We are proud to report that two members of our Wings of Eagles family were nominated to receive this year’s Jefferson Awards for Chemung County. Alison Mandel, Director of Education at Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, was nominated for her work with the Elmira Kiwanis Club. Although not one of the finalists, she was very deserving of the nomination. Alison works tirelessly not only for Wings of Eagles, but spends most of her free time as a dedicated member of the Elmira Kiwanis Club and adviser to the Elmira College Circle K service organization. Of her nomination, Wings of Eagles president Mike Hall said:” Alison has done an incredible job building our education programs from scratch. She is tireless and relentless in her effort to bring the best STEM education practices to the youth in our community. We congratulate her for her efforts and are pleased that she was recognized as a nominee for the prestigious Jefferson Awards.”
Donald Keddell, Chairman of the Board of Wings of Eagles Discovery Center, was selected out of the nominations to be one of the six finalists who received the award. Don is a retired educator who continues to be a “community catalyst and champion for education.” As founder and volunteer of the Chemung County School Readiness Project, Don Keddell has worked tirelessly to remove barriers to success and create opportunities for all children to learn, grow and succeed. Over the last eight years, through his leadership, and with the help of many others, this effort has taken root and the readiness of Kindergartners arriving each year in our schools has increased substantially. Education is a passion that keeps Don’s calendar full, serving as Board Chair of the Greater Southern Tier BOCES, Wings of Eagles Discovery Center and the Chemung County Childcare Council. He is also an active volunteer for the Family Reading Partnership, the Horseheads Family Resource Center, and the Arctic League. In addition, Don serves on the deployment team for the Regional Math, Science and Technology (MST) Connect. It is safe to say that thousands of students within the southern tier have benefited because of Don’s commitment to education – both during his career and now in retirement. Don Keddell was recognized for his efforts in support of the children & youth in our community.
The Jefferson Awards for Public Service, which recognizes ordinary people who do extraordinary things without any expectation of recognition or reward, were established by the American Institute for Public Service. The Institute was founded in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard. This is the 10th year the Twin Tiers has participated in the program and honored area residents.