Three Local Volunteers to Receive Maple Leaf Award

By mark-slade April 2, 2011

Three Local Volunteers to Receive Maple Leaf Award

Sunday, April 3, 2011, Janet Crane, Mark Mucci, and Irene Kosinski will be honored as recipients of the Maple Leaf Award. Tickets are $25 per person and are still available!
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On Sunday, April 3, 2011, Mark Mucci, Irene Kosinski and Janet Crane will be honored as recipients of the Maple Leaf Award.  
“Whether the volunteer work of this year’s recipients has been given for service to children and youth, Scouting, education, seniors, veterans, and/or various programs and activities to serve our diverse community and enrich the lives of our residents, Janet, Mark, and Irene are exceptional individuals whose dedication and service have made Maplewood a better place to live,” said Mary Devon O’Brien, Chairman of the Maple Leaf Awards.
“This year’s Maple Leaf Award recipients include both long time and relatively new residents of Maplewood.”   The 43rd annual Maple Leaf Award Ceremony and brunch, which will be held at the Woman’s Club of Maplewood (60 Woodland Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040), will begin promptly at 1:30 PM, so people should plan to arrive earlier in order to find seating.  The cost is $25.00 per person, and reservations and payment in advance are required.   For attendance information call: 973-763-4135.
MARK MUCCI
Mark Mucci grew up in Rochelle Park, in Bergen County, NJ, where parents Charles and Jeanne Anne still live in the house they’ve owned there for nearly 50 years.  In 1989, Mark moved to Maplewood, bringing a spirit of   volunteer service that benefitted Maplewood in the ensuing years. Married for nearly 27 years, he and Laura are parents of son Mark Adam, a 2008 graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University who is serving as a music teacher in Old Bridge, NJ; and daughter Sarah, who is in her final year at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. As a result of Mark and Sarah’s accomplishments in Scouting, the Arts and Athletics, and in Academics along with Laura’s past leadership roles in PTAs, the Music Parents Association and the Maplewood Garden Club, Mark thinks he is  better known as “Mark’s dad,” “Sarah’s dad,” and “Laura’s husband.”
A New Jersey attorney, specializing in Energy and Utilities Law and Administrative Law since 1984, Mark was named to “The Best Lawyers in America” list, Energy Law, published by Woodward White, 2009. A graduate of Bergen Catholic High School, he graduated from Boston College, with a Bachelors in Mathematics in1981 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1984.
One of the most significant volunteer roles Mark has is as a Trustee of the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. There he has served for the last several years as Chair of the Community Coalition’s Interfaith Outreach Committee. Through discussion groups and community events, this outreach brings residents from different faith communities in our two towns together.
In the role as Chair of the Interfaith Outreach Committee, Mark has been involved in instituting and planning the community’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. observance and Volunteer Fair, which is held at a different congregation each year in Maplewood and South Orange.  Over the years, the event has presented a variety of speakers, including Mark Morial, chair of the National Urban League; Paula Dow (then-Essex Prosecutor, now Attorney General); Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker; and numerous local religious leaders, academics, and charity figures.
For over 10 years, Mark has volunteered with the Troop Committee for Boy Scout Troop 5 in Maplewood, where was involved in various fundraising activities along with serving as Troop 5 Treasurer.
Mark is also an active volunteer in his parish, St. Joseph Catholic Church in Maplewood, where he has been a parishioner since moving to Maplewood. Serving on the Visionary Council of our former pastor, Fr. Tom, he helped to draft the “mission statement”, found on the front of the bulletin, which attests to the diverse and inclusive nature of St. Joseph Church.  He also served with the Stewardship Committee, to encourage greater involvement of all of our parishioners and as a co-Director to plan and carry out St. Joseph’s first Cornerstone Retreat weekend, held last Spring 2010.  For a number of years Mark has also served as part of the RCIA team, and was pleased and humbled to be honored as Outstanding Catholic Layman in 2009.
Last year Mark joined the Board for First Night Maplewood South Orange where he worked to help coordinate publicity throughout the year at local events, and on New Year’s Eve.  Serving the young and old though a variety of service organizations and his parish church, Mark has made Maplewood a better community with his commitment to service.  With the Maple Leaf Award, a grateful community says thank you, Mark, for your service.
IRENE KOSINSKI
Born in Lucerne, Pennsylvania, Irene moved with her parents to New Jersey where they settled in Newark. After graduating from Weequahic High School, Irene received a four year scholarship to Rutgers, majoring science, which was followed by a Master’s Degree in Education. Certified to teach K-High School grades, Irene began a 36-year career teaching in Hillside, New Jersey (additionally she was the only certified science teacher there for 8th grade).
She joined the Hillside Chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa Teacher’s Sorority, where she served as its President. Irene loved teaching, and her students loved learning from her as she brought humor, direction, and innovation to the subject matter, so it was no surprise that she was recognized as “Teacher of the Year” in Hillside. She jokes that when she received the award, the picture taken by a friend of Gov. Kean shaking her hand was just that – a picture of the hands alone being shaken.
Along with her family, Irene attended Grace Episcopal Church in Newark, and there Irene worked with the Grace Episcopal Church Women and later served as the group’s President.  It was at Grace Episcopal Church in Newark that at age nine, Irene met her future husband, Chester “Chet.”  After years of knowing each was the one for the other, they married in 1964 and moved to Maplewood in 1973.  Irene and Chet brought a combined love of history and dedication to preserving the authenticity of history that had greatly benefitted Maplewood. Irene worked with the Junior League and did a report on cast iron cooking pots.
In 1980 Irene and Chet became members of a group, the Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR) that performed historically accurate re-enactments of American Revolutionary War events that included Irene’s hand sewed “authentic” costumes for Chet. They took part in the 200th Anniversary at Yorktown with 4,000 others and traveled a great deal with BAR events as part of the Third Brigade Regiment. Meanwhile at Durand-Hedden House and Garden, Irene served as an active volunteer from the start and became a Durand-Hedden Trustee and Vice President. Chet formed a militia group, “the Littel Militia” which performed many events at Durand-Hedden.  Irene remains a mainstay at events, school visits, and exhibitions with her teaching and demonstrations of authentic Open Hearth Cooking.  She was also in charge of the Durand-Hedden Country Store.
When the Maplewood Town Hall murals needed to be repaired and restored, Irene became an important and knowledgeable member of the Maplewood Murals Committee and eventually its Chairperson. The Committee undertook both the volunteer fundraising and gathering of experts to ensure that the Maplewood murals – a Maplewood treasure – would be properly restored. Maplewood again was the beneficiary of Irene’s talent and dedication.
Before his untimely death in 2000, Irene and Chet enjoyed 36 years of married life together sharing an interest in military service and history, and today Irene serves as Treasurer of the Maplewood Committee for Servicemen and Servicewomen.  Irene is also a member of the Maplewood Woman’s Club, the Maplewood Garden Club, and the Friends of the Library.
Irene still enjoys gardening, volunteer work at Durand-Hedden, and “teaching” about cooking in the 18th and 19th centuries. Young and old have benefitted from Irene’s enthusiasm, talent, and skills, and Maplewood is the fortunate recipient of Irene’s volunteer spirit. With the Maple Leaf Award the community thanks Irene.
JANET CRANE
Janet Crane is a volunteer who understands the importance of service in shaping a community as she is a lifelong resident of Maplewood. A product of Maplewood’s fine, local educational system, she graduated from Tuscan School, Maplewood Middle School, and Columbia High School, in the class of 1980.  After she received her BA from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, she began her career in health care as a professional recruiter.  Now 27 years later, she remains a leader in the field today.
Janet met her husband, Steven Crane, the owner of Crane’s Delicatessen and Cheese Shoppe, in 1984. Her fond memories of Peter’s Bakery and the Maplewood Cheese Shop—both of which she frequented growing up—spurred Janet to support her family’s entrepreneurial risk when they opened Crane’s back in 2005. Other fond childhood memories include all things infused with the “Spirit of Maplewood”: church choir, JYF, MYF, Girl Scouts, soccer, softball, “The Village” and lots of friends. She remembers her parents, Vince and Dolores Confalone, as role models and as enthusiastic, involved community members. Janet says, “Coming from this home environment has led me to be the type of adult that believed that I could make a difference.”  In addition to her belief that her volunteer service could have a positive influence in the community, her children, 18 year old Meredith and 14 year old Jack are two other reasons she is so active in the life of our community.
Janet began her volunteer efforts at Open Door Nursery School, helping to create an auction to fund the enhancement of the school playground.  Valuing Maplewood’s educational system, she served as PTA Board President of Tuscan Elementary School from 2001 to 2003, she served as Maplewood Middle School (MMS) Home and School Association Board President from 2006 to 2008, and she is a current Columbia High School (CHS) Board Member.  Currently, Janet is also the Chair of Project Graduation/Midnight Madness 2011 at Columbia High School.
Janet’s love of sports made her a natural choice for the Fundraising Chair of the Maplewood/S.O. Packers Football Association from 2007-2009. Not forgetting her alliance to CHS and its continued excellence, she also became a member of the CHS Alumni Association and was instrumental to the success of the “Ever Upward” campaign for the renovation of Underhill Field, now known as the Lynn V. Profeta Sports Complex.
Janet has been a member of the Morrow Memorial Methodist Church her entire life, where her church service as included a position on the Morrow staff, parish relations committee.
Although the troop has since disbanded, ask any of  “her girls” from Girl Scout Troop #529 who always participated in the Dickens Village festivities,  overnights at the Oval, and the 4th of July parade, and they would tell you that Janet Crane is a real leader—their leader!. Now helping the Maplewood Civic Association 4th of July Committee, Janet remains active as a judge at the July 4th baking contest.
While she has dedicated so much of her time to enhancing the community, Janet says she couldn’t have done it without the many other volunteers who supported her efforts for the kids, the town, the schools and our community at large.  Maplewood in turn appreciates the significant contributions Janet has made to improve the quality of life in Maplewood and says thank you with the Maple Leaf Award.
Just a reminder that the awards brunch is this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Maplewood. It’s not too late to make a reservation with Mary Devon at marydevon@msn.com.  Price is $25 per person. Volunteers make all our lives better!