WeHeartSBY held its second-ever awards event last week at Headquarters Live. Just like the first year, the event was a Salisbury Love Fest.
About 100 or so people crammed into the old firehouse bay were people clearly in love with Salisbury — the community, the people, the infrastructure, the problems, the challenges, the opportunities that await.
Awards (determined by online voting) were given to police officers and public servants, to nonprofits, and visual and performing artists.
WeHeartSBY is a nonprofit whose sole purpose for existing is to promote and celebrate all that is good about our community. Derick Weaver, WeHeartSBY’s Executive Director, is entirely dedicated to promoting Salisbury.
The night’s big winner was Chris Eccleston of Delmarva Veteran Builders. He, like many others who took the stage before him, became a bit teary when expressing thanks for his award — the WeHeartSBY Award.
The winners and nominees:
Public Servant Award
Public Servant Award –This is an individual who serves others in ordinary ways with extraordinary heart. The winner: Julia Glanz.
Glanz currently serves as the city’s Acting Administrator and says she counts herself lucky to be a part of the major decisions that will shape Salisbury’s future.
Among her out-of-the-box projects include planning the 2016 New Year’s Eve Ball Drop where fireworks were brought to Downtown Salisbury for the first time, last summer’s Shore Craft Beer Fest and the “pop-up park” in the alley next to the Brick Room.
Glanz wrote in response to her nomination: “There is so much positivity and energy here, you can feel it. This is a city of open-mindedness and opportunity, any idea that is brought forward is taken seriously and we have the community organizations, volunteers and government officials to support it and make it become a reality.”
The other nominees were the Downtown’s popular and friendly mail carrier, Dana James, and Downtown Bike Patrol Police Officer John Dimare Jr.
James has been a mail carrier in Salisbury for 22 years; Dimare, who also has a long tenure as a volunteer firefighter in Salisbury, spent almost 14 years as a Road Patrol Officer before being assigned to Downtown Salisbury.
The Public Servant Award was presented by Scott Malone, Malone Agency of Farmers Insurance.
Innovator Award — This individual sees a need and creatively meets it with skill and passion. The Winner: The Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
This sixth-month after-school program for students in middle and high school that helps them to launch their own real, fully formed and functioning business.
The program encompasses over 80 business professionals representing accounting, law, politics, manufacturing, marketing, nonprofits and more, who teach the curriculum, guest speak, host field trips and mentor students. Within the program, students create their own business plan for their product, service or nonprofit business.
The highlight of YEA! is the Investor Panel which is an event much like Shark Tank in which the students pitch to a panel of investors and ask for seed funding.
The other nominees were Jesse Campbell, founder of VizionCreative, and the popular Eric Ludwig, owner and operator of the Downtown Barbershop.
The Innovator Award was presented to Sophia Smecker by Greg Bassett of the Salisbury Independent.
Green Award — The recipient of the Green Award leads all endeavors with care of Salisbury’s environment at the forefront. The winners: Kacey and Doug Martin.
The Martins have helped with various GreenSBY projects related to developing community gardens and trying to be environmentally thoughtful in all the projects they participate in. Kacey Martin helped her office receive recognition in the Spring of 2016 from Stash Your Trash for being an environmentally friendly workplace with an office vegetable garden and recycling bins. Part of the city’s Green Team, they helped Salisbury in researching and organizing sustainable projects and updating internal procedures, which helped the city achieve the Sustainable Maryland Certificate.
The Martins wrote in response to their nomination: “Despite not knowing everyone in town, you never feel like a stranger here. People will go out of their way to act like neighbors and friends.”
The other nominees were Greg Zaczkiewicz, a local gardener who has created and organized the Downtown Salisbury farmer’s market, and the Stash Your Trash Project, which sponsored county-wide recyclable art projects.
The Green Award was presented by John Robinson of Robinson’s Family of Businesses.
Visual Artist Award
Visual Artist Award — This individual gives away their gifts to help beautify Salisbury. The winner: Susan Holt.
Holt is the Gallery Director and Art Instructor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
She is also a member of the Salisbury Arts and Entertainment District Committee and Chair of the Public Arts Sub-committee. She has been responsible for many public art projects over the years, including 10 steel sculptures permanently installed downtown, several wheat-paste murals on the Powell building, and the painting of three Downtown electrical boxes.
Holt wrote in response to her nomination: “I love how people in Salisbury value the process of building community.”
The other nominees were Amused Studios, a home grown pottery studio; and Chris McIntosh, a digital storyteller who lives and works in Downtown Salisbury.
The Visual Artist Award was presented by Alison Grice, Executive Director of Salisbury Art Space.
Performing Artist Award
Performing Artist Award — This individual uses the gift of music to connect to the community and cultivate love for Salisbury. The winner: Rock & Roll Revival.
Rock & Roll Revival has been a tradition for Salisbury’s residents for 18 years. More than the largest fundraising event for James M. Bennett High School’s Parent Teacher Student Association, this live show is a display of the vast young talent at JMB.
The other nominees were AMP Studios, which provides music for several Salisbury events such as 3rd Friday and 1st Saturday and this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration; and Salisbury University Squawkapella.
The Performing Artist Award was presented by Jamie Heater, Executive Director of the Arts & Entertainment District.
Public Safety Award
Public Safety Award — While most of the work goes unrecognized, this individual’s commitment to public safety protects the community of Salisbury and its open doors. The winner: Maryland State Police Cpl. Mike Porta.
Porta began his law enforcement career with the Salisbury Police Department in 2000. While employed with the city, he was also a U.S. Air Force Reserves member and served on Active Duty status for a year after 9-11.
He is assigned to the Salisbury Barrack in the Criminal Enforcement Division.
Porta wrote in response to her nomination:“I love my job mainly due to the fact that Salisbury has a small city feeling. Everyone looks out for one another and has each other’s backs when help is needed. I have not forgotten where I came from.”
The other nominees were Cpl. Matt Thompsen and Detective Keith Newcomer, both of the Salisbury Police Department.
The Public Safety Award was presented by Salisbury Mayor Jake Day.
Nonprofit Award — This nonprofit cares for the needs of Salisbury’s residents with creativity and faithfulness. The winner: Salisbury Jaycees.
The Salisbury Jaycees have been a force for positive change in Wicomico County and beyond since 1940.
Their most popular current events include the Salisbury Christmas Parade, Children’s Christmas Shopping Tour for less fortunate children, Treat Street safe Halloween trick-or-treating event in Downtown Salisbury and Read Across America at the Wicomico Public Library.
Beyond chapter-run projects like these, the Jaycees also participate in a number of other annual community events, raising money for the American Cancer Society through Relay For Life of Wicomico County and for The Village of Hope through The Great Clue Caper.
As part of the Adopt-a-School program, the chapter was able to fund and construct a reading garden for East Salisbury Elementary School in 2016.
The biggest mark of success the Jaycees have left in the area, however, has been the number of community leaders the chapter has produced. Multiple Salisbury and Wicomico County council members have been past Salisbury Jaycees, as have several former Salisbury mayors (as well as current Mayor Jake Day).
The other nominees were Salisbury Art Space and the Wheelhouse Bicycle Donation Hub.
The Nonprofit Award was presented by Ryan Weaver, Elder of Remedy Church.
Import Award — Although this person wasn’t born here, they have planted themselves in Salisbury and beautiful things have grown around them. The winner: Dr. James Buss.
As the new Dean of the Honors College at Salisbury University, and a recent import to Salisbury, Buss has worked to connect students to the community and vice versa.
Three years ago, SU began requiring Honors freshmen to participate in a community engagement project, whereby they reach out to members of the community, conduct research on a local issue, and take action.
Since starting this program, more than 350 SU students have gone out into the community to learn more about Salisbury and help their fellow citizens.
As someone who believes that you teach by example, Dr. Buss too took the challenge to get more involved by taking students to God’s Kitchen and Salisbury Urban Ministries to volunteer with renovations, by working on the city’s Green Team.
Buss wrote in response to his nomination: “It’s exciting to see so many people dedicate themselves to make the city an even better place to live. From the first day that I arrived in Salisbury just a few years ago, Salisbury felt like home.”
The other nominees were Laura Kordzikowski of the Downtown Salisbury Visitor Center, and Jamie Heater, Executive Director of the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District.
The Import Award was presented by Ethan Wilson of Kuhn’s Jewelers.
Unsung Hero Award
Unsung Hero Award — This behind the scenes individual faithfully loves and serves Salisbury. The winner: Douglas Draper Sr.
Draper is the Parks Supervisor in the Public Works Department for the City of Salisbury. For more than 25 years, he has been a faithful steward of Salisbury’s parks and Downtown Plaza.
His father, William Draper, was an officer for the Salisbury Police Department whose beat was Downtown.
He enjoys interacting with the people on the Plaza while planting flowers and seeing his family who lives downtown. Whether it’s caring for the needs of local residents, planting fresh herbs on the Plaza, monitoring the park, or plowing snow through the night, Draper has left an inspiring mark on Salisbury’s landscape and people.
Draper wrote in response to his nomination: “There are a lot of unsung heroes in the Public Works Department. I don’t do this stuff by myself, you know. There are a lot of good people here.”
The other nominees were Scott Malone, who for the past four years has organized the Christmas Tree Lighting to help boost Downtown Salisbury; and Alison Pulcher, co-founder and Event Coordinator for Salisbury Hero Day.
The Unsung Hero Award was presented by Brad Gillis and Joey Gilkerson of Devreco.
The WeHeartSBY Award
The WeHeartSBY Award — This individual’s work shows their big heart for Salisbury and aligns with WeHeartSBY’s mission to cultivate love for our City and engage strategic efforts for Salisbury to thrive. The winner: Chris Eccleston.
Eccleston volunteers with Operation We Care, Winter Wonderland of Lights and the project to paint all the power transformers in Downtown Salisbury. He was Chairman of the Tri-County Boy Scouts Annual Prayer Breakfast the past two years.
He currently serves on the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Wicomico County Board of License Commissioners, Greater Salisbury Committee, Lower Shore Enterprises Board of Directors and is a member of the Sunrise Rotary Club.
Eccleston wrote in response to his nomination: “Our people love each other and will answer the call when needed. That to me is worth all the love in the world! It’s my home and I want it to be the best it can possibly be. I want everyone to say ‘I live in Salisbury’ with pride!”
The other worthy nominees were Donna Haag, Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Salisbury; and Dave Ryan, Executive Director of Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development.
The ultimate award was presented by Derick Weaver, Executive Director of WeHeartSBY, and Katie Weaver.
Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at email@example.com