This year the Riverwalk Freedom Festival continued the tradition of Operation Giveback, an evening designed to give thanks to veterans and current military members for their service to the country. Two year ago organizers from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford partnered with MilfordLIVE.com to select Hometown Heroes, one male and one female from the Milford community that demonstrate community service in an extraordinary fashion. This year, Karen McColley and David Sauls were honored as the 2017 Riverwalk Freedom Festival Hometown Heroes.
Karen McColley was born in 1960 at Tripler Army Base in Honolulu, HI to Dr. William D. “Bud” Kimmel Jr. and his lovely wife Doris Gibson Kimmel. Both of her parents are from Milford, her father was a local dentist and mother was active in the MMH Ladies auxiliary, church bible studies and several other civic groups. Karen earned her Bachelor’s of Business, Master’s of Business Administration and Master’s of Special Education from Wilmington University and will finish her Doctorate for Higher Education this year.
Karen married Lynn A. McColley in 1982 and was been blessed with four children. She and her husband have developed a diverse family farming operation since early 1980’s including owning and operating Sunnybrae Mansion for fundraisers and events and several well known restaurant in Rehoboth. While working on her teaching degree Mcolley did a lot of long term substitute teaching at the Milford School District and for the last six years has taught full time. She has served the Milford community over the years including her service as Planning and Zoning Commissioner for Greater Milford, Vice President of Downtown Milford Inc, Board of Directors for Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford, Commissioner for the Milford Museum, Boy Scouts of America Den Leader, Girl Scouts of America troop leader, Milford Kiwanis President, Milford Lions Club member, Relay for Life team captain and Sunday School teacher.
“What a wonderful honor,” said McColley. “I have always tried my best in all I do,
something instilled in me from my parents, and to receive this honor makes me feel
overwhelmed with happiness.”
David Sauls and his wife Antoinette were at the event to accept the honor. A native to Milford, Sauls attended Benjamin Banneker Elementary School and graduated from William Henry High School in 1963 and Delaware State College in 1967. At Delaware State he majored in Elementary Education and minored in History. David was a member of the Delstate cross country team and enabled the team to win the NAIA Cross Country Championship. In 2005, David was inducted into the Delaware African American Sports Hall of Fame. He has accomplished over 100 marathons including the Boston Marathon seven times, New York Marathon two times and the Los Angeles ad San Diego Marathons.
Upon completion of college he enlisted in the United States Air Force serving two years at Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts and two years in Guam at Anderson Air Force Base. David was employed by the Lakewood Public School District in 1971, where he taught grades five and six. As his tenure as an educator, he was involved in numerous school and community activities including Senior Faculty Representative for 15 years, Lakewood Track and Field Coach and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 1986.
In 2005, David was diagnosed with prostate cancer as he began a new challenge in his life. David took the news as an opportunity to help spread awareness about the disease and to educate families on how to prevent late detection. David is a member of the Bayhealth Prostate Cancer Education and Support Group, Delaware Prostate Cancer Coalition and has spoken with many legislative representatives from the state as well as on a national level. He is also a paid consultant for Deptartment Of Defense, a grant to Thomas Jefferson University and University of Pennsylvania driving the Intervention to Reduce Prostate Cancer Disparities program that includes and lead selected group sessions. Helping to increase funding, research, awareness and more outreach programs, David is grateful for his preventative checkup that allowed him to be treated, he has not seen any reoccurrence of cancer for the last twelve years.
“It is a humbling experience to be honored as a Hometown Hero,” said Sauls. “I am filled with joy, pride and excitement as well as an immense pleasure to be recognized by the community of Milford. My mission to educate, advocate and outreach to individuals in need of my experiences.”
After the Hometown Hero honors were presented by Mayor Bryan Shupe, the evening continued as hundreds of families enjoyed live entertainment, friends, food and fun. At dusk, the traditional fireworks display began over the Mispillion River, closing out the event.
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