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'Remarkable West Siders' making neighborhood better place to live

West Side Community Services

Good deeds are not going unnoticed, as the First Annual Remarkable West Siders Awards were held Sunday. West Side Community Services honored neighborhood organizer Stephanie Cole Adams, community police officers Jeanann Sharpe and Joe Szafranski, as well as Lafayette High School Principal John Starkey and three Buffalo Public Schools students.

WSCS Board Chair Betsy Murphy said the event plays a big part in community building.

“First of all, it’s bringing people together, which is always important. Secondly, we are getting to meet folks who are working really hard to make the west side a better place and that’s inspiring," Murphy said. "It honors their efforts too and I think it encourages them to do more. It’s all about networking and it’s about meeting people, meeting your neighbors, recognizing our diversity.”

Murphy said Adams is one of many who are working hard to make the environment a better place.

“She was very instrumental at a very grassroots level in terms of reclaiming a park in her neighborhood on Massachusetts Avenue that was really run down and dangerous," Murphy said. "She’s made it into a wonderful community environment. All these things are really inspiring to people who get to know these folks and see what they’re doing.”

Police officers Jeanan Sharpe and Joe Szafranski received recognition for standing out as role models and communicating regularly with kids and teens in the area.

However, Murphy said they have only scratched the surface finding those who deserve recognition. Three Buffalo Public Schools students were also recognized as “remarkable teens” and future leaders in the community.

Murphy said she hopes to see this event stick around for years to come.

“I think it highlights what individuals can do to make a positive impact in their communities," she said. "The West Side is a remarkable community based on our location, based on our diversity, and I think these folks are inspiring just as individuals to make a difference.”