When John Warzol, a senior at Schalmont High School, started his leadership project for Eagle Scouts, he had no idea that the good he was doing for others would lead to a positive reward for him besides, of course, the satisfaction that comes from helping your neighbors.
Warzol set out to collect coats and other items for the needy in Schenectady County starting in August. Several months later, he managed to collect more than 700 jackets and other goods, including shoes, clothes and toiletries, which he donated to the City Mission of Schenectady.
Not only did he complete his leadership project, his work earned him Rotterdam's Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award for 2008, which was awarded at the Wednesday, Dec. 10, Rotterdam Town Board meeting. This is the second year the town has handed out the award.
I started off by making fliers that told everyone there was going to be a coat drive," said Warzol.
He told Rotterdam residents to leave the items in bags on their porches on certain dates. Warzol, family members, friends and other Eagle Scouts took care of the rest, going to more than 1,000 homes to retrieve the donated items. He also set up a collection post at Jefferson Elementary School.
"I didn't ask for it, but some people also gave shoes and clothes so I took all of it and brought it over [to the City Mission of Schenectady]. We received coats, hats, mittens, toiletries -- soaps, razors and diapers " overall we got over 700 coats and 1,000 to 2,000 toiletries and multiple hats and gloves," said Warzol.
There aren't any set guidelines to win the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award, and there's no application to fill out. It is awarded to a citizen who's done something above and beyond the call of duty for the community.