On Wednesday, May 21, People’s Place held their Annual Breakfast, presenting awards to several staff members and recognizing many community organizations that have provided assistance to them over the past year. Guest speaker at the event was John Knotts, Executive Director of the Delaware Division of Veterans Affairs.
“We are pleased to partner with People’s Place,” Mr. Knotts said. “The Veterans Administration is a huge organization, and we rely on the 41,000 non-profits like People’s Place to further our work. You are the ones on the street dealing with those who have needs. Mike Rowe and Vickie Bryant understand that VA programs sometimes take a day or so to begin, and they work hard to cover that gap to give veterans what they need.”
Mr. Knotts also talked about a new program that has been initiated called “Delaware Joining Forces,” which joins multiple organizations in order to better provide service to Veterans and other people in need. Mr. Knotts said that the Veteran’s Service Directory, found on the VA website, was developed in order to begin connecting those in need with the services that could help.
“The directory is found on the VA website, and organizations can self-register,” Mr. Knotts said. “Once registered, they can build a profile for volunteer veteran’s groups so that those who need help can find the organization that can help them. Currently, there are 60 participants, and I am pleased that People’s Place is one of them. This is one way we can bring together groups with a common goal.”
After his keynote speech, Mr. Knotts presented an award to Mike Rowe, Program Manager for the Veteran’s Outreach Program at People’s Place. The award was given to Mr. Rowe from the Delaware Commission of Veteran’s Affairs for his outstanding effort on behalf of veterans.
“He is an extension of our office,” said Mr. Knotts. “He knows veterans and they know him. I have seen him stay late at the hospital to be sure that a veteran has a way to get home. His undying dedication to the veterans in our state deserves recognition.”
There were two Employee of the Year Awards given at the breakfast. Stacy Wright and Linda Carey-Ashler were both recognized for their outstanding work on behalf of those in need. The Rookie of the Year Award was given to Denise Jackson, who was recently appointed as a Program Director at the Whatcoat Center.
In addition to those awards, the founder of People’s Place, Bebe Mick, was honored. Ms. Mick passed away in February. She began the program with other concerned adults who wanted to provide a location for young people in Milford to have a safe place to meet. Samantha Saxon was one of the young people who helped start the program. She now lives out-of-state, but sent a letter describing how important Ms. Mick was to her.
“She was a force,” Ms. Saxon wrote. “She located a dusty old building on Front Street, and we cleaned, we painted and we moved in furniture. She was the mother of two of our classmates, but she was like our mother, too. She set an example of how to be as an adult and I am thrilled that her legacy not only lives on but has grown.”
Community Leader of the Year Awards given at the banquet included Crossfit Lewes, an organization that raised $33,000 for the SAFE Program, as well as the Delaware Standardbred Association, who also adopted the SAFE Program. The Dave Marshall Tennis Academy not only raised money for the Independent Living Academy, but also met the participants they were supporting. The First Church of Christ Scientists, Wesley United Methodist Church and St. Anne’s Episcopal School were also recognized for their donations to the Whatcoat Shelter.