The Albert V. Maniscalco Community Service Award was established in 1986 in honor of the ninth borough president. Maniscalco's tenure from 1955 to 1965 saw the creation of the Greenbelt and the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The award celebrates the civic-mindedness and tireless energy of individuals or organizations that work to help community members in need and to make Staten Island a better place.
“Last year, I met William Morris and was amazed by his life story. He is one of the most remarkable gentlemen I have ever met,” said Borough President Oddo. “At 96 years old, he has not stopped giving back to the community. From his heroic service in World War II to his continued charitable work here at home, I can think of no one more deserving of this award.”
William A. Morris Jr. was born and raised on Staten Island. His family heritage on Staten Island dates back to the early 1700s, and he is a descendant of the last slave sold on Staten Island. He graduated from P.S. 18 and Port Richmond High School and attended Wagner College before serving our nation with the US Army during World War II. After he enlisted in 1939, he served in the Pacific and European theaters of operation, including the Normandy Beach D-day invasion, Battle of the Bulge and served for 5 years in the in the all black 369th as a sergeant until his honorable discharge. A book published last year, The Soldier that Wagged Her Tail, written by his daughter Dolores N. Morris, tells the wartime story of Morris and his constant companion, a little terrier dog Trixie. Morris married Norcie Allen in 1943, and together they raised four children and two foster children. He and his wife have run the food pantry at Faith United Methodist Church for the last 30 years. Morris has also served as a Boy Scout leader of troop 47 for 35 years. He and his wife received the Silver Beaver, the highest award of service and scouting for their great work. In addition, he founded an ran the Morris Softball League as P.S. 19 for 16 years, serving more than 900 children each summer.
"I consider this award an amazing honor. As a lifelong Staten Islander, I have lived my life for faith, family and community,” said Morris. “My hope is that my receiving this honor will serve as an example to others, especially the young people, to direct them in service to community to make Staten Island a better place."
"I can't think of any one more suited to receive the Maniscalco Award,” said Morris’ daughter, Dolores. “Dad has always been about community service, especially to the youth of Staten Island. There are thousands of Staten Island young people now adults, who have been touched by his dedication. I'm thrilled that he is finally being recognized for all he has done."
Here are the past winners of the Maniscalco Award:
Richard E. Diamond, John L.F. Sipp, Norma D’Arrigo, Allan Weissglass, Martin Stallone, Roger E. Acker, Reverend Robert I. Gannon, Michael F. Manzulli, Michael J. Petrides, Marie G. Martino, Frank Powers, Susie Hyun Sook Beidel, Brian J. Laline, Reverend Hattie Smith-Davis, and Joseph V. Madory, Lou Caravone, Jose Joe Valentin, Nancy Passeri, retired Borough Commander Anthony Marra, Reverend Terry Troia, Senator John J. Marchi, Wendy Pellegrino, Fred Ariemma, Joanne E. Gerenser, Ph.D., Dr. S. Chitoor Govindaraj, Kathryn Krause Rooney, the Siller Family, George and Maria Esposito, the Mannix Family, and the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation.