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South Brunswick Volunteers Honored for Community Service

Three people to receive annual Barry Indik Award, which recognizes residents who serve South Brunswick.

As an organization that survives on the work of volunteers, the Citizens for Independent Living believe strongly in recognizing those that give their time to serve South Brunswick each year.

CIL is a community-based, non-profit organization with the mission of empowering developmentally disabled adults to live independent, productive lives in the community. Their annual Barry Indik Memorial Awards honor individuals who have shown outstanding dedication, service and friendship to the South Brunswick community.

"This award is an important event for our fundraising, but it also recognizes what Barry did for us," said CIL President Jessie Parker. "He was so helpful to us, so this is our way of giving back to the community and saying thank you to Barry for doing such a good job for us."

This year the Indik Award recognizes the work of Kendall Park resident Evelyn Catoe and Larry and Gilda Gildenberg, also of Kendall Park.

Catoe is being honored for her years of work volunteering for the South Brunswick Public Library on the Friends of the SBPL and Board of Trustees, the township Cultural Arts Commission, township Cable Commission, and the local Pioneer Grange organization, which is dedicated to the farming community.

"(Catoe) has done such a wide variety of things for South Brunswick and she's a very dedicated member of our township," Parker said.

For Catoe, the recognition from the CIL holds a special place based on her own experience with the developmentally disabled.

"I had a handicapped son of my own so the kind of work the CIL does I have been interested in for years," Catoe said. "I worked with a home where my son was living and I saw some things I wish I had never seen. I saw people who were good and caring and I also saw the bad side of physical and mental disabilities before my son died. So as far as I'm concerned, the CIL does a great job and anything I can do to help them I will do."

The Gildenbergs are also being honored for a wide range of community service work. Larry is a former Township Committee member and Deputy Mayor of South Brunswick who volunteered for the Kendall Park First Aid and Rescue Squad for 25 years, with time as both President and Captain. He also volunteers for the Red Cross blood drives and collects funds for the less fortunate as part of the annual bell ringing campaign.

Gilda is a former township school teacher who still volunteers in the district. She served on the township Women's Club, for the Girl Scouts, and Willows Swim Club. Gilda also volunteers for the Red Cross blood drives, and the annual bell ringing campaign.

"Both Larry and Gilda have served as role models for many people in the community," Parker said. "This is the second time we have honored a married couple and we have chosen a very good couple. The two of them have given a lot of service to South Brunswick."

For the Gildenbergs, the award holds a special place as friends of the late Dr. Indik.

"It's very nice and surprising and we feel really good about it because Barry was a friend," Gilda said. "We really had the community at heart with what we've done over the years, so we're quite pleased."

The CIL began in 1984 as a community-based, non-profit organization with the mission of empowering developmentally disabled adults to live independent, productive lives in the community. One of CIL’s primary goals was housing, and it developed a clear direction through the efforts, energy and expertise of the late Dr. Indik. The award is a tribute to his work to improve the lives of all people in South Brunswick.

"Barry Indik was a man who involved himself in the community," said CIL Director Linda King last year. "He participated and gave of his time and expertise. The Barry Indik Award symbolizes the essence of everyone’s ability and obligation to be involved and give back to the community in which you live."

Last year's honorees were Ellen Gambatese for her work with the South Brunswick Public Library and the community development block grant program, among other volunteer projects; and Jamie Rainey, a resident and member of CIL who was honored for her extensive volunteer work with the rescue squad and senior citizens in town.

The awards will be presented at CIL’s Annual Independence Ball on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Princeton. Tickets cost $60 and all funds raised support the programs of the CIL. For more information please call Jessie Parker at 732-355-0620.

"It's a night that brings our community together, gives our members an opportunity to be involved in a formal affair and get out in the community," Parker said.

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