2016 President's Distinguished Community Leadership Award Recipients Announced
|Palmer Gillis||Tony Gilkerson||Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services|
SALISBURY, MD---A business duo who literally have reshaped the Salisbury skyline and an organization that assists residents with one of life’s most basic needs — housing — are the 2016 recipients of the Salisbury University President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Awards.
Real estate developers Palmer Gillis and Tony Gilkerson receive the individual award, while Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. is recognized with the organizational honor. Their work will be celebrated during SU’s 90th-year Spring Commencement at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center on Thursday, May 19.
Gillis and Gilkerson “are outstanding examples of true civic leaders,” said Robby Sheehan, SU director of government and community relations and chair of the University’s Town-Gown Council. “Over the course of the past several decades, these two individuals have worked tirelessly, both personally and professionally, to build and strengthen the City of Salisbury and the surrounding community.”
This is especially evident in the downtown area, where their vision for the return of a thriving and vibrant corridor has begun to come to fruition. Among their most recent contributions to that goal was last year’s donation of the $4.4 million Gallery Building to SU via the Salisbury University Foundation, Inc. Potential University uses for the structure include centers for entrepreneurship, geographic information systems and the SU Art Galleries Downtown Campus.
In addition to their development success, Gillis and Gilkerson have served with area organizations including the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, Maryland Capital Enterprises, Greater Salisbury Committee, Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development, the SU Foundation and the Wicomico County Planning and Zoning Commission. In addition, Gillis is a former member of the Salisbury City Council.
“Their generosity … sets them apart as leaders throughout our community,” said Sheehan.
SNHS seeks to inspire and motivate homeowners, landlords, local business owners and other community leaders to play an active part of making the City of Salisbury and surrounding areas a good place to live, work and raise a family. In just the past five years the organization has helped create 175 new homeowners in the community, purchased and rehabbed five foreclosed properties, provided credit and budget counseling for 500 families and assisted 715 families facing foreclosure for a total investment in the community of $27 million.
“SNHS is a dynamic partnership of local business, local government, state and national resources; as well as other non-profits cooperating to fulfill our mission of neighborhood revitalization,” said SNHS Executive Director Cheryl Meadows. “Our ability to bring together public and private resources has been the cornerstone of our success.”
While SNHS’s loans and grants primarily serve the City of Salisbury, its educational and counseling services are available to those in surrounding communities as well. The organization also provides fiscal empowerment education and foreclosure counseling services for families in Worcester and Somerset counties.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at www.salisbury.edu/communityleadership.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
SU’s Community Leadership Awards are presented annually in two categories: individual and organization. Those in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester, Accomack, Northampton and Sussex counties are eligible.
Past winners include the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore; former Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Lewis Riley; Women Supporting Women and its founder, Sue Revelle; MAC Inc.; Henry Hanna, III; the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore; Dr. Peggy Naleppa; Dove Pointe, Inc.; Dr. Carolyn Stegman; Debbie Abbott; Dr. George Whitehead; Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County; the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce; Marty Neat; Lower Shore Enterprises, Inc.; Lee Whaley; the Richard A. Henson Foundation; Tony Sarbanes; and Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care.