Kennett Square mayor finds way to extend thanks

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‘Breakfast of Champions’ honors agencies providing valuable borough services 

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Audrey Roper (left), a business associate of Mayor Matt Fetick, helped him with preparations for the Breakfast of Champions.

When Matt Fetick became Kennett Square’s mayor, he thought he had a strong command of the terrain. After all, he had resided there for years, a frequent patron of its many restaurants and businesses.

“I thought that I knew Kennett and knew it well,” he told a crowd at the Red Clay Room on Tuesday morning. “I thought I was really connected.”

Instead, he said he spent his first few months in office marveling at the numerous agencies that serve the community. “I was really blown away,” he said. “I had no clue about all the great things going on.”

Fetick said he was impressed with the fact that so many people, many of them volunteers, were addressing a plethora of needs in a community of about 7,000 within one square mile – so impressed that he struggled with a way to express his appreciation without placing a burden on the recipients.

After collaborating with Joan Holliday, a public nurse “who never says no,” Fetick organized the first Breakfast of Champions, an opportunity for a host of organizations – from those who build houses to those who build self-esteem – to interact and provide a synopsis of their operation. Fetick  apologized for any agency he forgot and hopes they will connect with him.


Mayor Matt Fetick poses with representatives of After the Bell, a student advocacy program: Ceil Sheffy (from left), Jean O’Neil, and Kathy Hrenko.

He said he plans to distribute a short survey and elicit contact information from those who attended the breakfast. He said eventually he wants to post a database on the borough’s web site so that people who need services know what resources are available.

For example, he wondered whether a child attending a program at the Garage who mentioned a shortage of food at home would prompt a proactive response. “Do we know enough about what other people are doing to connect the dots? he asked. “We live in a community with the wealthiest of the wealthy and the poorest of the poor.”

Fetick said he envisions the breakfast as an annual event to express gratitude to all the people providing valuable services. Borough Council President David Miller also expressed thanks, calling Kennett Square “a diverse, vibrant, caring community.”

A self-acknowledged news junkie, Fetick said he checks multiple venues each morning for national and global events. He said he often responds to  coverage about conflicts and problems by concluding: “You all need to come to Kennett Square because we’ve figured it out.”

The organizations included in the breakfast were Bridging the Community, the Memorial Day Parade, Habitat for Humanity, Camp Dreamcatcher, the Chester County Health Department, Kennett Lions Club, Kennett Rotary, Historic Kennett Square, Kennett Area Community Services, the Garage Youth Center, United Way of Southern Chester County, Historic East Linden Street Project/Study Buddies, Pathstone/Alliance for Better Housing, MLK Breakfast Committee and CommUNITY Advocates, Kennett Square Family Center/Maternal and Child Health Consortium, Kennett Area School District, Kennett Area Senior Center, Good Neighbors, His Mission, Kennett Fire Company, Longwood Rotary, La Comunidad Hispana, Kennett Run Charities, Mushroom Festival, After the Bell, YMCA, Kennett Square Police Department, and Kennett Square Borough Council.

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