Middletown library announces award winners to be recognized at centennial gala


MIDDLETOWN – The Middletown Township Public Library Centennial Anniversary Committee met earlier this year to review candidates for four inaugural awards. The following honorees will be recognized at the library’s 100-Year Celebration Gala on Oct. 29 at Jacques Reception Center, according to a press release.

“We are very excited to acknowledge these honorees,” said Heather Andolsen, director of the Middletown Township Public Library. “As our library celebrates 100 years of service, it is essential that we also look to honor those in our community whose care and service have contributed so much to the people of Middletown.”

• Joyce Murphy Imagination in Education Award – Linda and Abe Littenberg

The Joyce Murphy Imagination in Education Award, presented in memory of Middletown Township Public Library Children’s Department employee Joyce Murphy, recognizes an individual who shares Murphy’s inherent kindness, joy and creativity in their interactions with children and supports children’s reading as a means to strengthen their creativity, language, learning and overall well-being.

The award will be presented to Linda and Abe Littenberg, co-owners of A Child’s Place School in Lincroft. For more than 40 years, they have provided a positive environment for young children to create from their own imaginations, be themselves and become eager to explore the world.

• Outstanding Philanthropist Award – The Kolber Family

The Outstanding Philanthropist Award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the best of a caring and generous community and has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to long-term positive change through exemplary care, empathy and generosity within the Middletown community.

This award will be presented to George, Vita and Richard Kolber, who have donated to an array of national and local charitable organizations over the last 20 years through the Kolber Family Foundation.

The foundation has provided scholarships for underprivileged individuals, donations to Fulfill – the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties – and supported healthcare organizations such as Riverview and Bayshore hospitals, as well as educational institutions such as Brookdale Community College and Monmouth University.

• Business Generosity Award – Whirl Construction

The Business Generosity Award recognizes a Middletown-based business that embodies an overall spirit of giving through contributions of time, leadership and resources in support of local nonprofit organizations.

The award will be presented to Whirl Construction, a leader in park and playground construction in Monmouth County for nearly 40 years.

Whirl Construction has donated time, labor and equipment to support meaningful projects in Middletown, such as the original construction of the World Trade Center Memorial Gardens and recent enhancements made in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including installing a new walkway of personalized bricks that lead into the gardens.

Whirl Construction also supports veterans and has assisted Middletown Social Services with projects that help inidividuals in need who have served the nation.

• Historic Preservation Award – Christine Giordano Hanlon

The Historic Preservation Award recognizes an individual or an organization who/which has been an outstanding advocate for historic preservation in the community through projects or programs.

The award will be presented to Christine Giordano Hanlon, the elected Monmouth County clerk.

While serving as the county clerk, which is often referred to as “Keeper of the Records,” Hanlon has worked diligently to preserve, protect and educate the public about the county’s history which dates as far back as the 17th century.

As a member of the Monmouth County, Sept. 11, and Its Aftermath Exhibit Advisory Committee, Hanlon commissioned a short film to accompany the exhibit that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The film incorporates archival records, original interviews with Monmouth County residents impacted by Sept. 11, widows, survivors, first responders, historians and government officials and will preserve the history of Monmouth County’s connection to the event, according to the press release.

For more information about the Middletown Township Public Library 100-Year Celebration Gala or to purchase tickets, visit mtpl.org/gala-donations