The Journal Wins Spinnaker Community Service Award

By Lori Draz

The Journal Publications are enormously proud to announce that we, and owner/publisher Louis Frances Mercatanti, have been chosen to receive the prestigious Eastern Monmouth Area Chamber of Commerce (EMACC) 2017 Spinnaker Award for Community Service. To be chosen by the esteemed panel of judges, from among so many amazing companies and professionals, is a true honor. To have this happen as we begin celebrating our 20th anniversary year is even more special.

This is also the 25th anniversary of the Annual Spinnaker Awards. EMACC Executive Director Lynda Rose stated, “Every year, it is our noble mission to choose and honor a select group of businesses and individuals who give of themselves to make life better for everyone in eastern Monmouth County.” EMACC chairman and co-chair of the Spinnaker Awards Bob Baerenbach added, “Spinnaker has become the premier business-to-business signature event in our region. The event annually attracts hundreds of people who attend to congratulate the honorees and to network with Monmouth County’s foremost business and community leaders.” Tom Duffy, Spinnaker co-chair, said, “We are particularly fortunate that Monmouth County has so many good and generous individuals and businesses. We never run out of nominees for this award. In fact, it seems to be more difficult each year to select just one in each category.”

The Journal’s Louis Mercatanti thanked the organization for this meaningful honor, and also thanked his staff and those who support The Journal in the communities we serve. “The Journals are honored to have been chosen, and to be in the company of the other winners this year and the fraternity of former winners. We are all blessed to live and work in this remarkable area. The Journal’s mission over the last 20 years has been to share the news and stories of our great towns and people. My staff works with passion every month to make our magazines as good as they can be for our readers. We have many plans for the future, including a new relationship with 180 Turning Lives Around, and we hope everyone will join our efforts to help them support the many victims of abuse in our community.”

This fall, The Journal Publications will be setting up more than a dozen drop-off locations for donations of new household and gift items for families supported by 180 Turning Lives Around. The “Nets Make a Difference Campaign” will be rolled out in October and we’ll supply all the details on how you and your group can get involved.

The other 2017 Spinnaker honorees include:

Volunteer of the Year, for an individual who provides exemplary service to the community: Toby Stark

Mr. Stark has been committed to volunteerism since he was a small child, helping his father out at various Lions Club events. He once served on the EMACC Board of Directors and serves on the board of directors for the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council, where he is actively engaged with the legislative committee. He has never stopped his work with the Lions, and in 2009, he became the youngest person elected president of the Eatontown Lions Club. He also heads the very successful Lions Club charity golf outing, which helps raise money for the Fisher House, the Capt. James Gurbisz Foundation, and local community projects.

Arts & Culture Award, for individuals and organizations that support and cultivate an appreciation of arts in the community: Middletown Arts Center

The Middletown Arts Center (MAC) is an award-winning, state-of-the-art facility owned by Middletown Township and operated by the Middletown Township Cultural & Arts Council, Inc. (MCTAC), a 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of local residents by supporting and promoting the arts. They offer an enormous variety of cultural and arts enrichment programs, classes, and events. There are children’s programs, special performances in the onsite theater, and regular art shows throughout the facility.

Public Service Award, for an individual who is a source of pride to the citizens he/she serves and is consistent with high principles: Christine Hanlon, Monmouth County Clerk

Christine Giordano Hanlon was elected for a five-year term as Monmouth County Clerk on November 3, 2015. Prior to becoming county clerk, she was Of Counsel to the law firm of Archer & Grein, PC and focused her legal practice on government affairs and municipal law. She received her law degree from Fordham University in 1992, following her graduation from Barnard College, Columbia University. After graduation, Ms. Hanlon was a law clerk to the Honorable A. Simon Chrein, Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, from 1992 to 1993. She then served as an assistant district attorney in Bronx County, N.Y. from 1993 to 1997. She is currently treasurer of the Monmouth County Bar Association and a trustee for the Monmouth County Bar Foundation. Ms. Hanlon lives in Ocean Township with her husband and four children.

Community Service Award – for a business with less than 50 employees which has shown a dedication to the good of the Eastern Monmouth community by leadership and spirit in support of our quality of life: The Journal Publications

Celebrating its 20th year, and devoted to sharing the local news the makes a town a neighborhood, The Journal publishes four distinct monthly editions; Colts Neck, Holmdel, Navesink Area (Lincroft, Little Silver, Middletown, Red Bank, Shrewsbury), and Rumson/Fair Haven/Sea Bright.

Corporate Good Neighbor – for a business with 50 or more employees, whose culture motivates employees to be personally involved as Good Samaritans to make eastern Monmouth a better place to live: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices NJ Properties

Since 1954, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties has been an independently owned and operated full-service real estate brokerage company. The 650 agents of their 20 offices believe in living the core values of integrity, success, excellence, dependability, and energy. They are also dedicated to giving back by helping organizations like The Sunshine Kids, a non-profit group dedicated to providing a variety of programs and events for kids receiving cancer treatment. Recently, their Rumson office hosted two successful fundraising events: a Classic Boat Ride area and housing tour, and A Day at the Track. They also support Kick Cancer OverBoard by raising funds to send families who are going through cancer on vacation cruises.

Non-Profit Organization of the Year, for an organization that provides consistent quality programs and services to the community: SPUR (Special People United to Ride)

Working in conjunction with the Monmouth County Park System, Special People United to Ride (SPUR) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to achieve personal goals through therapeutic horsemanship. The park system’s Sunnyside Equestrian Center provides a safe environment for students to enjoy the freedom of riding and handling a horse. Instructors are certified by PATH International, the governing body of therapeutic horsemanship. In addition to the staff, over 100 volunteers help with programs serving more than 200 students with disabilities annually.

The Spinnaker Awards Dinner will be held on January 26, 2017 at The Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury and will be held concurrently with the annual election and installation of officers and directors. The Spinnaker event will also feature live entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, open bar (beer and wine,) a silent auction to benefit the EMACC education scholarship fund, and a plated sit-down dinner. To learn more, call the Chamber at (732) 741-0055 or visit