Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Holbert honored with Ben Franklin Award

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  • - A long-time community servant was recently honored on Nov. 14 by the Wayne County Community Foundation (WCCF) for her years of service. The Wayne County Community Foundation Board of Directors chose to honor Kunigunde "Kuni" M. Holbert by presenting her with the Ben Franklin Community Service Award. The award is named after one of the founding fathers of the United States, Benjamin Franklin. It also brings with it a $1,000 grand from the WCCF. The WCCF also provided an in-depth look at the life of Holbert after she settled down in northern Wayne County. Holbert was born in Germany and escaped across the Iron Curtain from East Germany in 1949. It was there she married Calvin Holbert and immigrated in 1957 to become a United States citizen. Holbert still lives in the same house on Lake Shehawken where her husband was born. It was there that she raised her three children: Lothar, Paul and Laura. Her husband had a career as an aerospace engineer for Sikorsky Aircraft, Singer Link, General Dynamics and the Federal Government. The couple was married for 47 years and now has five grandchildren. Holbert has had a prolific career as a very active community servant. She has been selling real estate for the past 34 years while keeping involved in many community organizations. These organizations include various committees within the Wayne County Community Foundation, especially the Youth Advisory Committee. She is the secretary of the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors and is also an active member. Holbert also sits on the Board of Directors of the Rail Trail Council of Northeastern Pennsylvania, is Chairperson for the Wayne County Planning Commission and the Preston Township Planning Commission. She is the a former director and treasurer of the Equinunk Historical Society and had an active role in restoring the Joel Hill Sawmill. Holbert has worked the Preston School PTO, the Lakewood Fire Company's Auxiliary, the Lake Como Alter Society, as local treasurer for the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE), Wayne/Susquehanna R.E.S.C.U.E and sat on the board for the Northeaster Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA). President of the WCCF Vicky Botjer said the award is a good fit for Holbert. "I think this award is a good fit for her. We really look to recognize those who have made a lifetime commitment to community service. They many not be a person who sponsors a big event," she said, but be a person who is is dedicated to community service. "I met Kuni in 1998 when I first became member of the the Wayne County Planning Commission," she said. "I've always been impressed by her enthusiasm and her intelligence." Botjer added that Holbert was "always a very staunch supporter of her causes but is also a very compassionate person." About the Ben Franklin Fund In 1790, Ben Franklin created a legacy that today reaches into the Wayne County Community. In his will, Franklin bequeathed 1,000 pounds of sterling, roughly equal to $4,000 today, to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Franklin also stipulated that the money be invested for 200 years. At the end of that period, the amount had grown to over $2 million. In 1990, then Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey signed a bill dividing the funds between the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and various community foundations throughout the state. The WCCF received a share of the fund. With this money, the WCCF established the Ben Franklin Community Service Award with the accompanying $1,000 given to the winner. The winner then donates the award to a local service organization of his or her choice. About the WCCF The WCCF was established in 1991 and is a one-stop shop for fundraising, grant development and student scholarships throughout Wayne County. The foundation serves the needs of the community by helping a variety of short- and long-range causes can be met and where donors can design specific funds targeting their own interests. The foundation is listed as a charitable organization under 501c(3) of the Federal Tax Code. To learn more about the Ben Franklin Community Service Award or the WCCF, visit www.waynefoundation.org.
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