JFK "Courage in Leadership" Awards

(From L to R) Amber Gesslein, Candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder and Administrator for NJ Laborers’ PAC; Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director at New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA); Elizabeth Friedman, Monmouth County Group Leader for Moms Demand Action; and Lauren Albrecht, Chair of the Monmouth and Ocean County Democrats LGBTQ Caucus

On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, the Wall Township Democrats gathered with friends and supporters for their 7th Annual Gala Dinner at the Spring Lake Manor in Spring Lake, NJ. The centerpiece of the event was the bestowal of the JFK Courage in Leadership Awards. This year’s recipients were four extraordinary women who have each made an indelible mark on our local communities through their leadership, inspiration, and hard work.

The honorees for the evening included Elizabeth Friedman, Monmouth County Group Leader for Moms Demand Action; Amber Gesslein, Candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder and Administrator for NJ Laborers’ PAC; Lauren Albrecht, Chair of the Monmouth and Ocean County Democrats LGBTQ Caucus; and Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director at New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA).

“Our honorees this year demonstrated extraordinary to their fields and community,” said Eric Brophy, Chairman of the Wall Township Democratic Organization. “I was especially humbled to, for once, be a proud minority in that room of extraordinary women. These Americans’ achievements and hard work are what we should all aspire to. They are truly beacons of light for Monmouth County.”

Each of the four awards is inspired by a definitive speech by President John F. Kennedy and are presented to individuals who best exemplify the spirit of each speech.

Elizabeth Friedman received the JFK New Frontier Award. This award is presented to a leader who exhibits courage and foresight, not complacency and salesmanship. Elizabeth is representative of a new generation of leaders who are not afraid to set a new course and directly face up to our gravest challenges, like the epidemic of gun violence that affects every community.

Amber Gesslein received the JFK Beacon of Light Award. This honor is bestowed upon an outstanding future leader. The “Beacon of Light” that Amber brings as a recipient is her intuition, selflessness, and courage. Finding new ways to deal with old problems, while forging creative responses to tired worries, is what President Kennedy represented to a new generation of Americans. It also is precisely what Amber brings to her candidacy as Monmouth County Freeholder.

Lauren Albrecht received the JFK City Upon a Hill Award. This award is given to an individual who has exhibited courage, judgment, integrity, and dedication - the qualities of truly great leaders. Lauren has worked tirelessly to empower the LGBT community in the Democratic Party through political volunteerism, activism, and unyielding support to the candidacies of LGBTQ individuals at the local level.

Patricia Teffenhart received the JFK Profile in Courage Award. This honor is given to someone whose work forces them to deal with much opposition and criticism, and yet still fight for what is right and necessary. Patricia’s work with NJCASA joins people together in action for the common cause of ending sexual violence and supporting all those whose lives have been affected by it.

The presenters of the awards featured honorees from previous years, including NJ District 11 Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, former Monmouth County Freeholder candidate, Dr. Margie Donlon, and the Executive Director of Garden State Equality, Christian Fuscarino.

The Wall Township Democrats wish to congratulate the recipients of the JFK Courage in Leadership Awards and thank those who support their efforts in our local communities.