New Castle County Councilmember Bill Powers (D–6th district) recognized the late Ellen Combs-Davis with a Volunteer Service Award on Nov. 18. Each New Castle County Councilmember recognized an individual or organization for exceptional volunteer service. Other area volunteers who received awards included Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Ciesielski of the Rose Hill Community Center Outreach Program, who was recognized by Councilmember Bill Bell (D–12th district), and the Friends of Glasgow Park, recognized by Councilmember David Tackett (D–11th district).
Ever since the collapse of its ceiling in March, Middletown residents have shown a dedication to The Everett Theatre. They have given their money, provided their time and shared their memories of The Everett Theatre on Main Street in hopes of renovating it.
Middletown resident Hedley Davis said the town can thank his mother, the late Ellen Combs-Davis, for that.
“We would not have had the Everett and the Gibby [The Gilbert W. Perry, Jr. Center for the Arts] if it hadn’t been for her determination and drive and grit,” he said.
Combs-Davis was posthumously awarded for those accomplishments on Nov. 18 when New Castle Councilmember Bill Powers (D–6th district) presented her family with the New Castle County Council Volunteer Service Award.
The award went to 12 individuals or organizations with the aim “to recognize, thank and reward a volunteer for service to our community which has benefited all citizens of New Castle County.” Each member of the county council picked a recipient and explained why they wished to honor him or her in an official resolution to honor him or her.
Resolution No. 08-191, which recognized Combs-Davis and was introduced by Powers, names her efforts to save the Everett as the most remembered of many accomplishments. However, it also recognizes her work in the formation Associated Community Talents, Inc., her position as a lifetime board member and her creation of The Gibby and her election as the first woman senior warden of the vestry of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Middletown.
“ ‘Miss Ellen’ as she was affectionately known, was a determined, focused woman who was proud of her town and its people,” states the resolution.
It also states, “Despite her self-described cantankerous public persona, Miss Ellen privately, and unconditionally, reached out to those in need, offering shelter and a warm, caring smile. She was a selfless champion of the underdog, who earned the respect of many.”
Davis said his mother played a huge role in A.C.T., but gave credit where it was due.
“She was careful not to hog the spotlight,” he said. “The spotlight followed her.”
He accepted the award for Combs-Davis along with his wife Michele, son Zachary and daughter Rachel.
“Mr. Powers has been great,” Hedley said. “He’s been a big supporter of A.C.T., Inc.”
Hedley said receiving the award for his mother allowed him to meet with others in New Castle County dedicated to volunteerism, and hopes to collaborate with them in the future.
“We’re just going to sit down and chat, see what’s going on,” he said.
Hedley said he hopes this award will encourage volunteerism, especially in A.C.T, Inc. He said he believes re-opening the Everett can make the town a better place.
“She would want nothing more than to see that place be successful,” he said of his mother.
Other area volunteers who received awards included Volunteer Coordinator Catherine Ciesielski of the Rose Hill Community Center Outreach Program, who was recognized by Councilmember Bill Bell (D–12th district), and the Friends of Glasgow Park, recognized by Councilmember David Tackett (D–11th district).
Resolution 08-197, which recognized Ciesielski, honors her for her organization’s coordination with the Food Bank of Delaware, USDA and local donors to provide food for the needy in the community. It also mentions her more than 30 years of work as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Nurses and Kids, in which she cares for medically fragile children from infant to 10-months-old; her work as a foster parent; her work as a volunteer coordinator for the Holy Spirit Annual Christmas Angel Tree, which donates clothing and presents to needy children during the holidays; and her 20-year membership in the New Castle Moose Lodge.
Resolution 08-196, which recognized the Friends of Glasgow Park, commended them for their participating and advertising community activities at the park, overseeing fundraising and awareness-raising events conducted at the park and keeping up a Web site for information about the park.