Boyertown pharmacist Ed Hudon of The Medicine Shoppe received the Boyertown Citizen of the Year award at the 68th Annual Citizen of the Year Gala on April 9.

The Boyertown Community COVID Vaccine Outreach Project, which Hudon founded with a group of volunteers amid the pandemic, received the special recognition award.

Awards were also presented to Cody L. Whitfield for First Responder of the Year, Ross Smith for Mentor of the Year, and Sarah E. Drakas for Student of the Year.

“(There was a) deep sense of love and respect for all of the winners. It was nice to be able to thank them in person,” said Boyertown Citizen of the Year committee member Mark Malizzi.

68th Annual Citizen of the Year Award winners, left to right, Brent Rothermel and Alison Moyer (volunteers for the Boyertown Community COVID Immunization Project), Sarah E. Drakas (Student of the Year), Rep. David Maloney, Rep. Tracy Pennycuick, Boyertown Mayor Lori Carnes, Ross Smith (Mentor of the Year), Ed Hudon (68th Annual Citizen of the Year), Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach, Cody L. Whitfield ( first speaker of the year). (photo sent)

Organized by the Citizen of the Year Committee – made up of past winners and community members – the gala was held at the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles with 75 people attending in person and many watching via Facebook Live. Proceeds from the event benefit the Citizen of the Year winner’s charity choice.

“We love coming here and being part of this,” Malizzi said. “We appreciate the opportunity to celebrate with the community some of the people who have done amazing things that you may not know about. This is what makes the Citizen of the Year program so unique.

For the past two years amid the pandemic, the gala was a socially distanced, limited, and virtually shared gathering via Facebook Live.

“This year’s gala was a wonderful opportunity to have a ‘normal’ banquet,” said committee member Lindsey Mason. “We were able to open up attendance so that each winner could have as many people with them as they wanted, which makes the gala even more special.”

“Plus, the camaraderie Boyertown offers is unlike any other,” Mason added. “This banquet always highlights the incredible sense of community and unity. After two difficult years, we need these things!

The recipients of the 68th Annual Citizen of the Year, left to right, Brent Rothermel (Volunteer for Boyertown Community COVID Vaccination Project, Special Recognition Award), Ed Hudon (68th Annual Citizen of the Year), Sarah E. Drakas (Student of the Year), Alison Moyer (Volunteer for Boyertown Community COVID Vaccination Project), Ross Smith (Mentor of the Year), Cody L. Whitfield (First Responder of the Year). (photo sent)

The committee received many applications for the positions of citizen, mentor, first responder and student. The winner is chosen based on the impact they have had in their category.

“It’s not how many nominations a person gets,” Malizzi said.

“Its quality, not its quantity,” Mason added. “We had so many nominations. They were phenomenal; it was a very difficult decision.

“As we sit down and read some of the nominations, understand, in 500 words or less, how these people have impacted people’s lives; it brings tears to your eyes,” Malizzi said.

Citizen of the Year – Ed Hudon

Ed and his wife Terry Hudon opened The Medicine Shoppe of Boyertown in 1993. Through the pharmacy, they host flu shot clinics, hypertension assessments, and blood pressure screening events.

“We’re talking about years of compassion and years of things he did when someone couldn’t get out of their house and he found a way to get the medicine to them,” Malizzi said. “There are things he has done beyond what a normal businessman should do.”

“He’s constantly trying to find ways to help the public,” Mason said. “He knows us all and he’s literally our hometown pharmacist. He has been defending our health for almost 30 years.

Acknowledging both Ed and Terry, Malizzi said: “We know it’s a team effort. Thank you very much for what you do.

Terry and Ed Hudon, recipient of the 68th Annual Citizen of the Year Award. (photo sent)

“Thank you, Boyertown area, for accepting my wife and I into this community 28 years ago to care for, serve and protect your families. It means a lot to us,” Hudon said. so joyful to see the circle of life pass through our pharmacy. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Amid the pandemic, Hudon founded the Boyertown Community COVID Vaccination Project, a group of volunteers that held mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics. He credited the many people involved with the project for its success.

“This list is long and significant,” Hudon said. “Together we can do great things. I truly believe that more than ever… finding solutions is possible.

Special Recognition – Boyertown Community COVID Vaccination Awareness Project

Founded by Hudon who partnered with the Boyertown area school district, a group of volunteers ensured everyone in the community had access to a COVID vaccine.

“There are a lot of people here in the audience who could stand here with me,” said Alison Moyer, communications specialist for the Boyertown School District. “Tonight I have the honor to represent all of you and the hundreds of people who have stood alongside Ed in service to others. In my mind, each of you has already achieved the highest honor .

Moyer accepted the award on behalf of the project.

“To say this project has changed lives, created connections and made a difference would be an understatement,” Moyer said. “May you all feel as blessed as I have to have been a part of this unifying experience.”

Mentor of the Year – Ross “Squiggs” Smith

Involved in the Boyertown School District baseball program for the past 39 years, Smith records statistics past and present, archiving Boyertown’s sports history and making statistics readily available. He was also a Boyertown Midget Baseball League scorer for the past five years and was involved with the Boyertown American Legion Post 471 baseball team for 21 years. He also held numerous positions in the Berks County American Legion baseball league.

Smith served as the Boyertown Area Senior Football Program Statistician for 39 years and was a founding member of the Boyertown Area Football Association (2004). He was also a scorer for the school basketball team for 20 years.

“Ultimately, this award is not mine. It’s about the base of people who teach you lessons throughout your life and help them pass those lessons on to young people,” thanking those involved in sports programs, from coaches to management “It’s not just about sports, it’s about the people you meet.

His biggest “thank you” went to the children.

“The most gratifying part of this honor is that all of our former athletes have written, called or messaged me to thank me for something I’ve done for them or just to listen when they had a problem. “Smith said. “That’s the real reward, watching them grow into great people.”

When asked why he remains involved in the sport, Smith said: “Sport has given me very good opportunities in my life and being involved and staying involved has helped me. I have a debt to sport and it is a debt that I repay with honour.

First Responder – Cody L. Whitfield

An active first responder in the Boyertown area since starting out as a junior firefighter with Earl Township Volunteer Fire Company #1, Whitfield is now Deputy Chief. He secured over $200,000 in grant funds for the fire company.

“When the pager goes off, people drop everything,” Whitfield said. “A lot of these responders are volunteers… While the time we give is free, the equipment is far from it. We were grateful to receive a lot of support from businesses, residents and municipalities in the Boyertown area, but unfortunately it is still difficult.

Whitfield is Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator for Douglass Township, Montgomery County and is a firefighter/paramedic with Gilbertsville Fire & Rescue. He is also an EMS Lt for the Bally Community Ambulance Association.

Student of the Year – Sarah E. Drakas

“Boyertown Senior High made me the person I am today,” Drakas said.

A Boyertown elder, Drakas has raised over $60,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, winning the Mission Award. She is also on the Junior Advisory Board, Youth and Government Program through the YMCA, Link Crew and the National Honor Society.

As a school board student representative, she created a website and hosted student leadership luncheons to bridge the gap between the administration and the student body.

“I got to explore so many facets of this community,” she said. “More than that, these opportunities allowed me to discover my own passions. I look forward to continuing a life of service.

Drakas plans to attend Penn State University to earn a degree in management.

“I hope to be an inspiration to those who are still trying to find their way and to challenge other young women to take on leadership roles,” she said. “As Boyertown continues to grow, there is an abundance of potential in high school and I look forward to seeing the community flourish.”

Rewards Event

The gala opened with a meet and greet hosted by Baird’s Catering and Malizzi Cakes, followed by Boyertown sophomore Emily Wambold, 16, singing the national anthem. The crowd then sang “Happy Birthday” for her 16th birthday.

Citations from the House of Representatives were presented to the winners.

“What we’re doing here tonight is always special to me because it’s very indicative of what this community is all about,” rep Dave Maloney said. “There are a lot of people who really need and deserve recognition.”

“It’s great to be here because the sense of community is real,” said Rep. Tracy Pennycuick. “It’s so heartwarming to see that the sense of community still exists. You are the silent majority and your small towns are where people want to be.

Christian Leinbach, presenting a quote from Berks County Commissioners, said, “We need to celebrate the people in our communities who are making a difference.

“It’s not just a good thing; it is necessary. It tells the rest of the community, this is who we are. This is what makes the difference in a community. You don’t create community by having buildings,” Leinbach continued. “People who care about their neighbors is what builds community.”

Boyertown’s newly elected Mayor Lorraine K. Carnes said the awards are a reminder of the goodness of this town, this community, these people.

“Thank you for coming out and supporting the people who are recognized. And thank you for all that you do.

Carnes said winners do wonderful things that are the true heart of Boyertown.