Feature photo of Mary Ann Wardlow courtesy of Camden County government
By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
CAMDEN — Lawnside Mayor Mary Ann Wardlow, Pennsauken Deputy Mayor Nicole Roberts and longtime Camden youth coach Anton Dyer lead the new list of honorees for the Camden County MLK Freedom Medal named by the Camden County Board of Commissioners this week.
All the honorees will be recognized at the MLK Freedom Medal Ceremony on Thursday, January 19. The MLK Freedom Medal is presented to county residents who have selflessly contributed their time and effort to better their community in conjunction with the goals of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Serving as the first women mayor of Lawnside, Wardlow is one of the deans of public officials in Camden County, serving on the Lawnside council for more than 27 years. Wardlow and her husband, Earl Wardlow, have lived in historic Lawnside for nearly 50 years.
A statement from the county commissioners said that Wardlow has exhibited a “profound care for the community” along with a “devotion to public service.”
“Mayor Wardlow’s inspiration to get involved in serving her neighbors throughout the borough comes from her mother and grandparents, whose often-repeated guidance that ‘your community was your family’ and that ‘you are responsible for looking after your neighbors’ took root in her heart at an early age,” the statement said.
Roberts was the first African American woman elected to the Pennsauken Township Committee and then became the first Black female to ever serve as deputy mayor this year. The lifelong resident of Pennsauken, she is the daughter of founding members of the Homestead Youth Association, where she learned the value of community-based recreational opportunities at a very young age.
“Nicole was a strong supporter of school-based activities during the years her four children attended Pennsauken Public Schools and was a very active volunteer with the Pennsauken Youth Athletic Association for more than a decade, taking on responsibilities for fundraising, managing the snack stand, and handling athlete registrations,” the Camden County statement said.
She current volunteer work highlights the variety and versatility of her interests, including supporting underserved communities with the Obsidian Charitable Foundation and continuing to give back to her hometown as a member of Pennsauken’s Township Committee.
Dyer, best known throughout Pennsauken and Camden as Coach Twuan, has spent nearly 50 years coaching and managing youth sports in Camden City. After serving as an assistant coach to East Camden youth basketball and football teams during his own teen years, Dyer founded his own neighborhood tackle football team that played other neighborhood teams throughout the city.
“Coach Twuan’s long tenure with the Cramer Hill Rockies, later the Camden P.A.L. Bulldogs, led to 16 championships across three weight divisions in the Camden City Youth Football League,” the commissioners said.
“Coach Dyer’s decades of contributions to meaningful and joyful opportunities for youth development throughout the region have touched the lives of thousands.”
Other MLK Freedom Medal honoree include:
*Peter J. Fontaine
*William and Gloria Jensen
*Queen N. Stewart
Read the bios of all the winners at the Camden County Board of Commissioners website here.
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