SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Sylvia Hicks, a highly regarded and longtime community leader, was honored on Jan. 16 as the 2017 recipient of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Martin Luther King Day of Service Award. 

The honor was given during opening ceremonies of the 8th Annual SPF MLK Day of Service at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA. Bestowed annually by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Martin Luther King Day of Service Committee, Hicks was announced by its inaugural awardee, the Honorable Leland S. McGee, and introduced by Delia McGee, whom Hicks had mentored at St. John’s Baptist Church.

“It is so fitting that Sylvia Hicks has been chosen for this award. She’s played such a major role in Scotch Plains – in the lives of residents of all ages – and is highly respected by the leadership of this community,” said McGee.

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Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, and Union County Freeholder and Scotch Plains Township Manager Al Mirabella praised Hicks for her deep dedication to the people of Scotch Plains and Fanwood.

Hicks, a lifelong Scotch Plains resident, a 1972 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and a former Aetna employee, has shown her longtime commitment to the community on numerous levels. She has provided leadership to the Scotch Plains Shady Rest Restoration Committee, and holds influential roles at St. John's Baptist Church, where she is the co-leader of the Youth Ministry and serves on the hospitality committee. She has also has advised township leaders on a host of issues.

The Martin Luther King Day of Service Committee established the award in 2015 to recognize a community member who best exemplifies the ideals of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The hope is that recognition of these individuals, who promote equity and rights for all, will inspire others.

The day was also marked by residents filling 800 volunteer slots for hands-on work to help the community.

The Day of Service was sponsored by Social Justice Matters, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, the JCC of Central New Jersey, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Ministerium and Unity Bank. is Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s only free daily paper. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and twitter @SPF_TAP.