The Haddonfield Civic Association’s 2023 town dinner on Thursday, April 20 recognized Kathy and Dennis Tully for their service in the town with the Alfred E. Driscoll Community service Award for their service in the community.
Over the course of their lives, they have worked in tandem to support different areas of the community – Kathy served as a member of the Haddonfield Lacrosse Boosters and worked as a fundraiser and promoter while Dennis was a volunteer lacrosse coach for 13 years, also coaching youth baseball and basketball.
Dennis volunteered his time to serve on the School Security Council and provided school property security analysis pro bono for all Haddonfield school properties and Kathy established the Haddonfield Memorial High School (HMHS) Drama Club Booster Club to raise significant funds to help keep the club afloat during the pandemic. Though their volunteering is certainly a time commitment, they continue to inspire each other through their love of service and helping other people.
“She inspires me because she does it 24/7,” Dennis said of his wife, acknowledging the times Kathy has responded to calls for help with fundraising or giving advice or time to people even when she doesn’t know them.
And “he’s selfless,” Kathy said of Dennis, acknowledging that he will be out coaching lacrosse as a volunteer four nights a week, and he takes it seriously.
Through their service, the couple reflected on the things they’ve gained from it.
“It’s taken a lot of time, but it’s time well spent because look at the turnout tonight – the wonderful friends we’ve made, literally from every group of people in town we have friends,” Dennis said. “It really has impacted us, because we reach out to them for help and we also know they’re available to us 24/7.”
“It’s a very unique environment living in a community like this, that people are all so passionate and willing to help each other,” Kathy added. “It’s easy to give back when people are all willing to do the same for you.”
In addition to honoring the couple, the Haddonfield Civic Association also presented awards to three high school students.
The Bradshaw Literary Award was presented to senior Joseph Keegan, who had written an essay in response to the question, “In what ways does Haddonfield prepare you to mature into civic minded, engaged citizens ready to use your time, talents and passion for the betterment of the community?”
His essay – available to read on the Haddonfield Civic Association website – touched on the ways he has given back to the community – how he began spreading positivity through making posters with supportive messages and putting them up around his school and how he created a social media account titled “Forever4U” that focused on mental health as well as a text chain of around 90 people to send bi-weekly supportive messages to his peers.
“I like to send different messages reminding you to love yourself and different ways to cope with anxiety or having overwhelming thoughts,” Keegan said. “It’s helped me because when I send a message, it’s most likely what I need to hear myself too.”
HMHS senior Pilar Caruso received the Quanci Visual Arts Award for her art of Hopkins Pond. She incorporated pieces of trash that she had picked up from around the area.
“I have grown right across the pond, so I always went on walks there and I just have a deep appreciation for that,” she said. “ … It makes me really sad when I see the pond not being cared for in the way it should be because it does provide a lot of joy for people, lots of people go on walks around it, so I wanted to give back around it and what better way than through art?”
Celia Wojcik was also awarded the Kaufmann Performing Arts award. She plays violin with the high school’s string orchestra and the oboe, and has previously performed in the Symphony in C Orchestra, Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and Philadelphia Symphonia. Her high school music teacher shared that in his 35 years, Wojcik was the first of his students to be accepted into Julliard.
To learn more about the award recipients, visit https://haddonfieldcivic.com/annual-town-dinner/2023-hca-scholarship-awards/.