City News

Mayor Purzycki to Present 15th Annual Wilmington Awards, Access Wilmington Awards

Post Date:10/04/2017 9:00 AM

October 4 ceremony to recognize distinguished Wilmington citizens for outstanding accomplishments, community service, and life-long achievement

Wilmington Mayor Michael S. Purzycki will honor six City residents with the 2017 Wilmington Awards and two residents with Access Wilmington Awards during a public ceremony on Wednesday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Louis L. Redding City/County Building in Downtown Wilmington (800 N. French Street).

Established by former Mayor James M. Baker in 2001 to recognize outstanding accomplishments of citizens, the 2017 Wilmington Awards Program recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of distinguished Wilmington citizens who excel in the fields of the arts, athletics, business, education, environment, health or science. It also recognizes individuals for their community service, heroism, contributions to the faith-based community, and dedication to the cause of human and civil rights.  In addition, senior citizens are recognized for their accomplishments.

The Access Wilmington Awards, given by the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (Access Wilmington), recognize those in the greater community of the City of Wilmington who are opening doors and creating opportunities for people living with disabilities and their families. It serves as a tool to encourage investments in accessibility.

“Too often, the few who are engaged in negative activities and behaviors that reflect poorly upon the City get all of the attention,” said Mayor Purzycki. “Both the Wilmington Awards and Access Wilmington Awards allow us to focus on, acknowledge, and celebrate the best of us – those individuals who take it upon themselves to uplift, improve, and make life better for their neighbors and their communities.  These are men and women who see something that needs to be done and then do it without expecting anything in return. They deserve to be recognized and held up as an example to the rest of us, and that’s what these awards are all about.”

City Council President Hanifa Shabazz and Members of City Council will join Mayor Purzycki for Wednesday’s ceremony, as well as family and friends of the recipients of the 15th Annual Wilmington Awards and the Access Wilmington Awards.

The 2017 honorees, representing themselves, their communities or their businesses, are listed below:



Jaron Johnson, is the founder and director of The Silk League, a program he launched in 2009 to honor his friend Terry “Silk” Alls who died in a car accident in 2003.  The program, an official basketball league since 2011, provides free recreational basketball programming to about 300 Wilmington youth with the help of about 25 volunteers and without any major funding. The League was developed to provide student-athletes with an environment to improve their skills, enhance their knowledge of the basketball industry, and prepare them for opportunities within the sport.  The program creates a place for youth to interact with one another outside of their respective schools and to build relationships with community members. By participating in the program, students learn the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership. Jaron solely organizes the league and goes above and beyond by making sure the kids get home every night, checking on them during the off season, and connecting them to mentors. The program also incorporates mandatory community service hours for participants. Jason is committed to focusing and building outstanding and respectable individuals while teaching them basketball skills and building community engagement.


Mr. Terrone Warren, is a teacher at Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, and an entrepreneur who owns Black Visionary Designers Barber Salon and Let’s Roll Productions Travel. These businesses allow Mr. Warren to give back to the community in a meaningful way. Outside of his regular teaching role, Mr. Warren spends countless hours tutoring students who need additional support with math. He is extremely passionate about teaching children and doing whatever it takes to ensure they succeed. Some of Mr. Warren’s annual events through Black Visionary Designers include: free shoes for Easter, turkey drives for Thanksgiving, free coats for Christmas, and annual pool gatherings to celebrate the opening of the barber salon. The barbers also give $5 haircuts for back to school students. Mr. Warren also participates in Community Unity Day, co-founded Chess on the Square and sits on the board for “Homeless to Hopeful Inc.


Margaret Crosby, is a longtime community and educational advocate, fighting against injustice on behalf of children and families throughout Delaware. She has served on the board of the Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center for more than 17 years. For Hilltop, she ran a successful brown bag program for community members and staff, advocated for underserved children and families’ educational needs and, in collaboration with the Lutheran churches and others, ensured that every Hilltop family and staff received a Thanksgiving basket each year. She also saw to it that Hilltop children received Christmas gifts each year. Despite her recent battle with illness, she made sure she was back in Delaware in time for the 2016 holidays for Hilltop’s children and families. Crosby has touched many lives in different ways. She is a hard worker, extremely genuine, and is dedicated to Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center.

Dorine Rosier, joined the Ministry of Caring’s Emmanuel Dining Room staff in 2005. For the past 12 years, she has helped the staff, volunteers and donors provide two million meals for poor and homeless Wilmington and New Castle County residents.  She currently serves as the Program Director of the Emmanuel Dining Room’s three dining room locations. Under Dorine’s direction the EDR serves breakfast five days a week and lunch every day of the year at no cost to Delaware’s hungry. Dorine also coordinates efforts to ensure that approximately one thousand children receive Christmas presents each year.  She is quick to credit the donors, organizations, and individuals who help to make this joy possible. While others are at home celebrating the holidays with loved ones, Dorine and staff are at the dining rooms greeting and celebrating with those unable to be with their own families.


Isabel Hendrixson, is a long-time volunteer at both the Wilmington Hospital and the former Riverside Hospital on Lea Boulevard. Isabel has been a volunteer for Christiana Care Health Systems for 14 years with over 1,950 hours of service. Over the years, she has shared her time and talents in numerous ways beginning as a Riverside Campus Guild Member, then as a Gift Shoppe Volunteer, and as a Volunteer Advisory Committee member, where she coordinates events and develops new ideas with other hospital volunteers. In 2014, Isabel began to work at the information desk at Wilmington Hospital, where she greets patients, families, and visitors, and provides directions and answers questions. She was one of the first volunteers for the “No One Dies Alone” Program, which provides support to the patients who are at the end of life and who do not have family to support them. She will often sit with the patient reading or playing music during their last minutes of life. Often, she will write and leave a note, if appropriate, so that other family members know about their loved one’s end of life experience, and so they know the family member was not alone. Isabel is a valued member of the Volunteering Service team who is known for her caring, dedication, and compassion for those that she serves.


Eleiana Santiago-Johnson, is an honor roll student at A.I DuPont Middle School where she is involved in many activities and leadership roles including serving as Secretary for the Jobs for Delaware Graduates program. Since she was little, Eleiana has been involved with Earth Day, neighborhood clean-up efforts, feeding the less fortunate, participating in food drives during the holidays, and collecting for adopt-a-family donations. She is involved with many community organizations, from Nuestra Raices of Delaware to the Roberto Clemente Baseball League. She recently served as team leader for her class’ community service project, collecting and donating books to A.I. Hospital for Children.  Eleiana believes acts of kindness should come from the heart and encourages young people like herself to step forward and make Wilmington a better City.


 Access Wilmington William Pellam Award for Excellent Service and Commitment to Disability Issues

Earl Eugene Tate II, is a native Wilmingtonian. When he was 5 years old Earl was involved in a devastating auto accident that left him physically disabled, but this didn’t stop him from being a major contributor to society.  Earl is serious about his commitment to our City, youth education, and youth safety. He takes extreme pride in being a long-term Access Wilmington Committee member, having served for over 30 years. Earl has distinguished himself by volunteering for over 19 years as a crossing guard in Northeast Wilmington. He gets up at 4:30 a.m. on school days to greet the children with a smile, a high five, and maybe a rap song he’s made up. He mixes that in with his imitations of Elmo, Fat Albert, Mickey Mouse and says with a smile, “As long as there are kids out there, I will never grow old.” Earl has demonstrated in a superb way that he is our William Pellam Award for Excellence awardee for his continuous commitment to making a difference in society.

 Access Wilmington Award for Community Involvement

Patricia A. Addison, has been blind since age 10, but that didn’t stop her from completing her education and having a productive career with New Castle County Government for 22 years. Her love of athletics within the visually impaired community led her to encourage others throughout the state to join the Delaware Association for the Blind. Helping others became Patricia’s passion. She served as a member of the Delaware Division of the Visually Impaired, the State Rehabilitation Council, the Governor’s Advisory Council on the Blind (appointed in 2016), the Independent Living Advisory Committee (past president), and is a member of the Delaware Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. Through her work as a Peer Support Manager at Blindsight Delaware, she receives joy from witnessing others accomplish their goals.

Media Contact:

John Rago
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Communications
Office of Mayor Michael S. Purzycki
Mobile: (302) 420-7928

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