Doing good for others, helping our communities, and living a life that makes our communities better—that’s what the Martin Luther King Community Service Awards are about. And a select few made an impact and made a difference.
Two Ocean City residents with very different contributions to the community were selected for the high honor.
Longtime local historian John Roper and Dr. Patrick Kane, hand surgeon and former school board president, are the 2023 award winners.
They will be honored at noon on January 16 at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony at Ocean City Music Pier.
The event brings communities together to remember Dr. King through words, songs and dance.
“Each year, this award recognizes volunteerism and service to the Ocean City community. It has been essential in preserving our history over the years,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in a statement.
And Dr. Kane, Chairman of the Ocean City Board of Education, “guided the school district through the extreme challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, always putting the needs and concerns of our students first,” Gillian continued. rice field.
Each year, the ceremony celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King. It is also where the audience learns about the winners.
Click here for more information about the event.
In an interview Monday, Roper paid tribute to Dr. King by quoting some of his most famous quotes about the importance of recognizing and preserving history.
Having worked with previous and current city officials since 1978, he said local officials have “always embraced their history.”
“That’s what kept history alive here,” Roper said.
Loeper said he volunteers because it was instilled in him from an early age to help his community.
“My mother always volunteered and my grandmother volunteered before my mother. It was just instilled in us,” he said. “My sister in Florida also volunteers. I don’t do it for recognition. I do it for the betterment of the city.”
For Loeper, it’s all about preserving history.
“Ocean City has a rich history of communities that have been around for just over 100 years,” he said. That history has shaped the Ocean City of today. “
His family has been staying at the resort in one form or another since 1904, whether living or vacationing.
Ocean City is a place he and his family hold dear.
“Without my wife to support me, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,” Loeper said.
While Roper has spent decades preserving and restoring history, Dr. Kane has spent the past several years spending a lot of time on the school board, helping the district navigate the new virus, COVID-19. supported
He led a school board that enacted safety protocols to protect students and staff during the pandemic.
“I am truly honored to be recognized by the city for such an important award,” said Dr. Kane, who failed to run for re-election after his term on the school board ended in December.
And he said it was humbling to be put on stage and honored in the same ceremony that honors the legacy of the great Dr. King.
“Dr. King was a visionary leader who changed the course of our country. I am humbled to be recognized as part of his legacy,” he said.