Somerset County News

Nominations Sought for 2017 Spirit of Somerset Awards

"We are hoping that county residents and businesses will take the time to nominate deserving candidates for this distinguished honor,” said Rick St. Pierre, Spirit of Somerset Awards co-chair. Credits: Rod Hirsch

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Spirit of Somerset Awards Committee is seeking nominations for their annual Spirit of Somerset Awards, which will be held Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the Raritan Valley Country Club in Bridgewater.

The fundraising event benefits the Strengthening Families and Pathways to Parenting Programs at the Somerville-based non-profit agency Somerset Treatment Services.

The nomination deadline is June 30.

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“We are once again very pleased to have the opportunity to honor the wonderful work of these deserving individuals, organizations and businesses that have represented the true spirit of Somerset County during the last year,” said Somerset Treatment Services executive director Barbara Schlichting.  “This event will feature a tasting by local wine and beer purveyors as well as an evening of great food in a wonderful atmosphere.” 

The Spirit of Somerset Awards program brings together representatives from the business, education, arts, health and non-profit communities in a celebration of Somerset County’s many achievements.  Previous awards have been given to an array of recipients since the program started back in 1998, some of which have included the Affinity Federal Credit Union, Brook Arts Center, Business Partnership of Somerset County, Courier News, Fulton Bank, Johnson & Johnson Companies, Raritan Valley Community College, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital –Somerset, Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools, Somerset Patriots Baseball Club, sanofi-aventis, SSP Architectural Group, Suplee, Clooney, TD Bank ,and Team Capital Bank.

Some of the past individual award recipients have included Olympic Hall of Fame track star Joetta Clark Diggs, Hollywood star Meryl Streep, local philanthropist and businessman Steven Kalafer, Senator Kip Bateman, former Somerset County Mayors Angelo Corradino, Anthony DeCicco, James Dowden, Al Ellis, Patricia Flannery, Lee Honecker, Melonie Marano, Frank Ryan and Carl Torsilieri; former Somerset County political leaders Raymond Bateman, Peter Biondi, Patrick Fittipaldi, Walter Kavanaugh, Christie Whitman, Dick Williams, and Bob Zaborowski; and community leaders Hon. Paul W. Armstrong, Brian Auger, Marilyn Birnbaum, Hon. Thomas Dilts, Harry Frezza, Marie Hughes, Dr. Lawrence Livornese, Beth Anne Macdonald, Linda Porcaro, Dan Puntillo, Rich Reitman, and Rev. Buster Soaries. 

“There have been countless accomplishments that have happened throughout Somerset County’s 21 municipalities over the last year and we are hoping that county residents and businesses will take the time to nominate deserving candidates for this distinguished honor,” said Rick St. Pierre, Spirit of Somerset Awards co-chair.

Award nominations are being sought in the categories of Athletics/Recreation, Business, Civic Improvement, Cultural Arts/Heritage, Education, Government Service, Health/Wellness, Senior Services, Youth Services, and Volunteerism.

The John Graf Humanitarian Award category for Outstanding Philanthropic Service to the Community was recently added to commemorate the work of the former board president.

Anyone wishing to nominate an individual, organization or business can send a 250 to 500-word statement along with the nominee’s name, address and contact information to the Spirit of Somerset Awards Committee.  Nominations should be emailed to: Barbara Schlichting at Somerset Treatment Services,

Tickets for the fundraiser includes a 5 p.m. cocktail reception, 6 p.m. awards program, and a 7 p.m. dinner.  Tickets for the event are $100 with reservations available by contacting the Somerset Treatment Services office at (908) 722-1232 X3026, or emailing your name, address and phone number to: or 

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