Bill Elliott, executive director of the Shore Medical Center Foundation, says the Fraser family has left its imprint on just about every worthy cause in southern New Jersey but never seeks recognition for its good work.
For example, a fundraiser for the music department at Holy Spirit High School was held last week, and Don and Bonnie Fraser Siok quietly donated a piano to the school, Elliott said. If someone hadn't mentioned it at the event, few would have known about their generosity.
"They're equal-opportunity benefactors. They really help everybody," said Elliott, who nominated the Frasers' Mays Landing Golf and Country Club for The Press of Atlantic City's annual Bailey Award. "I consider them to be Atlantic County's first family in terms of what they do for everybody in this region."
A panel of judges agreed with Elliott's view and chose the Mays Landing Golf and Country Club as the recipient of the 17th annual Bailey Award. Launched in 1995, the award is named after George Bailey, the main character in the Christmas classic movie "It's A Wonderful Life." In the film, Bailey experiences a major setback and contemplates suicide, but an angel shows him the impact his actions would have on his hometown over the years.
Members of the community nominate businesses for The Press' Bailey Award, and previous winners decide who will join their ranks.
All award recipients are extremely grateful for the recognition, Press of Atlantic City Publisher Keith Dawn said. While most are humble and don't brag about their good deeds, they appreciate being honored for their part in giving to the community.
Jim Fraser, of Egg Harbor Township and president of the Mays Landing Golf and Country Club, co-owns the business with his brother, Doug Fraser, of Upper Township, and his sister and brother-in-law, Bonnie and Don Siok, of Northfield. He said he was surprised to win the Bailey Award.
"To have our business recognized like this means a great deal. It shows that we're recognized for what we really do, which is give back to the community," Fraser said. "It's part of our business policy that when people have charitable events at our facility, we give something back every time."
Elliott took three typed pages to list the reasons he believed the Mays Landing Golf and Country Club should receive the Bailey Award.
Members of the Fraser and Siok families donate to - and raise money for - many local causes, including Shore Medical Center, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, the South Jersey Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Atlantic Cape Community College, he wrote. The family also has introduced many area youth to the sport of golf, sponsored college scholarships for players and run numerous tournaments for charity.
For the country club's 50th anniversary earlier this year, the family hosted a party for the public, and provided free pony rides, a petting zoo, bounce rides and fireworks, Elliott wrote.
"It's well-deserved. They're a wonderful family that has done a lot for the community over the years. I'm thrilled that they won," Elliott said. "They're always generous hosts, and their food is legendary."
The family is an integral part of the community, and has a presence at just about every charitable event in Atlantic County, Elliott said.
"The fact that they haven't won previously is a testament to their modesty," Elliott said.
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