Anna Jezycki made history at Tuesday night’s Galloway Township Council meeting.
The outspoken resident didn’t voice her opinion on yet another issue facing the township, nor did she reprimand the council for doing something she didn’t agree with, as she has so many times in the past.
No, in this case, the woman known affectionately in the town as “Mrs. J” was recognized as the first recipient of the Mayor’s Award, presented to her by Galloway Township Mayor Keith Hartman.
“I’m not used to being on this side,” said Jezycki, standing in the area of council chambers normally reserved for those making presentations to the township.
As far as the council was concerned, there was no one more deserving of being on that side than Jezycki.
“She just jumped off the page at us,” said Hartman, referencing the selection of Jezycki as the award’s first recipient.
“After this, we might have to honor two or three people at a time,” Deputy Mayor Don Purdy said. “There are a lot of dedicated people in this township. There are a lot of people that are overlooked. People that give back and never get recognized.”
The award will likely be given quarterly, and the council has other names in mind for future awards. However, Jezycki will always go down as the lone, first recipient.
The council recognized Jezycki for her work in helping to keep parolees from being transported to Galloway Township. A parole office is being set up in Galloway.
After an initial promise that the office would serve only administrative purposes, it became clear the building–and the township—faced the possibility of becoming a home for parolees.
Jezycki led the effort to keep the parolees out and hold the state to its word. In the end, due in large part to her efforts, the parole office was restricted to an administrative office.
“In times like these, volunteers are priceless,” Deputy Mayor Don Purdy said. “And I know a lot of people feel better when it’s residents that are doing more and keeping the government out of their lives a little bit.”
Jezycki delivered a speech following the presentation in which she thanked several people.
“Those people who know me know there are two sides to me,” she said. “One side is like a diamond and one side is like a tree. The diamond has a lot of facets. Without good facets, the diamond isn’t good. My facets are my friends. They are what makes me who I am.
“Second is the tree. Without the limbs, the tree dies. My limbs to my tree are my family.
“That’s who I am: my friends and my family.”
A video of Jezycki's speech from Tuesday night's meeting accompanies this story.