Local community leaders recognized with commendation awards

Sen. Joe Griffo honored 16 local leaders with New York State Senate Commendation Awards on Wednesday.

Posted: Oct 30, 2019 6:02 PM

UTICA, N.Y. – Sen. Joe Griffo honored 16 local leaders with New York State Senate Commendation Awards on Wednesday.

Bill Worden, former anchor at NEWSChannel 2, was recognized with an award for his contributions to the community.

Griffo says Worden is “someone you could look up to and respect and know you were getting fair and objective information so that you could make an informed and intelligent decision based upon what was happening in your community.”

Worden, who has been retired for seven years, says he didn’t expect to receive the honor.

“This was a total surprise; I knew nothing about it. I’ve been retired since 2012. It's a great, great honor, I’m truly humbled. When your community says ‘thank you,’ that should mean something to anyone on the receiving end of this. That's how I feel. God has been good to us and good to the city. all the naysayers about Utica -- forget it. Utica is on the growth pattern right now. We're going ahead,” said Worden. “If you give back to your community -- I can't put it into words -- it gives back to you, in a special way. That's the reward.”

Other award recipients included:

  • Ed Welsh, Oneida County legislator and former AAA Northeast regional general manager
  • Rev. Joseph Salerno, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church and Our Lady of the Rosary
  • Rev. Dr. Maria Scates, CEO and founder of the Johnson Park Center
  • Tim Reed, former Boilermaker Road Race president and co-founder of Real Men Get Tested cancer awareness program
  • Dr. Mark Montgomery, founder of Joseph’s Experience
  • Craig Minor, former deputy clerk for five U.S. District Court Judges
  • Jerry Kraus, former executive director of the Stanley Theater
  • Bill Keeler, radio host and co-founder of Real Men Get Tested cancer awareness program
  • Ed Jackson, U.S. Navy veteran and community advocate
  • Dave Dudajek, Observer-Dispatch opinion page editor
  • Rudy D’Amico, retiring President and CEO of the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Anthony Colon, cofounder of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association and community advocate
  • Hon. Bernadette T. Clark, New York State Supreme Court Justice
  • Pastor Mike Ballman, pastor of Cornerstone Community Church and Plymouth Bethesda Church and founder and director of the Oneida Square Project
  • Rev. Ursula Meier, COO of the Johnson Park Center

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