By Mike McClure

Delmar Citizen of the Year Marilyn Searcey was joined by family, friends, community members, and local politicians during last Tuesday’s banquet at the Delmar VFW. The annual event is sponsored by the Greater Delmar Chamber of Commerce.

Past citizen of the year Bunky Naugle served as the emcee before handing the microphone over to friends and family members who wanted to pay tribute to Searcey.

Robert and Marilyn Searcey listen as Bunky Naugle tells stories about her at the Delmar Citizen of the Year banquet last week in Delmar. The event is sponsored by the Greater Delmar Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Mike McClure

“This girl right here is one of the hardest workers,” said Russell Smart of Harvest Ministry, which shares resources with Renovate Church, where Searcey serves as pastor.

“Whenever I call they never say no. We’re always happy to receive what she brings to give to the community,” Brenda Mahan of the Society of St. Andrew said.

Ben Spear, worship pastor at Renovate Church, said, “You can see working with her every day her heart is for the people of the community. Her heart is the community, the lives that are touched. That’s her passion, her heart is Delmar.”

“You’re an inspiration with your faith,” added former Delmar (Del.) Mayor Michael Houlihan.

“She dug me out of the pit of despair and since that day she has taught grace. She has taught me about forgiveness, she has taught me about loving people like Jesus. She has given me the opportunity to live a life for Christ and have a passion for people,” Rochelle Outten said.

Outten, who volunteers at the church’s pantry with Searcey, said Searcey stops and prays with someone in need during the night of the pantry distribution.

“It doesn’t matter what’s going on. Everything stops because that’s where her heart is,” she said.

Searcey received presentations from Delmar mayors Tom Bauer (Del.) and Ben Jorden, Sussex County Council President Mike Vincent (on behalf of himself and Rep. Tim Dukes), Senator Bryant Richardson, Doug Niblett on behalf of the Delmar VFW, and Chamber President Conrad Morgan.

 “For years and years you’ve ben dedicated to this community. That’s why Delmar is so special,” said Morgan.

“There’s pretty much one scenario when people gather in a room and say nice things about someone but usually someone is lying in a box,” Searcey joked at the start of her speech. “To get to be here to hear these things is truly a gift. I do not have a big bank account but I am so rich. I feel honored and embarrassed at the same time.”

“The reason I am here is because I am surrounded by so many great people. It is not about me. This night is not about me, it is about us. No one accomplishes anything without having people around to make it possible. No man is an island,” said Searcey.

She said that those around her provide her with patience, grace and forgiveness. She thanked them for giving her a good place to live.

“The heart of Delmar is truly too big for one state and can not be contained,” she said. Searcey also acknowledged sisters Dawn and Becky; children Ryan, Luke, and Hannah; and her husband, Robert, who she called the epitome of loyalty and faithfulness.

“The most important thing is the Lord as my source and my rock. My life is an offering for him to do whatever he wants me to do,” Searcey said. “We have a brief time in life to restore broken things.”

Also in attendance were past citizens of the year Niblett, Mary Lee Pase, Naugle, Donna Wilkosz, Houlihan, Brenda L. Morris, Smart, and Sandra Davis.