Three active female volunteers who took different paths in making major contributions to their community will receive Outstanding Community Service Awards during Warwick’s 2020-2021 Citizen of the Year ceremony honoring Frank Truatt.
Long-time cheerleader and promoter of Warwick Jennifer O’Connor jumps into community projects with both feet and stays the course, according to letters of recommendation from more than a half-dozen local organizations.
Journalist Sara Paul and retired Warwick police officer George Arnott praised O’Connor’s “commitment to community service through her volunteer efforts as well as in her role as editor of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.”
Rosemary Cooper, director of Warwick’s Albert Wisner Public Library, wrote that O’Connor was a founding member of the Albert Wisner Library Foundation which began in 2005 and was a big part of the community support that propelled the library to success in winning the 2016 Best Small Library in America award.
Mayor Michael Newhard and Mary Collura, creative director for the Village of Warwick Sesquicentennial, lauded O’Connor for working as a volunteer through the whole year and heading up the public relations/marketing subcommittee. They said she promoted and attended every one of the 70 events during the Sesquicentennial.
Deborah Schweikart, a 27-year member of the Warwick Fire Department, thanked O’Connor for her six years of support in planning and promoting the 2019 celebration of 150 years of volunteer firefighting service for the Warwick Fire Department.
Retired Warwick Police Lieutenant Thomas Maslanka praised O’Connor for her involvement in making “Coffee with a Cop” such a successful program and for her involvement with the Little League Parade, Apple Eve and Ladies Night Out celebrations.
O’Connor also has served in various committee positions with the Warwick Historical Society and the Albert Wisner Library.
Nicole McCormick and Carmela Borrazas
Nicole McCormick and Carmela Borrazas teamed up to start the Warwick Relief Market, a Facebook-based group that offered a lifeline to Warwick small businesses.
Since the start of Warwick Relief Market, the group has grown to more than 6,000 members and has raised approximately $400,000 for Warwick businesses.
Leo R. Kaytes, president of Leo Kaytes Ford, said McCormick and Borrazas have been approached by many local owners who told them that had it not been for the market, they would have been unable to pay their mortgage, rent, put food on the table and even faced closing their business permanently.
Jillian Pregiato of Reclaimed Consignment Boutique also nominated McCormick and Borrazas. She wrote: “The two of them have personally saved my business and many others during this hard time. They are selfless, creative and hardworking women who have done wonders for our amazing town.”
The pair were also nominated by Theresa Episcopio on behalf of Board and Brush. She added: “They have done an outstanding job with our business and our community.”
The Warwick Relief Market has also given hope for owners with a whole new client base
“We are told by many consumers that they did not know a certain business even existed or were unaware of the products they sold,” Borrazas said. “Business owners said they have received so many new customers. The Market has had a snowball effect and it has all been great.”
Stephen Kitar, owner of Sam’s Meat Market, wrote of the difficulty in deciding who he would nominate. He praised all the essential workers “who have put their safety on the line for the sake of the community. Yet I have decided to submit the nomination for Nicole McCormick and Carmella Borrazas for their work on Warwick Relief Market, which has allowed many local businesses to live through these uneasy times of GOVID. They unselfishly and tirelessly worked without any financial or municipal support to generate additional income needed for local businesses to survive.
“I strongly believe,” Kitar added, “that part of Warwick commerce, and with it, local merchants, Main Street and ultimately the character of our town would be lost if it were not for the Warwick Relief Market and these two citizens of Warwick.”