Mike, Val and the gardens they grew

Mike Devlin and Valerie Frick, without whom Camden would be less green -- and its waterfront less fun -- were honored Wednesday by the Campbell Soup Foundation.

The couple received the foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award for their decades of work on behalf of the Camden City Garden Club and Camden Children's Garden. Devlin, an attorney and former city councilman, and Frick, an educator, founded the Club in 1985 and the Garden in 1999.  They have been married for 35 years.

"Mike and Val’s love and passion for community gardening...is at the root of the legacy they have built in Camden," Amanda Bauman, Campbell's senior manager for community affairs, said in a statement. "What started as a hobby nearly 30 years ago has started a revolution.  Their work continues to endure and meet the ever growing needs of Camden residents."

"It is truly an honor," Frick told me, adding that the award recognizes the work of "the entire Camden City Garden Club team." She also thanked the Foundation for its 30 years of support for the Garden Club and the Children's Garden

Other honorees included Bryan Morton of the North Camden Little League and Parents for Great Camden Schools, who received the Hometown Hero award;  Raquel Moreno, from the Food Bank of South Jersey,  the Healthy Communities Partner Award; and the New Visions Homeless Day Shelter, the Volunteer Partner award.

Congratulations to all!