The Lawrence Township Citizen of the Year Awards (previously Volunteer Awards) is presented to individuals and groups who performed outstanding leadership and volunteer service in our community. Award recipients will be honored at a Council meeting by resolution of the governing body on the township social media in April of each year during National Volunteer Month. To submit a nomination, please visit: 2023 Lawrence Township Citizen of the Year Award - Rules and Information (google.com)
Youth Award — An individual who is 18 years old or younger.
(3) Hybrid Categories:
Arts, Culture, or Diversity Award — An individual or group who has provided service to organizations and activities that promote arts, culture or diversity within the community.
It is an honor to present the Youth Award for the Citizen of the Year to Camila Nichole Martinez, an outstanding young woman who has demonstrated the true spirit of generosity and compassion. Despite her young age, Camila has already made a remarkable impact on our community through her tireless volunteer work. From supporting Lawrence residents struggling with homelessness and food insecurity to promoting equity, Camila has been actively involved in multiple volunteer projects for several years. As a member of the Social Justice Club at LIS, Camila has shown a strong commitment to making our community a better and more equitable place for all. She is also a member of the Lawrence Neighbors Together Youth Advisory Group, where she has had the opportunity to work with LTPS Superintendent Ross Kasun to advocate for positive change in the school system. She is also an active volunteer with the Latino Spirit organization where she attends community events, and helps distribute information and resources in Spanish for families in the Lawrence community. Throughout the pandemic, Camila volunteered at the New Beginnings Food Pantry, helping to pack food, sort and stock shelves. She has also been an active volunteer at Luz Esperanza y Vida, helping to distribute food and clothing to those in need. Camila's dedication and compassion have been an inspiration to us all, and we are proud to recognize her with this award. She is truly an exceptional young woman, and we look forward to seeing all the great things she will accomplish in the future!!! So, Camila, on behalf of our community, we congratulate you on this well-deserved honor. Thank you for all that you do to make our community a better place, and keep up the great work!
The Leadership Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated significant community impact while serving in a leadership role. And this year, this award goes to none other than Annette Loveless, an outstanding environmentalist leader who has made significant contributions to our community through her work as Chair of the Environmental Committee. Annette has been leading the Environmental Committee since 2019, and under her leadership, the committee has become a more active presence in the community by participating in events and projects around town like Community Day, stream and lake cleanups, among many others. Annette's commitment to environmental stewardship goes beyond just leading the Environmental Committee. She participates in a citizen science program called Stream Watch through The Watershed Institute, measuring water quality parameters at two locations in Lawrence Township each month. Annette also exemplifies the growth mindset, and is continuously cultivating her skills and knowledge by attending workshops on environmental issues. Serving on the Environmental Committee, Annette independently reviews the Planning Board's plans and applications, and presents her findings to the committee for education, consideration, and comment. People who have worked closely with Annette attest that her leadership style is welcoming and inclusive. She has inspired her fellow committee members to take more active roles in the Environmental Committee as well as related committees or citizen-led groups (Friends of Colonial Lake, Sustainable Lawrence). Thanks to her leadership, there has been a significant increase in the number of community members that engage with environmental stewardship in Lawrence Township. In addition to her work on the Environmental Committee, Annette is active in the Veterans community within Lawrence Township, connecting to the senior generation. Annette's ongoing efforts are a testament to her unwavering dedication to Lawrence. From the public’s nominations, it became clear that Annette "walks the walk." Please join me in congratulating Annette on this well-deserved award, and thanking her for all that she does to make our community a better and more sustainable place to live. Annette dedicated her award to her late father, Nicholas Loveless who was deeply involved in Lawrence Township as well, and instilled in Annette the importance of community service.
It is an honor to present the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Citizen of the Year to Pat Colavita; a life-long resident of Lawrence, who dedicated decades of his life to our community as a teacher, public servant, and volunteer. His wife, brother, and son were present to accept the award on his behalf. As noted by Councilmember Jim Kownacki, what made Pat special was his "ability to touch people's hearts and minds. He made everyone feel seen." Pat built longstanding friendships and connections with people and organizations all around town: Served in elected positions on the Lawrence Township Board of Education as President and Vice President, Lawrence Township Council as Mayor, and the Mercer County Board of Commissioners; Dedicated 16 years to Mercer County Make-A-Wish Chapter; Volunteered at St. Lawrence Rehab Foundation for 15 years; Volunteered at Contact, Trenton Soup Kitchen, Board of Social Services, and others; He was a man of faith, and ushered at St. Ann’s Church for 40 years. We are honored to celebrate Pat Colavita's life by awarding him the Lifetime Achievement Award, and we thank his family for accepting the award on his behalf.
It is an honor to present the Small Group Award for the Citizen of the Year to the Patriotic Committee; a group of veterans and residents who work tirelessly to promote patriotism in our community. The committee meets once a month with the Lawrence Recreation Department to discuss and assist in the planning of patriotic events in the Township. They are made up of veterans and residents who share a mission to create awareness for residents to remember and honor members of the armed forces of the United States. The committee takes a very active role in township patriotic ceremonies, organizations, and structures, and has volunteered in many ways, such as Master of Ceremonies, Color Guard, Grand Marshal, and many more additional responsibilities. Their dedication to honoring members of the armed forces is truly remarkable and inspiring. Through their efforts, the Lawrence Township Patriotic Committee has helped to foster a strong sense of patriotism within our community. They have worked to ensure that our veterans are remembered and honored, and that their sacrifices are never forgotten. We are honored to recognize the Lawrence Township Patriotic Committee with this award. And we thank them for their ongoing dedication to promoting patriotism and honoring the men and women who have served our country. Please join me in congratulating them on this well-deserved award.
It is an honor to present the Large Group Award for the Citizen of the Year to the Hamnett Soccer Association; a group of dedicated volunteers who have been serving the youth of Lawrenceville since 1957. The club serves about 600 youth in the Lawrence Township community, and provides a soccer environment that stresses a relaxed, fun-oriented approach to the game, to teach basic soccer skills, and to provide competition for its members to play the game in accordance with a high standard of good sportsmanship and fair play. Through their efforts, the Lawrence Hamnett Soccer Association has helped to promote youth soccer in Lawrenceville and foster a love for the game among its members. Through teaching the game of soccer, they’ve prepared Lawrence’s youth with valuable life-skills like commitment, grit, and teamwork. We are honored to recognize the Lawrence Hamnett Soccer Association with this award. And we thank them for their ongoing dedication to promoting youth soccer and fostering a positive and supportive environment for our young athletes. Please join me in congratulating them on this well-deserved award!
"It is an honor to present the Diversity, Arts, and Culture Award for the Citizen of the Year to Lawrenceville Main Street and the Lawrence Township Education Foundation two outstanding groups that organize the annual Spring for the Arts event. For the past several years, these two non-profit organizations have been working together to provide a fun community event with many vendors, small businesses, and performance opportunities for LTPS music students, performing artists, and professional musicians. The event is mostly run through volunteers and has over 100 vendors selling items up and down Craven Lane and by Weeden Park. The event is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of the organizers, who put in countless hours to plan this massive event that brings many people TO our community, and many people in our community TOGETHER. Thanks to their efforts, the Spring for the Arts event has become a beloved tradition in our community, providing a great opportunity for local businesses and performers to connect with residents and visitors alike. We are honored to recognize Lawrenceville Main Street and Lawrence Township Education Foundation with this award. Please join us in congratulating them on this well-deserved award"
"Victor Gutierrez has coached, managed, and facilitated the Lawrence Recreation Junior Wrestling program for 17 years. During the height of the wresting season Victor devotes 15+ hours per week to ensure the program is organized and well-run, and the registration numbers reflect his success: as the attendance records have increased year after year. The people who have worked with Victor describe him as humble, hard-working, and an embodiment of the values he preaches: respect and responsibility. We are proud to award Victor Gutierrez the Lawrence Township Volunteer Award for the impact he’s had on the youth in our community."
“The Lawrence Township Recreation Advisory Committee, appointed by the Township Council to work with the Lawrence Township Recreation Department, evaluates the recreation needs for our town in order to develop exceptional activities for the residents of Lawrence. Not only do they help with planning, they also assist in the operations of many recreation programs and events. Without the committee's dedication and support, the programs would not be as successful as they are. We are delighted to award the Lawrence Township Recreation Advisory Committee and its members the Lawrence Township Volunteer Award for their commitment to our community."
“William Agress has been a resident of Lawrence Township for 50 years. And over the decades, William has served in many capacities to both steward thoughtful development and preserve our rich local history. Over his many decades of volunteer service, he’s been the Chairman of the Lawrence Township Planning Board, President of the Lawrence Historical Society, and for the last 30 years has performed the duties of the Vice Chairman of the Mercer County Planning Board. He’s most commonly known to the residents of Lawrence as a historic re-enactor: often appearing has George Washington, Albert Einstein, and Lawrence’s own Colonel Hand (who he has portrayed since 1983). He’s often noted by members of the community as having an infectious passion and enthusiasm for Lawrence Township’s unique history and role in the revolutionary war. We are proud to honor William Agress’s lifetime service with the Lawrence Township Volunteer Award, and thank him for strengthening the bonds of our community”.