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Bayville church elder recognized for post-Superstorm voluntarism

The reshaping of a church leader’s community commitment after Superstorm Sandy leads to national recognition by the company in the township that’s employed him for more than a quarter-century.

Tom Powell (Morning Star Presbyterian Church, Bayville)
Tom Powell (Morning Star Presbyterian Church, Bayville)

Tom Powell of Lacey Township, who attends Morning Star Presbyterian Church in Bayville and works at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant, is one of 18 recipients of the “Exelon Energy for the Community Employee Volunteer Award,” in recognition of the Volunteer Village that has been a large part of his focus since the 2012 disaster.

Powell will accept a $5,000 Merit Award on behalf of Volunteer Village at a June 8 ceremony in Philadelphia.

Since February 2013, Tom and his wife Priscilla pursued grants and supervised bidding and hiring to add Volunteer Village to the church grounds. It’s used as a staging area for volunteers who help in building reconstruction and renovation and homeowner relief, providing them with a place to organize, dine, wash and even run loads of laundry.

According to Reverend Myrleen Hamilton Hess, the Village has hosted more than 900 workers from 17 states who have contributed about 50,000 hours of labor in Ocean, Monmouth and Atlantic Counties.

Teams are assigned through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), coordinated through donations, grants, the American Red Cross and the Presbyterian Church’s special offering, One Great Hour of Sharing.

Village organizers partner with the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group, Jersey Shore United, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and other organizations.

The church on Grand Central Parkway also supports a food pantry and three Alcoholics Anonymous groups.

Learn more about Superstorm-related services by calling the church at 732-606-9700, or the Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group at 732-569-3834.

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