East Oak Lane Spirit Award Recipients

By: Smiley Ferebee

 

Michael Cauchon

Michael is a recent addition to East Oak Lane via Syracuse, NY.  He has experienced an amazing life - news journalist, deejay, on-air radio personality, voiceover artist, camera and drone operator, and an associate producer for Disney!  At 38 years young, he divides his time between his dog soulmate, Teddy, and his sister, Colby, and her children. Colby said, “He is the perfect uncle and loves this community.” Currently, he is on a fitness regime and you will see him walking all over East Oak Lane daily! Please say hi or give a wave.

 

As soon as Michael landed in EOL, he became involved as a major player in getting EOL’s message across with regards to our opposition of the 1100 Oak Lane development. His powerful and artfully execution of a video designed to voice our concerns soon gave us the momentum and encouragement that we needed to see us through this campaign. It exposed truths and brought attention to our position. His passion for his new community provoked a professional production that was a catalyst in the outcome that we so desired. It is a must see and can be found on our website.

 

David Anker and Milay Galvez

David and Milay joined the East Oak Lane community in 2016 after looking for a new Philly community and home.  Upon arriving here, they fell in love with the people, history, and unique characteristics, which make East Oak Lane what it is today. Milay, who is Cuban born and raised, has often commented that she has never felt more at home anywhere in the United States than she has felt in East Oak Lane.

 

Milay and David are avid cyclists and love the outdoors. They both work for the same Bicycle company - Milay in Marketing and David in Sales - which is based in Northeast Philadelphia. They can be seen from time to time cycling about EOL or pedaling their way to work. 

 

Milay's background is in Sociology and Anthropology. She worked in Social Work for years in Michigan and Philadelphia, and her passion is advocating for engagement between her native Cuba and the US.  David, originally from the Midwest, is a fan of history and spends his free time "polishing the rough edges" on their 132 year old home. 

 

David and Milay became involved in our community's resistance to the proposed apartments at 1122 Oak Lane early in 2020, and were active in networking with the press, elected officials, facilitating, and organizing rallies this summer and autumn. They could be seen passing out fliers on many days. Additionally, they started and managed the @EastOakLanePhilly Instagram page. This power couple have humbly shared their 132 year old home for meetings concerning the proposed development and when mandates did not allow OLCAA to have their first Board Meeting after the OLCAA election, they happily provided us with a space. There are so many more contributions afforded to East Oak Lane by David and Milay. We thank you for your service.

 

Penny Kroll

Penny joined the East Oak Lane community in 2016, after stints in West Virginia, New Orleans, Philly (again), Miami, New York, and originally, her hometown of Forked Island, Louisiana. Penny now lives in "the pink house" with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren, where they enjoy hosting weekly informal Happy Hours open to the community. She looks forward to resuming these once it is safe to do so.

 

What you might not know about Penny is that she has a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy, has visited nearly every state in the country, and makes the meanest gumbo either side of the Mississippi! Many of you can attest to the gumbo when she prepared it for one of our SnowBall events. Thanks to her testimony and work putting together an East Oak Lane Senior Coalition in opposition to the zoning variance request at 1122 Oak Lane, the community had a strong enough legal argument to win the day! OLCAA is proud to present the 2020 East Oak Lane Spirit Award to our “Shero,” Penny. Thank you for your community service.

 

Tom Vales

One of the most valuable things you can give is time. Tom is in the business of public service daily and yet at the end of the day, when he clocks out of his professional public service employment, he makes time for his beloved community of over 40 years. As a busy family man, in a three generational household, he and his trusty snow blower will take on the task of snow removal for his entire block. Tom does not like his block to worry or be disadvantage due to snowstorms. Some of his neighbors are elders and he is adamant about their safety. I smile every time I hear that blower after a snow fall. I need not look out the window. We already know who is out there taking care of us all.