The Hugs for Brady Foundation is proud to announce the recipient of this year’s ELLEN GAMBATESE Volunteer of the Year Award. Each year, this award is given to an individual or group who has made an exceptional contribution to the Hugs for Brady Foundation and the community as a volunteer.
This year’s award is presented to Jeff Schnier of North Brunswick, a man with a long list of outstanding accomplishments not only with Hugs for Brady but beyond. The praise given for Jeff during the selection process was abundant. Members are consistently impressed with his commitment to his role in the Foundation and his dedication to those he volunteers alongside.
Sherrie Wells, President and Founder of The Hugs for Brady Foundation had this to say:
Jeff has played a significant role in the lives of those he has volunteered for. His quiet and capable commitment to eradicating pediatric cancer has until now been unsung. He is incredibly deserving of the Hugs for Brady Foundation’s highest volunteer honor.
Jeff’s extensive Hugs for Brady resume dates back to 2013. For the past 4 years, the Foundation and the community have been fortunate enough to feel the far-reaching effects of Jeff’s presence. No job or task is too big for him, he is always the first to arrive and last to leave at the many events he can be depended upon to help with.
How do you define volunteering?
According to Professor of Sociology John Wilson, “volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial gain “to benefit another person, group or organization.” 
According to Hugs for Brady, it is Jeff Schnier, this year’s Ellen Gambatese Pediatric Cancer Volunteer of the Year Award recipient.
Jeff’s selflessness was instilled at an early age, his mother Bernice taught him one of his most important life lessons, to give of yourself so others may benefit. She gave her time to many different organizations and Jeff was a willing student; the seeds to help those stricken with illness were planted.
In college while many of his peers were enjoying campus life one way, Jeff used his time in other ways. Jeff is a poster child for how volunteering enriches your life. While in charge of new student orientation at Penn State University over 32 years ago, he met his wife Michelle on her first night at school, the rest as they say…
Fast forward to 2013. Jeff, while organizing a fundraiser to try to break a Guinness World record –having the most people ever shave their heads to support cancer research – met Sherrie and Michael Wells. The world’s record was not broken, but that loss became our gain! He became one of the Hugs for Brady family and hasn’t stopped trying to break records yet.
His mantra,”Don’t ever try to challenge my ability to surpass my goals,” is seen and appreciated by all of the Hugs for Brady family! Jeff is always willing to be there to help whenever and whatever is needed. Most notably you can see him driving Sherrie in the golf cart at the annual golf outing, passing out flowers, and collecting money from over 70 donation containers. Those containers have raised over $45,000 for Hugs for Brady. No job or task is too big for him-he is truly a special person, one that our organization could not run without.
Now retired, Jeff juggles life with his wife, Michelle, his grown children, Kelly, Ryan, Emily, Rebecca, his 2 dogs, Spot and Fluffy and Hugs for Brady. His children are following his footsteps as well; all are active in their communities.
Selfishly, we are glad to have him as part of our family and thank him from the bottom of our hearts for all he has done for us and those we serve!
Jeff will be honored at the 2018 Hugs for Brady Winter Gala on March 3, 2018 at The Palace at Somerset Park.
1 WILSON, JOHN (2000). “VOLUNTEERING”. ANNUAL REVIEW OF SOCIOLOGY (26): 215. DOI:10.1146/ANNUREV.SOC.26.1.215.