Better Delmarva Award Winners

January 2019-Moira Tews

Moira Tews, Sussex Central High School senior, received the January WMDT/Moutaire Better Delmarva Award for her community service work providing clothing for military veterans in need.

Despite her near-death accident at the beginning of the school year and ongoing medical needs, Moira continues to provide leadership in the organization she founded, the Warm Heroes Project. She is a scholastic leader in the classroom and active participant in other service-oriented church and community programs.

Her scholastic and vocational ambition to police the cybersecurity field stems from her strong belief to provide prevention systems against those who would abuse unsuspecting computer users. “Whether it be in the military for national security or in the local community, we need to be aware of identity theft and other computer abuses,” Moira said.

December 2018-Patricia Rivera

Patricia Rivera received the December WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award for her passion for those in the Delmarva community, who she claims are often misunderstood and stereotyped.

The Bolivia native and “changemaker” is a 25-year Delmarva veteran and happy to see the Latino community evolve and become vibrant. Her extended hand to those in need of education and the results of her involvement are a testament to her belief that immigrant children grow up to become leaders in education and healthcare. “I think it’s testament to the American dream,” she said. “You come here, work hard and give back to the community, as I see them do.”

Doing the right things where she lives, works, plays and prays, Patricia Rivera is deserving of the Better Delmarva Award.

November 2018-Blanch Baker

Mrs. Blanch Baker, age 96, lifelong Millsboro resident and community activist, is the November WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award winner for her continued giving on Delmarva and within the town of Millsboro. Although slowed by her lean-on walker, the daughter of former Senator John J. Williams (for whom Route 24 is named) is on the road daily helping at Beebe hospital and providing for those in need of food, shelter, and clothing at her church.

“I am honored to receive this award,” she said, “and I will continue to serve this wonderful community as long as the good Lord will allow me.”

October 2018-Colby Johnson

Sixteen-year-old Colby Johnson was the recipient of the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award for his dedication to Mountaire’s Thanksgiving for Thousands Thanksgiving food drive.

Last year, as a high school sophomore, Colby assisted Mountaire’s Community Relations Manager Roger Marino in the food drive and was convinced that he wanted to do even more in 2018. He has set up food partnerships in Delaware schools, bank buildings, churches, and the Milford Police Department; with the help of Milford’s mayor, Archie Campbell, he has also placed boxes in the city hall. Colby will collect more than 1,500 lbs. of food due to his altruistic efforts.

September 2018-Patti Tingle

The September Mountaire better Delmarva Award was presented to Patti Tingle, executive director at the Bay Center for Independent Living in Salisbury.

Patti’s career providing the expertise, care, and assistance to senior citizen organizations goes back 30 years, and she now directs hundreds of citizens by providing independent living services for the aging with disabilities. Her knowledge, passion, and compassion for those in need is reason for both the fast growth of this organization and for her Better Delmarva Award.

August 2018-Will Kenney

Will Kenney accepts the WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award for his compassionate work raising thousands of dollars to benefit local people suffering from life-threatening illnesses.
Will began his venture into the medical benefits arena at the age of 11. On October 14, he will have completed four carnival fundraising events entitled Will’s Carnival For a Cause, held at the ChickBerry Farms off route 24 in Laurel, Delaware. Kenney’s passion and compassion for those who are ailing stems from his awareness of neighborhood friends and family suffering from illness titles most are not familiar with.
A junior scholastic athlete with a 4.357 GPA, Will feels it his honor and duty to help neighbors who are hurting, and the Carnivals were created. The first two carnivals benefited the Sturge-Weber Foundation, and the third benefited both Sturge-Weber Foundation and Dysautononia International. This year’s Carnival will again be held at the ChickBerry Farm in September and is benefiting the Alana Rose Foundation. Visitors will be treated to 39 games, food, entertainment, guest appearances, pony rides, hay rides, a silent auction, Chinese Auction, duck train, bounce house, petting zoo, rock-climbing wall, and karate contest. Most of the games have been made by Will and his dad.
Will Kenney’s final carnival, before he goes off to college, will be held next year to benefit Autism. “I think all young people should think about helping neighbors in their community,” says a humble Will Kenney. “Think how much healthier the world would be.”

July 2018-Cpl. John Ryall

Corporal John Ryall, 45-year veteran of the Laurel Police Department who joined the department at age 19, received the WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award at the Laurel Town Office during a retirement celebration.

Ryall is best known for his love for people and interaction with children, often donning a variety of costumes for their entertainment during special events. Following his retirement in the fall, John will continue to serve the Laurel community on a part-time schedule. His motto is: “Be good to people and love your job.”

June 2018-Steve Smith

Steve Smith, Millsboro Christian Storehouse manager, is the June recipient of the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award.

A small group of Christian volunteers banded together 24 years ago to provide clothing to those in need. Today, the organization has expanded facilities over a half-block of territory in Millsboro, providing food, shelter, clothing, furniture, financial aid, and medical referral services.

The band of volunteers has expanded to dozens of capable men and women under Smith’s guidance, managing the multitude of products and services at no cost to those in need. The organization continues to grow with public donations. Smith states, “We do not receive, nor do we seek government assistance.”

May 2018-Laurie Hall

The May WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award was presented to Laurie Hall, art teacher at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, for implementing the student creative art project in the halls of the Selbyville Elementary School.

Thanks to Laurie Hall’s creative art genius, the long walls at the elementary school have been transformed into a history lesson, painted by the elementary school students under the supervision of their art teacher.

The walls tell a painted story of Sussex County evolution, from the beginning of time when Selbyville was inhabited by dinosaurs, through town agriculture economics, fires, the beginning of the chicken industry and its economic growth, and today’s technology.

Walk the halls at Phillip C. Showell Elementary School where students and teachers are eager to share their local history and not a paper page has to be turned.


The April WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award was presented to the Delaware Seaside Railroad Club.

The Delaware Seaside Railroad Club formed in 2004 in Ocean View with four members and has since grown to 70 people, with members coming from all different parts of the country and all walks of life. Their mission is to preserve and promote the history and hobby of model railroading, whether they are teaching school children how to design and build a model railroad or holding community workshops and displays.

Mountaire is proud to support an organization that will support an educational and entertaining technology for entire family participation.

March 2018-Selbyville Community Club

Jackie Bates, chairwoman of the Selbyville Community Club, accepts the WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award and Mountaire’s financial contribution from Roger Marino, Mountaire Community Relations Director, during the Fourteenth Annual Arts in the Community Program.

The Community Club’s activities focus on community service, education, fellowship and diversity.

In cooperation with the Selbyville Town Council and the Selbyville Public Library, the March student art show is a forum for Selbyville area and local home-school students to display their creative talents. Two hundred art pieces were hung and displayed for judging at the Selbyville Library thanks to the artistic talent of 184 students in the Indian River School District.

February 2018-Major John D. Black

Major John D. Black, a 30 year-veteran of the United States Army and Captain of the Salisbury Fire Department, received the February WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award. Major Black has served his country on the battlefield and is now positioned in the Delmarva region to assist veterans returning from oversees to a level of normalcy. Major Black helps veterans find jobs and housing, as well as provides counseling referrals to mental health services. He is the serviceman who “has been there,” working countless hours behind the scenes with an extended hand to those who have served this country well.

JANUARY 2018-Barbara Ann Purnell

Barbara Ann Purnell, Berlin’s Citizen of the Year, is considered a community activist of the highest order. However, her many years of work reconstructing the Germantown school for the community of Germantown, South Berlin is what will long be remembered as a contribution to Delmarva and the world. As chairperson of the Germantown School Community Heritage Center, Barbara, with a committee of hard workers, has succeeded in creating an awareness of one of the first black learning institutions on Delmarva.

Her activist hats are many, all for the betterment of the community. “We need to let jour children know where they came from so that they can know where they are going in this country of opportunity,” she reports to all who come to the schoolhouse historical center to which she and many community members owe their success.


Two young men saw the benefit of Young Life as early-age participants and now lead the Eastern and Western divisions of Delmarva. Windsor and Moss are strong in their belief that Young Life is about building relations with kids and people who care about them: “Kids don’t care what you know until they know how much you care!” The organization’s goal is to lead kids to discover their direction and plan for life, and it is open for memberships to kids of all ages and genders.


Millsboro Delaware Chief of Police, Brian Calloway, accepted the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award in November on behalf of his 14-member law enforcement staff for their dedication to community service in Millsboro and neighboring areas. “We are here to serve the all the residents of our community in any way they express a need, whether it be for enforcement or encouragement,” the 20 -year member of the local police force said.

Recently, the entire force distributed Halloween candy during their Halloween Family Night in town. During the Christmas season, the department participates in the Santa House. Throughout the year, they are on call to protect and provide for Millsboro and its residents.

October 2017-Troy Purnell

Troy Purnell, the founder of Gotta Be a Better Way Foundation (GBABW) in Seaford, DE, is the October Mountaire Better Delmarva Award recipient.

Founded in 2013, GBABW strives to encourage people to have faith in their abilities; utilize their gifts; and focus on their dreams.

Purnell focuses his efforts on the low income community’s young people, who often face life’s challenges with little information or experience, by attempting to bridge the gap between the youth and their elders. Troy shares his personal experiences so that the children he mentors might have better insight and make smarter choices when facing difficult decisions.

The foundation also coordinates Christmas toy drives, feeds the homeless, and sponsors children to participate in sports programs in an effort to provide safe, constructive outlets and help keep them off the streets.

September 2017-Evangeline Keaton

The September Better Delmarva Award was presented to Evangeline Keaton, life-long resident of Frankford, DE, and co-founder of the St. Frances Pantry Project, a program that supports members of the community in need of physical and financial assistance. Evangeline and her brother, Dr. Vincent Mumford, founded this organization in memory, and to continue the good work, of their mother, who spent a lifetime contributing to the low-income and disabled residents in Frankford.

The bowling-for-dollars tournaments, organized by Evangeline and Dr. Mumford, have become popular fundraising events on the peninsula and help benefit the St. Frances Pantry Project.

August 2017-Jasmine Finney

A twelve-year-old rising star from Beacon Middle School in Rehoboth Beach, Jasmine Finney, is the recipient of the August Mountaire Better Delmarva Award.

At the age of five, Jasmine began collecting toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, socks and hats to donate to homeless members of the community. That volunteer effort has since evolved to include her classmates, as her fellow members of the Big Brother Big Sister program began helping to distribute the collected items to the elderly, homebound and less fortunate in support of her work.

Jasmine is also active in Beacon Middle School jazz band and chorus, Minority Engineer Regional Incentive Program for gifted students and the West Rehoboth children and youth program.

July 2017-Jeffrey Crouser

The American Legion Delaware Department Commander, Jeffrey Crouser, received the July Better Delmarva Award for his organization of the Delaware Legion Riders, Post members who travel throughout the state performing volunteer acts for those in need.

Jeffrey recognized the opportunity to create a travelling crew that is recognized by state, local and community organizations as a non-profit asset to the State of Delaware. Through his efforts, dozens of riders from multiple Delaware Legion Posts organize community events and provide food, shelter and clothing for less fortunate residents as part of a monthly touring schedule.

June 2017-Joanne Doyle

Joanne Doyle, is a retired Salisbury area librarian, community educational leader, humanitarian and literary communications organizer. She is the active organizer of the Great Books Poetry Society which teaches reading skills to 500 participants that meet weekly.

Joanne began The Association for Lifelong Learning (ALL), a nonprofit volunteer organization of Lower Eastern Shore, for residents age 50+ who are interested in continuing to learn and explore ideas through seminar style noncredit courses. With support from the Salisbury University Foundation, ALL began its program in Spring 2012 with 66 members. By the Spring semester of 2017 ALL had grown to 227 members and a total enrollment of 545 participants in sixteen courses. ALL is continuing its program in the Fall of 2017 with seventeen course offerings. www.associationforlifelonglearning.org

May 2017 – Joe Lear

At the age of 92, Joe Lear is actively leading a variety of bands and groups for performing at benefits, hospitals and national holiday celebrations throughout the year. Each group is designed in size and talent to play music arrangements from American Composers to Downtown Dixieland.

During the past 26 years, Joe has had the pleasure to play with roughly four hundred musicians from ages 13 to 90. “I love people and music and what the sounds can do for those who listen”, says the affable Joe Lear. “It’s a perfect fit.”

April 2017 – Jack Mills

Jack Mills, president of the Somerset County Humane Society is the April recipient of the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award. Since retiring from a Federal Government position Mills has grown the non-profit, self-sufficient organization to a dozen of volunteers that care for local stray animals, mostly cats, left on the streets to die. His hours are long with fundraising efforts  and collecting the stray cats taking them to Baltimore where they are to be neutered, spayed and medicated. “None are put to sleep,” says this hard working volunteer. Under his direction and dedication working more than 8 hours per day, the group accounts for 1,000 cats a year who receive care and many are placed in homes to live out their life as pets. 

March 2017- Rosie Garlitz

Rosie has served the American Legion Post 166 In Ocean City for 8 years along with the Women’s Auxiliary in every leadership position available on the local level, most positions on the State and Federal levels.  A dedicated community servant, Rosie mentors young people in leadership training. Her volunteer activities include: Maryland’s Auxiliary President, 5 terms: Unit 166 National Security Chair; Education Chair; Community Service Chair; Junior Advisor Chair and fundraising chair on the local level. She is an active member of the Boy Scout Troop 266, Ocean City and the Vietnam Veterans of American chapter 1091 Ocean City.

February 2017 – Tom Baker

Tom Baker, a Georgetown guitarist/maker developed the non-profit entity, Frets4Vets on Delmarva when it became evident to him that veterans suffering from the rigors of combat and other post military problems needed a physical and mental outlet. An accomplished musician, he chose the guitar to be his passion and offered his talents to those who needed an escape from their day-to-day pressures. He designs, builds and donates the guitars all the while providing lessons to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other post military issues. 


January 2017 – Mary Rio

“No youngster should go without clothing,” that is the motto of, Mary Rio. Who in 2012, founded Clothing Our Kids. The organization is 100 percent staffed with volunteers that provide clothing, shoes and coats to at risk elementary school children throughout Sussex County. With the help of her husband and now more than 100 volunteers, they have been able to provide 51,981 items to 9,802 children to date. Their goal is to ensure that no child, in the 33 Sussex County elementary schools, ever misses a day of school or suffers from low self-esteem because he or she does not have proper clothing or shoes to walk to school in.

December 2016 – Dave Duitscher

December’s Better Delmarva Award winner Dave Duitscher is a self-described “widower who couldn’t stay at home.”  And the Salisbury area couldn’t be more thankful that Dave didn’t stay at home.  He is a pillar in the community who cannot do enough for the people around him.

Twenty-four hours in the day are not enough for this man.  He travels daily to his church to feed those in need, he works in conjunction with the American Legion to help wounded veterans in local and Baltimore hospitals and he serves as Chaplain at the Holly Center.

The one area, however, that really makes this man take pause is his work as Chaplain for patience in Hospice.  With tears in his eyes, he explains that at times, he may come home exhausted emotionally and physically but if this is one way to make someone’s day a little bit better, than it’s a beautiful day.

We are extremely pleased to present the Mountaire Better Delmarva Award to Dave Duitscher, a good man doing all the right things.

November 2016 – Ron Draper

When Ron Draper retired from the Delaware State Auditor’s office he took on the voluntary work of, President of the Delaware State Fair where he works tirelessly with the many directors, staff members and community volunteers to provide improved features and techniques, as well as maintaining excellence to the services, that in the past have proved a success to fair visitors. Earning him this year’s national award for third best State Fair in America.


October 2016 – Murray Shores

For 52 years, Murray Shores has been an active, working member of the Fruitland Lions Club. Always ready to lend a helping hand in his community, Murray is known and loved by all. “I don’t have much, he says, but what I do have I am more than willing to share “. He has been a supporter of his church and its community activities for the past 35 years, helping those who need hospital transportation, a bed, wheelchair, food, clothing and the Lions specialty, eyeglasses. There isn’t a community project that Murray Shores hasn’t been a key contributor to. “I will be available to help anyone in need whenever and wherever I am called and will continue to do so until I am called by a higher being”. Sure words from a man who says he’s so happy about his surroundings, he doesn’t plan on going anywhere too soon.



September 2016-Cheryl Mitchell

Ten years ago Cheryl Mitchell launched “Lunch with a Purpose”. It started out with nine Sussex County women joining her for a monthly lunch and has become a huge success with over 700 in the group to date. Approximately 200 women attend the monthly luncheon to support the selected charity and to donate items needed to the organization. In addition to raising awareness to local charities, the women collect food items that are donated to the Delaware Food Bank. Since its inception in 2006, the group has raised more than $66,000 between monetary and tangible donations and over 7,300 lbs. of food for the food bank.

Cheryl is a dedicated advocate of fostering the dignity and quality of life for those who need and for those who can be of assistance. She fully endorses Margaret Meads wise philosophy: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

August 2016 – Joan Yeatman

For 25 years, Joan Yeatman has been volunteering day and night to serve her church community at St. John’s Neumann Church in Berlin, Maryland. The clergy and members at the growing church don’t ever remember her walking away from a challenge. Whether it is to sit at homes with those who are unable to be mobile, feeding the homeless, working in a Berlin nursing home, passing out lunches to hospital patients, running errands for shut-ins or helping out at the Diakonia Thrift Store. At the age of 79, she isn’t about to slow down. “I will continue this pace until the Lord sees it fit to call me somewhere else”, says the woman who claims volunteering isn’t an option, it’s a requirement to serve our fellow man.

July 2016 – Richard Sames

At 86, Richard Sames is the second oldest active member of the Boy Scouts of America in Delaware. During his 74 years he earned the rank of Eagle Scout as well as the District Order of Merit, the very coveted Silver Beaver Award, the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, the James E. West and the 1910 Society and Heritage Awards. In 2012, Richard was recognized by Governor Markell along with both houses for his 70 plus years with the organization. Along with his undying dedication to Boy Scouting, he has also volunteered his time as a Rape Crisis Counselor, is a member of the Board of Directors for Milford Chamber of Commerce and the Senior Milford Patrol with the Milford Police Department. He also spends time helping the American Legion, Korean Veterans Association, and Elks Lodge (where he helped with the Scout Venture Crew).

June 2016 – The Inspiring Project

Chase Marvil, a Woodbridge High School, Greenwood, Delaware Senior has become internationally popular inspiring 90,000 youth in eight countries for his outreach program called The Inspiring Project. The programs intention is to stop bullying and suicide in teens and adults online.

It began two years ago when he photographed and placed 605 photos of students and teachers holding inspirational messages inside the entrance of their school. Those messages resonated with those needing to share their concerns about being bullied, thoughts of suicide, fear of rejection at home, in their school and community. Chase said he “wants to help teens and even adults feel like they have more opportunities in life.”

May 2016 – LaRed Health Center

LaRed Health Center, located in Georgetown, is the coalition of four community health and welfare groups. They have formed to serve the needs of the homeless by providing individual case management assistance, emergency supplies, housing placement, healthcare, mental health counseling, life skills training and job readiness. More than 600 Sussex County individuals and family members are serviced on a daily basis by 140 LaRed staff members.

April 2016 – Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry and Rescue

Kenille Davies has devoted a lifetime to helping homeless, abused and neglected animals find a home, food and kindness. After leaving a 37-year career as Director of the Ocean City Humane Society she opened Kenille’s Kupboard. With the support of 4 associates and hundreds of supporters, they are able to provide assistance to animals in need and those who are struggling to afford to keep their furry companions. When asked about the future, she replied; I hope to get some land soon and expand the tiny headquarters so we can accommodate more animals in need of a good home and security.”

March 2016 – Friends of Cape Henlopen

Since 1997, the volunteers for the Friends of Cape Henlopen have valued the beauty and heritage of the state park. They donate their time to assist in working on the grounds, greeting visitors and keeping up a playground that has been funded by the group. The volunteers maintain and supply bicycles for The Bike Hut where visitors can borrow one and enjoy the many trails within the park. The group also fundraises yearly to provide financial assistance, for travel expenses, to local schools that bring students to participate in the many park programs.

February 2016 – Caroline Banks

In addition to her 40 hour work week at the Salisbury, Maryland States Attorney office, Caroline Banks works part time at a local restaurant where she enjoys serving others and lending an empathetic ear to patrons. Caroline is a previous volunteer firefighter and is a member of the ladies’ auxiliary at the Parsonsburg Volunteer Fire Hall. She enjoys organizing an annual softball tournament to fundraise for Women Helping Women with Cancer and often takes up collections for our troops overseas. This 24-year-old lady is lauded by the States Attorney and the community at large for her non-stop outreach and organizing fundraisers for those in need. Caroline said, My Pop-Pop always said that the Eastern Shore is the best place to live with the biggest hearts living in it, and I will do my best to help keep it that way.”

January 2016 – Lori Ott

Lori J. Ott is a wonderful teacher for the newcomers at APELL (Accelerated Preliterate English Language Learners) program located at the George Washington Carver Center located in Frankford, Delaware. Ms. Ott has over twenty years experience in teaching students that come from different countries and speak another language. She takes time to connect with each one of her students to give them their best chance at success in this world. She spends countless hours helping them with whatever they may need for their transition into a new environment and a safe classroom in which to learn.



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