EDGEWATER — Four Edgewater residents are being honored this week by the historical society for the work they've done to help neighbors and enrich the community.
For the last five years the Edgewater Historical Society has recognized members of the community as "Living Treasures" at its annual fundraiser. This year's winners include four good Samaritans who've helped collect donations for a local food pantry, bring theater to the neighborhood and push for an abundance of Free Little Libraries.
Tom Welch, an educator and consultant, was selected as a winner for helping launch Edgewater's network of Free Little Libraries by building the neighborhood's first. He played an instrumental role in creating Edgewater Reads, a program that includes community build days for the mini-libraries and encourages overall reading.
Welch also helped bring about a Safe Passage route for Senn High School and can often be seen with his dog welcoming commuters by the Thorndale "L" station.
"While I’m incredibly flattered to be honored, I feel like I am also functioning as more of a symbol of the many great folks we have in Edgewater," Welch said. "I am consistently awed by the many great treasures we have in the people all around us in Edgewater. It’s an incredible place to call home."
Another winner, Andrew Park, founded the Quest Theatre Ensemble out of his apartment in 2002 with the mission of providing free theater for neighbors with shows that reflect Edgewater's diversity.
Since then, his passion for community-based theater has flourished, with some productions being reproduced across the country.
Couple Steve Pryor and Gregg Rolewski are also being recognized as Living Treasures for their work collecting donations for Care for Real, in particular through their Pack the Car program which spends a day stuffing a vehicle full of items the food pantry can use.
The pair have also spent a decade heading a local block club, helping to keep an eye on topics like zoning, affordable housing and commercial opportunities in the neighborhood.