READINGTON, NJ - The Hunterdon County YMCA recently honored six volunteers at its Annual Recognition Event at Stanton Ridge Golf & Country Club here.

Over the past year, the Y appreciated the assistance of more than 650 volunteers who dedicated their time, talent, and treasure.

Jessica Palmer, member of the YMCA Board of Trustees, received the Bowden, Byrnes, McCormick Dedication Award for outstanding service to the YMCA’s financial development efforts. The award is given in honor of Robert Bowden, JoAnne Byrnes, and Paul McCormick whose dedication, vision, and financial development efforts shaped the Hunterdon County YMCA into the successful association it is today. Palmer, an attorney with Norris McLaughlin, P.A., has been a Y volunteer since 2015. She currently chairs the Human Resource Committee, serves on the Executive Committee, and is Board Secretary.“I’m hugely grateful for her legal guidance," said the Y's Director of Human Resources Lu Ann Aversa. "She has saved the Y countless dollars by guiding us in the right legal direction.”

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Rita Read, volunteer Coach for the Special Olympics Swim Team, received the George Hoffman Humanitarian Award for outstanding service in implementing the YMCA’s mission and character development values. This award is given in memory of George Hoffman, a long-time YMCA volunteer, board member, and former Executive Director. Read has been a dedicated coach for the Special Olympics Dolphins Swim Team since 2010.

“Her strength lies in her creative ability to discern what method works best with each athlete to help them achieve their goals," said Head Coach Aphrodite Fluke. "Patient, easy going and organized, Rita's presence keeps the team motivated and moving forward.”

Catalina and Natalia Zamora, volunteers for the Produce Distribution Program, received the Harris & Betts Smith Distinguished Service Award for significant participation, effort, enthusiasm and support of YMCA programs. This award is given in honor of Harris and Betts Smith, lifetime supporters of YMCA programs and services, who were involved in the Hunterdon County YMCA since the 1950s. The pair help with many different tasks with the Produce Distribution Program, from picking up the produce, to cleaning and setting up. Their bilingual abilities have also been a valuable resource. According to Gabriela Bonnavent, “They are always concerned for our participants and make sure they have a nice experience and that their needs are addressed.”

Rainaa Biswas, a volunteer at the Round Valley Child Learning Center, received the Ralph Muzzey Youth Leadership Award for exemplifying leadership skills and character development values. This award is given in memory of Ralph Muzzey, who had a long Y career including over 20 years as Branch Director of the Riegel Ridge YMCA. Rainaa volunteers at the Child Learning Center, performing administrative tasks creatively, efficiently and on time. Michael Reisman, Director of Early Childhood Education at the Y states, “It is fitting we honor her at this time, to show her our gratitude.”

Dr. Maria Torres, a volunteer with the martial arts program, received the Mannon Family Award for rendering significant service to the YMCA in the form of time and talent. This award recognizes the outstanding YMCA volunteer of the year. The award is given in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Mannon for their years of support to the Hunterdon County YMCA.

“Dr. Torres’ love for the Art of Karate is infectious," said Sensei Jack Atwell. "Her concern that the students always have a positive learning experience is evident. Her actions exemplify the spirit of Volunteerism at the Hunterdon County YMCA.”

“These individual volunteers have made service to others a priority to help make the Y and our Community a better place. We truly appreciate the dedication and support shown by our volunteers. They allow us to give young people a chance to achieve their potential, empower people of all ages to lead healthier lives, and strengthen the bonds of our community,” said Bruce Black, President/CEO. “As a leader in providing programs and services, the Y identifies community needs and then develops and offers solutions to meet those needs. It is always clear that we could not do this work without volunteers and we are ever thankful and humbled that so many choose to give back to our community through a relationship with our YMCA. We recognize and celebrate the impact of those volunteers.”

The Y also recognized volunteers who reached milestones in their length of service to the Y. Joe Tarrant was recognized for 25 Years of Service. Those recognized for 15 Years of Service were Bart Fellin, Mary Clare Lewy, Pat McKiernan, and Alex Van Veldhuisen. Volunteers recognized for 5 Years of Service were Sheila Always, Susan Brock, Ginny Crans, Katie Eccles, Mona El-Gayar, Amanda Gorgas, Kathi Gorgas, Ann Gunning, Chris Gunning, Edward Labuda, Rachel Mead, Marci Tanelli, Katherine Toms, Beverly Whiteley, and Neal Wilt.

To learn more about volunteering at the Hunterdon County YMCA, contact Christine Coffey, Director of Mission Advancement, at 908-483-4326 or visit