Robert Craig - Outstanding Citizen of the Year 2016
The Chadds Ford Civic Association congratulates long-time resident Dr. Robert Craig for his stewardship and preservation of one of the most beautiful and historic farms in the township. Dr. Craig will be honored in October as the association’s Outstanding Citizen of the Year at the Brandywine River Museum during an evening event. “We salute Robert for helping to preserve the rural nature of our township, which is one of the stated goals of the Chadds Ford Civic Association,” said Mary Kot, Secretary of the association. “The farm has been very important to me and my family for a long time,” Dr. Craig said. “My father Walter Craig bought the farm in 1926. It was 95.5 acres. He later bought 12 contiguous acres on the west side. With one minor exception, the farm perimeter is essentially the same as it was in the late 1600s.” The Craig family’s working farm on Harvey Road is among the larger tracts of undeveloped land in the township. There are no plans to change the status of the farm’s ownership, use, or buildings, Robert Craig said. Its ownership eventually will pass to his son, Dr. Robert Craig II, Ph.D.
Dr. Craig, who spent his teenage years on the farm, said that “since earliest days it has been a dairy farm, with the milk going to Philadelphia.” In the 1950s, “my brother Walter, Jr. and I started a dairy, too.” Today, the farm is devoted to growing corn, wheat and soybeans. Dr. Craig enjoys studying the farm’s history, explaining that the land dates to a William Penn grant. As documents show, Penn in 1683 sold William Lamboll, an English Quaker, a deed for 625 acres in the Brandywine Valley. Lamboll initially deeded 100 acres in Chadds Ford Township to his niece, Alice Glover, and her husband, John Brunsden, who both came to America in 1684 and homesteaded on the land. A few years later, the land was sold to a familiar local name -- Samuel Painter, Sr., who is believed to have immigrated to Philadelphia from England with his son, Samuel, in 1699. The younger Painter is credited with building the two-story home on Harvey Road with its distinctive Flemish bond brickwork. The larger section dates to about 1723, and the smaller section to 1738, according to a state historical study. Craigs, too, were among the area’s early settlers. “Our family ancestor, John Craig, came to the Chadds Ford area from Scotland in 1687,” Dr. Craig said. “The story in our family was that our ancestors lost their land in Scotland and came to America looking for farmland. Over time, Craig family members owned various farms in the area. Craigs continue to own land because, as my father often said, they value land over dollars,” he said.
The farm was involved in the final stage of the Battle of the Brandywine as the Continental Army retreated, engaging the British along the way. Dr. Craig said in reflection: “Many people, some here, died in agony for freedom.” Every year major improvements are undertaken to stabilize the house and barn, including roof maintenance, foundation reinforcement, pointing on stone walls, and, most recently, a new porch for the house, a replica of its Victorian-era renovation. Dr. Craig currently manages farm operations. Previously, he served Chester and Delaware Counties as a veterinarian for 30 years, working at New Bolton Center and running his own large animal practice. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and earned an undergraduate degree from University of Delaware.
-- The author is Cathy Taylor, a Chadds Ford resident, former Washington Bureau Chief for a Southern California newspaper and a friend of Robert Craig.
Bruce Prabel Chosen First Outstanding Citizen - 2103
The Civic Association of Chadds Ford has chosen it’s first-ever Outstanding Chadds Ford Citizen of the Year for 2013: Bruce Prabel of Heyburn Road! Bruce has been volunteering in the community since he moved here 32 years ago with his family. Bruce holds the record for participation in the Civic Association’s Roadside Cleanup. He has participated in almost every Roadside Cleanup since the Civic Association re-started the biannual cleanup in 1993. Bruce’s extensive list of volunteer activities include: Township Roadmaster, Tax Collector, author and "negotiator" of required PA Emergency Action Plan for Hilloch Dam & Lake community with PA Dept of Environmental Protection for protection of the community, President of UHS Parents Basketball Boosters Club, and a volunteer at the CF Historical Society. Bruce has volunteered hundreds and hundreds of hours on Township special projects over the years including increasing collections of tax revenues, proposal of a burning ordinance, review of a proposal for Township-wide rezoning to cluster housing while restricting historical 2 acre minimum residential homes to near zero (proposal was cancelled and not passed), and detailed needed revisions of Local Service Tax (LST) law to bring it into compliance with PA State law. Bruce attended the University of Michigan and the University of Utah, attaining a B.S. Degree in Chemistry in 1963. Bruce, his wife Marianne, and two sons built their home in Chadds Ford in 1979, with their sons attending Unionville High School during the early 1980’s. He was employed by the Dupont Company in technical sales, marketing, product and business management positions for 29 years.
Philip Wenrich - Outstanding Citizen of the year 2017
Philip Wenrich, a 23 year resident and current PA State Constable, is our 2017 Outstanding Chadds Ford Citizen of the Year. In Chadds Ford Township, Phil has served as Fire Marshal, Emergency Management Coordinator, Road Master, Webmaster, Committeeman and Civic Association President, Vice-President, Webmaster and Newsletter Editor just to name a few. Phil was a long time member of the Board of Directors for the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that affects him personally every day. Phil is currently awaiting lung transplant and his current situation is life-threatening, struggling to breathe daily but every day he gives to others, never saying no when asked to help out.
Phil regularly donates financially and with his time to help and counsel Cystic Fibrosis patients and their families. Phil is a former Police Motorcycle Officer and served as the head of the Fraternal Order of Police. He is currently the President of the local Centurions Police Organized Motorcycle Club. The Centurions have raised over $300,000 for the Shriner's Hospital for Children. Phil hosts dozens of online support groups not just for our township residents but also for law enforcement and people suffering from Cystic Fibrosis giving them help, support, comfort and the resources to get the care and support they need. Aside from his career in law enforcement he owned a national home healthcare company specializing in home infusion therapy. Phil is a baker and owner of a local restaurant, and he has received countless awards for lifetime achievements and benevolence, he has given most of his life selflessly helping others and his community. Phil will be honored at the Chadds Ford Civic Association Annual Meeting on October 24.
Karl Kuerner Jr. - Outstanding Citizen of the Year 2014
Andrew Wyeth memorized Karl Kuerner Jr. in his painting of the modest farmer. He further vividly shared Karl's farm to the world with a major portion of his paintings of this farm and its people. As his son Karl appropriately stated " Karl Kuerner Jr. is a simple man that loves the earth. He is a man of the earth and a very generous man." His generosity was vividly displayed when he donated 33 acres of his farm, his barn and his house to the Brandywine Conservancy. He still walks his farm daily in search of Indian arrow heads and deer antlers, once discovering a cannon ball from the Independence War. For many years he farmed his land raising a herd of cattle. Karl Jr. loves his land and his family and friends. So did Andrew Wyeth whose numerous paintings were of this farm and its people. The Civic Association is proud to bestowed the Citizen of the Year on this"man of the earth", Karl Kuerner Jr..
Klaver Chosen 2015 Outstanding Citizen
The Chadds Ford Civic Association has chosen Keith Klaver as the 2015 Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Keith served as Chadds Ford Township Supervisor from 2012 - 2015 and as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 2014. During his tenure as a Township Supervisor he was the liaison to the Township Open Space Committee, Finance Committee and Sewer Authority. Prior to his election to Township Supervisor, Keith served as Treasurer on the Board of the Chadds Ford Civic Association and as Chadds Ford Township Sewer Authority Chairman. Keith is committed to serving the citizens of Chadds Ford and epitomized what we all look for in a public servant. He devoted countless volunteer hours to his job. Keith is often described as a “true gentleman”. Keith resigned from the Board of Supervisors in January 2015 due to health reasons and will be sorely missed.
Keith, a native of Iowa, graduated from the University of Iowa and began a 35 year career with Price Waterhouse Coopers, LLC. Keith became a petroleum expert and a partner in the Houston office. He subsequently moved to San Francisco where he was the managing partner for PWC on the Chevron account. In 2000 Keith and his wife, Jeanne, chose to live in Chadds Ford when Keith transferred to Philadelphia to become managing partner on the Du Pont account. Keith is now retired and enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.
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