WBOC 2016 Jefferson Award Winner to Attend National Ceremony
Iwanski was one of 10 local Jefferson Award winners honored Wednesday evening at an awards ceremony held at the WBOC NewsPlex in Salisbury. A panel of two judges selected Iwanski as a nominee for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community. Five nominees will be selected as Onassis Award winners at the national ceremony.
About John Iwanski
Iwanski was selected for a 2016 national Jefferson Award for his tireless volunteer work for several nonprofit organizations in the Salisbury and surrounding area.
Iwanski, who is 73, is a retired food service industry executive who has a long history of volunteer activity. He was active with the Boy Scouts of America in Michigan when his sons were scouting. When he moved to Maryland, Iwanski immediately volunteered to help the Tri-County District of the BSA. He has been the BSA’s popcorn fundraising helper for many years, securing permission for locations for the Boy Scouts to sell their popcorn. He also served as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 478 and spent time as the troop’s committee chairman. Iwanski’s service to the troop allowed the scouts to enjoy many activities such as camping trips that only could have been possible because he was available as a volunteer adult leader. Iwanski has also led the local Friends of Scouting campaign and carried its message to all the meets.
Iwanski is also actively involved with the Eastern Shore Iris Society, and as its longtime leader has helped with every show. He will even dig up the tubers to be sold or distributed when the owners are unable to do so.
But probably Iwanski’s most well known volunteer activity is his work with American Legion Post #64 in Salisbury. When the post’s paid manager resigned, Iwanski volunteered to fill that vacant role. Despite being unpaid, Iwanski goes to the office daily to manage its money and accounting. He cleans the post when its cleaning person is off. He has also single-handedly managed the post memorial garden, which surrounds the Memorial Wall to post veterans who have passed away. As its caretaker, Iwanski weeds the garden, plants new flowers every year and ensures the appearance of the garden for Memorial Day celebrations.
Iwanski also recently joined two other volunteers in clearing the brush, downed trees and general overgrowth on a large area of the post’s property. The post had long wanted this area cleared but had been unable to find the right method or even volunteers. But Iwanski decided the work needed to be done and recruited the two other volunteers to assist him in this effort. It took a lot of chainsaw work and between 20 and 25 pickup truck loads but the three were able to get the job done.
And if all the aforementioned activities aren’t enough, Iwanski also volunteers to help with the post’s weekly dinners. He has been the only cook for the post’s Friday night steak dinners, which are very successful. In addition, in the absence of a paid manager, One of the several people who nominated Iwanski for a Jefferson Award said of him, is the only person taking the food orders for the post. He also takes the lead in organizing the post’s crab feasts, raffles and other fundraising events. The post’s raffles alone have netted approximately $4,000 for the organization.
Iwanski also sponsors the post’s youth shooting team, which has won many awards. In addition, he is an active supporter of the post’s youth baseball team.
Despite dedicating so much of his personal time and effort helping others, Iwanski never complains about any task or job. He is always ready and willing to do whatever it takes to help the causes he believes in.
“He will do any job he sees that needs doing without asking whose job it is, or why it is not done. He simply does the job and says nothing,” said one of the several people who nominated Iwanski for a Jefferson Award.
About the Judges
The judges who served on the nominating committee included Gage Thomas, a businessman who also serves as a member of the Cambridge City Commissioners, and Beverley Thompson, a 2009 Jefferson Award winner and WBOC’s nominee for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community.
About the Jefferson Awards
The Jefferson Awards for Public Service are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.
The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.
WBOC TV is proud to be a local partner of the Jefferson Awards. The awards are given annually to volunteers on Delmarva who provide extraordinary public service.