SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- At the opening ceremony for the 9th annual Scotch Plains-Fanwood Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, longtime community volunteer Marie Leppert was honored with the third annual Scotch Plains-Fanwood Martin Luther King Day of Service Award at the JCC.  The award was presented by Sylvia Hicks, the 2017 honoree along with the Honorable Leland S. McGee, the inaugural awardee, and President of Social Justice Matters. 

Marie Leppert has lived her entire life in Scotch Plains. A former teacher, she an active parent, having served as a PTA president, Girl Scout leader, and Cub Scout leader. Currently, she is the recording secretary for both the Historical Documentation Committee and Preserve the Shady Rest Committee. She has also served as assistant curator for the Historical Society and was one the founders of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Alumni Association. For 63 years, she has been a part of the College Club of Fanwood-Scotch Plains and served as president five times. Ms. Leppert is also an active member of All Saints Church. 

In her introduction, Ms. Hicks said that she had heard much about Ms. Leppert and "admired her before meeting her." Working with her over the past few years, she has been in awe, and could not wait for this moment to present the award to her. Also in attendance, and speaking prior to the award, was Ms. Leppert’s brother, former New Jersey Governor Donald DiFrancesco. 

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Ms. Leppert credited her father as an example for her in giving service to the community. She said that she was not only grateful for the work that she has been able to do, but also the friends that she has made along the way.

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood Martin Luther King Day of Service Award is presented each year to a member of the community for “service to the community in the fulfillment of the ideals of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”  The awardee is chosen by a committee made up of former recipients.

Michelle Shapiro Abraham, Courtney Agnello, and Amanda Barnett, co-chairs of the event, announced that over 1,000 volunteer slots had been pre-filled for Day of Service, to a packed crowd in the Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey, this year’s opening ceremony host. 

The event is held each year on the Monday celebration of the Rev. Dr. King’s birthday.  Volunteers are matched with local organizations to participate in social action projects for “a day on, not a day off”.  Those interested in helping with the 2019 event, should contact the co-chairs at spfdayofservice@gmail.com.