Service Above Self

Tri-County Rotary Club honors non-Rotarians for vocational service.

Vocational Service Award recipients Shaun Connors, Rev. Robert J. Murray, O.S.A., and Shirley Santos, joined by Gerald Covella, President-Elect (far left), Chris Volker, Past President (far right), and current Club President Melanie Druziako (right front).

The Tri-County (VMBN) Rotary Club recently named Rev. Robert J. Murray, O.S.A., Shaun Connors, and Shirley Santos as its first-ever Vocational Service Award recipients. ​The awards recognize non-Rotarians, who through their chosen vocation, make a positive difference in the lives of others and the communities in which they live and work.

“These individuals embody the Rotary motto of Service Above Self in every way,” said Melanie Druziako, president, Tri-County (VMBN) Rotary Club. “They give of themselves and inspire others to do the same. They lead by example and are making South Jersey, and the world, a better place. We are grateful for their service and thrilled to recognize their contributions.”

Nominated by Tri-County (VMBN) Rotary Club President-Elect Gerald Covella, Father Murray is the Head of School at St. Augustine Preparatory School. In this role since 2017, and as a member of the school’s Board of Directors since 2010, Father Murray has positively influenced the lives of countless young men. His dedication helped establish St. Augustine Prep as the leading all-boys Catholic high school in New Jersey, bringing pride to Atlantic County. Father Murray, professed as a member of the Augustinian Order in 1976, was ordained to the priesthood in 1983. A highly regarded tenured professor, widely published author, and international presenter on counseling and mission effectiveness in Catholic schools, he served as director of the Graduate Program in Education and Counseling at Villanova University.

Also nominated by Covella is award recipient Shaun Conners, ​a family advocate with “Connecting Families to Communities.” She assists struggling families with finding resources to help them improve the quality of their lives. In addition to serving on many committees at First United Methodist Church, Connors stocks and maintains food items for families in the community; collects shoeboxes filled with toys and school supplies for “Operation Christmas Child,” and supports the Playstreets Program.

The third award recipient, Shirley Santos, was nominated by Chris Volker, Past President, Tri-County (VMBN) Rotary Club. Santos teaches at Sabater School in Vineland and has a strong background in bilingual education. An educator for 28 years, Santos has dedicated herself to helping underserved children and youth in Cumberland County. She was named Cumberland County Teacher of the Year in 2009 and served as president of the Board of the Boys & Girls Club of Vineland in 2016-2017, helping to open its first teen center. Through her work with Hispanos Pro Educatión and Acción Social Puertorriqueña, she has helped motivate students to further their education. She is a member of the Vineland Education Association, New Jersey Education Association, and the National Education Association.

The Tri-County (VMBN) Rotary Club, part of District 7505, provides service and support to individuals and organizations in Vineland, Millville, Buena, and Newfield. The club also co-sponsors the Cumberland County College Rotaract Club, and Interact clubs at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, Buena Regional High School and the Tri-County Community Interact Club held at St. Mary School in East Vineland. The VMBN Rotary Club meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. at Merighi’s Savoy Inn in Vineland. For more information, visit tricountyrotary.com or e-mail ​tricountyrotary@gmail.com​.

For more information on Rotary International, visit rotary.org.

Online Edition