State Senator Joseph Griffo presented New York State Senate Commendation Awards to 16 community members on Wednesday

Griffo says the award is a way for the Senate to recognize exceptional people who have made a lasting contribution to their community.

“There are many individuals within our communities who are certainly worthy of recognition for their efforts to enrich the social, religious and educational well-being of their neighbors and fellow citizens,” Deputy Minority Leader Griffo said. “The hard working, caring and dedicated individuals receiving New York State Senate Commendations today have helped to make our neighborhoods and communities a better place for all.”

Among those honored were WIBX's Bill Keeler and former Boilermaker President Tim Reed for their "Real Men Get Tested" cancer awareness program.

Other honorees included:

Bill Worden, former WKTV anchor
Ed Welsh, Oneida County legislator and former AAA Northeast regional general manager
Rev. Joseph Salerno, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church and Our Lady of the Rosary
Rev. Dr. Maria Scates, CEO and founder of the Johnson Park Center
Dr. Mark Montgomery, founder of Joseph’s Experience
Craig Minor, former deputy clerk for five U.S. District Court Judges
Jerry Kraus, former executive director of the Stanley Theater
Ed Jackson, U.S. Navy veteran and community advocate
Dave Dudajek, Observer-Dispatch opinion page editor
Rudy D’Amico, retiring President and CEO of the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Anthony Colon, co-founder of the Mohawk Valley Latino Association and community advocate
Honorable Bernadette T. Clark, New York State Supreme Court Justice
Pastor Mike Ballman, pastor of Cornerstone Community Church and Plymouth Bethesda Church and founder and director of the Oneida Square Project
Rev. Ursula Meier, COO of the Johnson Park Center

Awardees received a personalized plaque and commendation coin as part of the ceremony.