Cecilia Gaines Holland Award
Established in 1944, the Cecilia Gaines Holland Award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a New Jersey Clubwoman. Named after the second President of the NJSFWC, this prestigious award is given annually to one clubwoman who demonstrates her commitment to her community by performing outstanding civic and volunteer work that extends above and beyond her service to her club.
To nominate someone from your Club, please log on to the NJSFWC website and download the nominating instructions, found in the Materials section.
2016 Cecilia Gaines Holland Recipient
Barbara J. Hencheck is the 72nd recipient of the prestigious Cecilia Gaines Holland Award, nominated by The Kalmia Club of Lambertville, College District. A well-known historian, community leader, and published author, our honoree is best described by her own words – “I Love History – It Is My Calling”. This love of history, especially that of Hunterdon and Cape May Counties, led her to become a founding member of the Lambertville Historical Society, instituting their House and Garden Tour, and originating the annual award-winning Lambertville Arts and Crafts Festival, renamed the Shad Festival. Cape May County benefitted from her efforts when, assisted by Senator Van Drew’s office, she was instrumental in moving a circa 1950 monument to the Cape May County Historical/Genealogical Museum. She also coordinated Stone Harbor’s First Airmail Flight Reenactment and served on the Steering Committee for their Centennial book, contributing the history section. In addition to actively serving her club as President from 1983-1985, she serves as Chapter and State Historian for the National Society of Colonial Dames of the 17th century, currently Charter Historian, General Mercer County, New Jersey DAR, and Registrar, National Society of New England Women and National Society of Southern Women. Awards received include the Governor’s Teachers Award, Hunterdon County Cultural and Heritage Commission’s Outstanding Scholarship in Historical Research, recognized as founder of the Hunterdon County Special Olympics, and honored by GFWC for spearheading restoration of historical Kalmia club house. The Federation proudly honors this most worthy recipient.
2015 Cecilia Gaines Holland Recipient
Rita Marie Fulginiti, A visit as a teenager to the Passport Office in Cape May County in preparation for a trip had a life altering effect on Rita. Already interested in history, and especially that of her beloved Southern Jersey shore, she was mesmerized by the tradition and history of the office, the public record keeping, and the additional activities conducted in the County Clerk's Office. She knew right then and there that this was something she wanted to do and where she wanted to be.
After graduation, she applied for a position in the County Clerk's Office was hired, and the rest is history. Her first assignment was to inventory all the basement records, some of which were tied up with string and hadn't been touched since the 18th century. Putting all these records in order, not only to protect them, but to make them more readily accessible to others, became her passion.
Rita soon began expending the preservation of historic public records dating back to 1692, and engineered the gradual restoration of many volumes of records. Each page was washed, and each volume repaired, rebound, scanned, and microfilmed. She even traveled to Vermont to the bookbinder to guarantee it was being done properly. To date, more than 225 volumes of the most precious records of Cape May County and 15 municipal governing bodies have been preserved. She launched the Capemaycountyarchives.com website in 2014, making the county's heritage records accessible online.
She ultimately rose to the position of Deputy Clerk, and elected as County Clerk in 2005 upon the passing of her predecessor. It hasn't been all work, however, as in her capacity as County Clerk she had had the pleasure of officiating at over 1,100 weddings, and naturally keeping a record of each one. A much sought after speaker, she is always ready to share her love of history, especially of the Cape May County area, and the importance of keeping records. She firmly believes that next to people, records are our most precious asset.
In addition to serving others as County Clerk, she also reached out to her community through various volunteer efforts. She chaired the Cape Women's Resource Fund, which supports equal rights and achievements of women, is a board member of the Woodbine Developmental Center, The Cape May County Board of Social Services, and is Past President of the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey, the Stone Harbor Lions Club, the Ocean City Republican Club, and the Greater Wildwood Jaycees. In addition, she is an active member of both the Women's Community Club of Cape May and the Colony Club of Ocean City.
Numerous awards recognizing her many efforts include the Paris Grants Award for Excellence for Disaster Preparation presented by the Secretary of State and Archivist of the United States for Development of the County's Records Recovery Center for Electronic Records. She was names Volunteer of the Year by the Southern Jersey Chapter of the March of Dimes, received the Public Information Award from the American Cancer Society, and the Legacy Award presented by the Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society. This past March Rita was named County History by the Cape May County Board of Chosen Freeholders
2014 Cecilia Gaines Holland Recipient
Jill McDonald married a military officer a week before nursing school graduation and began the life of a military spouse. During her husband’s first deployment she worked as a nurse at her Alma Mater, mentoring and tutoring students. Upon his return, the young couple moved to Falls Church, VA where she joined the evening workforce at Northern Virginia Doctors’ Hospital, moving ahead in the hierarchy over the next nine years. At home she was involved in church activities, especially those for infants and preschool children and their mothers. She led the way in expanding the babysitting service for preschoolers to a twice weekly six hour service where children could play and be cared for while affording respite for the mothers. She became active in PTA, volunteered at school and became a soccer mom.
In 1978, her husband rotated to Seoul, Korea. Jill was appalled that military families there had no on base child care options. She met with commanders and gained approval to investigate the problem. She sought space and funding, developed operating and hiring procedures and sought equipment sources. Near the end of her 3rd year in the country, Jill had established two full time day care centers, enlarged a part time preschool and a third center was under construction.
In 1981, when Jill was employed as a part time Registered Nurse, her family was named a “Great American Family” primarily based on their efforts in Korea. Seeking to validate this honor locally, Jill answered an ad for a Supervisor of the 50+ volunteers at Army Community Service (ACS). She became acutely aware that a major problem facing the relocating spouses was employment.
Jill envisioned a program to assist the spouses in gaining local employment. Program Development Implementation Funds were awarded to ACS Fort Monmouth based on the already established volunteer program. Over the years, Jill expanded the program offering workshops, training, Job Fairs and became the Subject Matter Expert for the Department of the Army. She mentored new managers from other bases and shared her materials, teamed with other military services to write desk guides and saw the program become available to spouses around the world as a Congressionally mandated core program with the Department of Defense, now known as Employment Readiness Program. She is especially proud of the Summer Youth Volunteer Program that she created and operated for 16 years to prepare teens for the “World of Work” through volunteer service.
Now retired she focuses her energy on assisting elderly neighbors and friends, improving the quality of life for soldiers, veterans, their families and the children and alumni at Girard College. Jill credits the NJSFWC for keeping her fire burning for community service through volunteerism.
2012 - Geraldine Tabako
Geraldine Tabako began her lifetime of voluntarism by following in her own mothers footsteps at her parish church. A lifelong member, she has served her parish in various capacities over the years as Lector, a member of the Altar Rosary Society and Co-President of the Pastoral Committee. She has served on the her parish elementary school PTA, first as the Ways and Means Chairman and than later serving as its President. She was active in scouting for four years as a scout leader progressing in different areas as her daughter advanced. She has coached the town youth girls softball team, ran the intermediate girls basketball league and helped coach the grammar school baseball team. In 199l, she was selected by the Township Committee to serve as Mayor, non-salaried, serving for three years. For over 7 years, she has volunteered at the South Jersey Food Bank. The Cathedral Kitchen of Camden welcomes her once a month as a compassionate volunteer where she has served for over three years. A member of WC of Merchantville for over 26 years, starting as a Junior, then an EMD member and finally a regular member, she as served in many positions both on the EMD Board and General Club Board.
2011 - JoAnn Aponte
Her journey to this award started as a teenager candy striper at New York Hospital. Active in girl scouting for many years and in her Church for over 40 years, JoAnn has continued in her dedication in helping those less fortunate.