April 26, 2004 – The activities of a small, but important, contingent of Virgin Islanders were recognized Saturday evening at the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce's annual Wilbur "Bill" Lamotta Community Service Awards ceremony.
The ceremony and banquet, held this year at Wynham Sugar Bay Resort, honors public officials, private citizens and non-profit personnel whose service to the Virgin Islands community demonstrates dedication, sincerity, forthrightness, and ethics.
This year's principal honor went not to an individual but jointly to Henry and Penny Feuerzeig, a St. Thomas couple whose history of community involvement and activism goes back more than 30 years.
The Feuerzeigs are founding members of the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, an organization committed to improving the educational, cultural and environmental well being of Virgin Islanders. To this end, the foundation works closely with other non-profit groups and donors and, according to its Web site, hands out more than $400,000 a year in scholarships, grants and mini-grants.
The two began their careers here in 1972; he as assistant attorney general, she as a reporter with the Daily News. Henry went on to serve ten years as a territorial court judge and, after leaving the bench, went into private practice as an attorney. Penny worked her way up through the ranks at the Daily News and was named the Executive Editor, a position she held for 12 years. It was during Penny's tenure that the Daily News was awarded the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for community service.
Penny quoted her "good friend," recently deceased Calvin Wheatley, as saying, "If everyone here gave two hours a week to their favorite organization," it would be a different community.
Also honored at the ceremony were Edmund Penn, for his 53 years of volunteer service on the Magens Bay Authority board of directors, and Edith deJongh Woods, for her efforts as a historical preservationist and an advocate for the arts in the territory.
Catholic Charities' Bethlehem House, which provides temporary emergency housing for the homeless and those at risk, as well as counseling, classes, career guidance, referral services, meals, testing and evaluation, was also given an award.
This year's Student Achievement Award, which carries with it a $1,000 scholarship, went to Charlotte Amalie High School senior and Future Business Leaders of America president, Michael Toussaint.
The chamber's Award for Design Excellence was given to Christ Church Methodist for work it has done renovating a historic building located adjacent to its church in the heart of downtown Charlotte Amalie.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.