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BCTV Announces 2018 Eugene L. Shirk Community Builder Honorees

Mar 05, 2018 • by Berks Community Television
Eugene Shirk

BCTV is pleased to announce the 2018 recipient of the Eugene L. Shirk Community Builder Award, Karen A. Miller, and the recipient of the 2018 Community Building Company Award, Berks Encore. 

The Community Builder award honors the memory of former Reading Mayor Eugene L. Shirk and celebrates individuals who best embody his spirit and the qualities he demonstrated as educator, coach, mayor and citizen; civility, commitment to the well-being of others, honor, humor, involvement in our community, leadership. The Community Building Company Award is presented to a business or organization that promotes and exemplifies involvement in the community.

“We are thrilled to acknowledge Mrs. Miller’s pioneering accomplishments in public office and tremendous strides in community development, as well as Berks Encore’s valuable and tireless service to our community’s aging population.  Both are incredible assets to Berks County.  Their spirit is exemplary and we are honored to award them for their contributions,” said Heather Adams, Executive Director of BCTV.

In 1976 Karen A. Miller became the first woman to be elected to Reading City Council, the first woman elected Mayor, and in 1986, the first mayor in 100 years to be elected to consecutive terms. During that time she also served as President of the Pennsylvania League of Cities. She has served our state government in several capacities at the invitation of Governors Casey and Rendell, and was the executive director of the State Office of the Pennsylvania Economy League.

From 2007 to 2009 Mrs. Miller was the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Outreach Project for the Berks County Community Foundation and has returned to the Berks County Community Foundation as a volunteer Senior Fellow. Mrs. Miller is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

For more than 50 years Berks Encore has continued to grow and expand its services to meet the needs of Berks County’s aging community as well as their family members and caregivers. Berks Encore develops aging-confident individuals to enhance their ability to live well later in life. In their dedication to ‘Applauding Life After 50’, the organization is constantly seeking new and innovative ways to serve older citizens.

As they look to the future of aging services here in Berks County, they understand that it is probable that people will, on average, work longer and reach “old age” in somewhat better shape, and with higher expectations of service delivery. Today’s older adult population will be with us tomorrow, and will be more diverse. Berks Encore’s commitment to identifying the many elements of diversity in an aging population sets high expectations for accountability, positive community impact, and efficient use of public and private funds.

A ceremony to celebrate the honorees will be held on April 25th at The Stirling Guest Hotel in Reading. Tickets are $75/person and can be purchased by calling BCTV at 610-374-3065 or by emailing [email protected] 

Previous Recipients of the Shirk Community Builder Award: William Flippin, Jay Sidhu, Karen Rightmire, Paul Roedel, State Sen. Judy Schwank, Sam McCullough, S. Henry Lessig, Mary Ann Chelius-Smith, Chip Karasin, John Weidenhammer, Rick Burkey, Chris G. Kraras, Carl Herbein, Kevin Murphy, Barbara Kline, Gust Zogas, Chris Pruitt, and Elsayed Elmarzouky. 

The Community Building Company Award has been presented to Tompkins VIST Bank, and Albright College.

BCTV is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation committed to providing community media produced and hosted by people in the Berks County. BCTV’s mission is to enhance the unity and strength of the community by providing a medium for community dialogue and educational opportunities; a source of information of local, national and international origin, and a forum for the exchange of ideas on issues and topics of community interest. Learn more at

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