy Eucharist Church and participates in the Knights of Columbus, Eucharistic Ministers, the Wine Fest and the Pine Barrens Festival.
“We at Holy Eucharist are so grateful to Jeff for his creativity and building skills which he so generously shares with us, particularly in Adult and Youth Faith Formation. Jeff is the leader for our teenage youth program which focuses on faith development and social justice issues. We, teenagers, parents and adult team members, are so very blessed to be the recipients of his leadership and organizational skills,” said Jessica Garrett, a spokesperson for the church.