Residents Devoted to Community Service Inducted into the Niagara Falls Volunteer Hall of Fame
On Monday, July 23, 2018, several local residents who have demonstrated an extraordinary lifetime commitment to service were inducted into the Niagara Falls Volunteer Hall of Fame. Volunteer Hall of Fame candidates were nominated by the public and selected by a committee of past Hall of Fame inductees. 2018 honorees include: Marge Gillies, Bill Bradberry, Matthew and Yvonne Davis, and Josi Fera.
The Niagara Falls Volunteer Hall of Fame is an initiative piloted in conjunction with the LiveNF Volunteer Fair hosted by Niagara University and Congressman Brian Higgins with great support from the City of Niagara Falls. The projects seek to encourage individual and family volunteerism and recognize local volunteers that have given back to their community.
Eligible candidates to the Volunteer Hall of Fame must be residents of the City of Niagara Falls and have a minimum of 15 years of community service.
“Through the Volunteer Hall of Fame, we celebrate the giving spirit of the people of Niagara Falls who make this community such a special place to learn, work, live and serve” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “Our Catholic and Vincentian mission at Niagara University compels us to imbue in our students and alumni a tireless passion to serve those most in need, and these five individuals have embodied that spirit with ingenuity, energy and action. We congratulate them on their induction.”
“These exemplary individuals have demonstrated a selfless spirit and a tireless drive to give back,” said Congressman Higgins. “The Niagara Falls Volunteer Hall of Fame celebrates their efforts, and by telling their story we hope to inspire others.”
City of Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster added, “Through the countless steps they have taken for the betterment of our community each and every day, the four individuals we recognize today exemplify the very pillars of volunteerism. I am proud to welcome them to the Volunteer Hall of Fame Class of 2018 and hope that their stories continue to serve as inspiration for new generations of community-minded volunteers for years to come.”
Presenting the Volunteer Hall of Fame Class of 2018:
Marge Gillies is an educator, historian, master gardener, docent, activist, and a mentor. Ms. Gillies is known for her work serving organizations with missions centrally focused on making the city she loves better; this includes: the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society, Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Niagara Beautification Commission and many others.
Bill Bradberry is known for his work interpreting the history of the Niagara Falls area, most recently serving as the Chair of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Commission. Mr. Bradberry’s many volunteer roles include work with the City of Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board, the Niagara County Historical Society, the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, Mount Saint Mary’s Hospital, the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission, the Niagara Falls NAACP and the Niagara Falls Rotary Club. In 2017 Mr. Bradberry received the Civil Rights Achievement Award during the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community celebration.
Matthew and Yvonne Davis are the first ever duo to be selected for the Niagara Falls Volunteer Hall of Fame. The pair holds three “Lord’s Day Dinners” each year offering a hot meal, clothes, and gifts for those in need. In addition, the Davises participate in community cleanups, gardens, and daily giveaways for food, clothing and health products.
Josi Fera (Posthumously Honored) dedicated more than 50 years of her life making Niagara Falls a better place. Mrs. Fera’s Pick a Patch program encouraged neighborhood gardens, her work with Operation Petticoat showcased Niagara Falls talent and community events, and she was a fixture at the Italian Festival and as Mrs. Clause during the Festival of Lights. Josi’s lessons in individual responsibility to collectively build a better community live on as a legacy in the many people she inspired.