Five Delawareans who make our state a better place to live

 In News & Events

Delaware Online – 05/24/2009

Delaware unveiled five of its most caring people Thursday. They are this year’s winners of the Jefferson Awards, a public-service honor that salutes people who, in their own small way, make life in our state just a little bit better.

In other words, they help people. They do it by volunteering. Their service is dedicated, imaginative and effective.

For example, Barbara Byle started and directs Guiding Eyes for the Blind in southern Delaware. She works with volunteers who raise Labrador retrievers to become seeing-eye dogs for blind Delawareans.

Dr. Madeline Lembrecht has developed programs to help others speak about death and dying. Her teaching, counseling and interactive computer programs have helped hundreds help others with end-of-life care.

Michael White Sr., known as Mr. Mike, has volunteered at the Mary Campbell Center for more than a decade. He visits the incarcerated, teaches children and makes life brighter for the community.

Chevala Oliver-Berry works tirelessly to inform women about breast cancer. She helped create Sisters on a Mission, an African-American breast cancer support group. She also is director of the Delaware Mentor Program at the Baylor Women’s Correctional facility.

Elaine Chester started a Holiday Gift Tag Drive that has become one of the largest corporate gift drives to benefit children helped by the Delaware Division of Family Services. Elaine Chester also was chosen to represent Delaware at the national Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C.

Five individuals, a million obstacles. But an untold number of fellow Delawareans helped. Congratulations to the winners — and to all volunteers who make Delaware a better place to live.