Each year, Middletown residents Susan Faulkner and Mary Ward-Hutchison gather hundreds of local community members to Silver Lake Park for one large cause: to fight cancer by raising money during the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Middletown.

    The pair was recently recognized for their efforts when the Middletown Lions Club’s awarded them the third annual Humanitarian Award June 27.


    Each year, Middletown residents Susan Faulkner and Mary Ward-Hutchison gather hundreds of local community members to Silver Lake Park for one large cause: to fight cancer by raising money during the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Middletown. 
    For 11 years, the duo has organized the 24-hour event, which has raised more than $1 million for cancer research to date.
    The pair was recently recognized for their efforts when the Middletown Lions Club’s awarded them the third annual Humanitarian Award June 27. 
    Carolyn Rifino, chair of the Middletown Lions Club’s Humanitarian Award committee, said each year, the club invites community members to nominate someone they feel has committed acts that were outstanding, unique or heroic and who has positively impacted the community or helped others.
    “We just feel there're so many people in Middletown that do things that go unrecognized,” she said. “We’re showing Middletown that we have some outstanding people in our community and great volunteers that do so much.”
    Rifino said Faulkner and Hutchison were among 10 individuals nominated this year, and they were chosen because of the hard work and dedication they put into Relay year after year.
    “They just seemed like the perfect people for it,” she said. “They have put so much into this [cause] for the past 11 years. The work they’ve done is just outstanding.”
    Faulkner, a paraprofessional at Cedar Lane Early Childhood Center, said she was shocked when she learned she and Hutchison were receiving the award this year.
    “I had no idea we were even being considered,” she said. “This is not why we do what we do. I’m very happy to just be in the background and orchestrate from my kitchen table, but it was very kind of them to recognize us for the hard work we’ve put in.”
    Hutchison, an adapted physical education teacher for the Appoquinimink School District, echoed Faulkner’s sentiments and said she is honored to share the award with someone she has been friends with for more than 20 years.
    “I certainly feel great about working with [Faulkner] on this,” she said. “It’s nice to be along on the journey with her.”
    Faulkner said Relay For Life has become a passion of hers and she will continue to chair the Middletown event with Hutchison as long as she is able.
    “I love the community feel of our event and the way it brings people together,” she said. “We celebrate with survivors, we remember those we have lost and we pledge that we’ll keep fighting.”
    Hutchison, who is also very active in Special Olympics Delaware, said community service is very important to her because it makes for a strong community.
    “I just feel it’s an obligation to give back,” she said. “If you can, you should.”