"Boyertown Citizen of the Year" Names 2024 Winners in 70 Year Tradition; Tickets Available for Awards Event


by Lesley Misko

Kenneth Hunt, long time community member described as "donating more hours" than he gets paid for as Executive Director of the United Way of the Boyertown Area, has been named the 70th Boyertown Citizen of the Year. 

Also receiving recognition will be Mentor of the Year, Jeff Shontz; First Responder of The Year, Jim Boyer; and Senior Student of the Year, Samantha Jo Dolansky. The Boyertown Area Historical Society completes the slate as it receives the Special Recognition Award for "going above and beyond for our community." All award recipients will be honored at a gala event, scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2024, at  the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, located at 85 S. Walnut St., Boyertown, PA 19512.

Event planners share that the evening will begin with hors d’oeuvres and time to mingle between 5:00- 6:00 PM. The formal program will get underway at 6 PM. The facility can only accommodate 150 guests, so don't delay in purchasing your tickets. If purchased in advance, tickets are $25; at the door if space is still available, $30.00.  Organizers explain that no paper tickets will be mailed. A list of those with prepaid reservations will be available at the door and attendees will just need to sign next to their reservation on the list.    

Mark Malizzi, former award recipient, explained, “The winners are those who best exemplify the support and volunteerism imperative to our community’s daily operation, those who have gone above and beyond in our community. It is not the person with the most nominations who wins. The decision about which nominee is chosen is based on the impact they have made in their category, based on the information provided and in the nomination letter.”

Originally created by the Boyertown Jaycees, responsibility for this annual community tradition was later taken on by The Boyertown Times, and then passed on to the Lions and Rotary Clubs. Roger Lehmann, who was the 2016 Citizen of the Year recalls that around the 60th or 61st year, these community service groups were confronting dwindling membership numbers and the continuation of the event was in jeopardy.

“A group of us who were former recipients of this honor agreed we just could not let this fall by the wayside so we decided to work together to keep it going, and since then, it has been driven by past recipients,” Lehmann says with pride, adding, “We would love to see it continue because it speaks to Boyertown as a community, a community that cares and feels pride in who it is.”  Now the event is celebrating its 70th anniversary!

Lehmann also shares that those now organizing the event have made some changes in the process. One or two sentence nominations are not seriously considered. Heartfelt letters that demonstrate real knowledge of the person being nominated and offer evidence of their qualities are what the committee is seeking. They do not want this to be simply a popularity contest.

Committee members work hard to fund the event, including making personal monetary contributions. Operating expenses must be met, and beyond that, the Citizen of the Year selects a charitable group as the recipient of a monetary award the size of which depends on how much money is available. Revenue is derived from tickets sold for the event, and donations from local civic groups. A number of local businesses contribute merchandise, services, and cash. Advertising is limited to social media to keep cost down. Donations are always welcome.

For tickets, additional information, and to nominate someone for next year, click  here.

Coming soon: meet the 2024 Awards Recipients.

More News from Boyertown
I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified