DuPree Wins Civic Award

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WOODBRIDGE – The Woodbridge Township Municipal Council has unanimously named Samuel DuPree, former vice-chairman of the Woodbridge Housing Authority and long-time New Jersey labor leader, as the recipient of the 2010 John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award for dedicated public service.

The John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award annually honors and recognizes a Woodbridge Township resident who embodies the best qualities of public service and civic involvement. The honoree must have lived in Woodbridge Township for at least ten years, held elected or appointed office, and served as a volunteer in community and/or social activities.


Councilwoman Brenda Yori Velasco, who established the John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award in 2000, said, “it’s very important to recognize those individuals who give unselfishly to the Woodbridge Township community.  The John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award honors people to whom civic activity is a way of life.  On behalf of the entire Municipal Council, I am proud to present the 2010 John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award to Woodbridge Housing Authority Vice-Chairman and Colonia resident Samuel DuPree for his life-long commitment to the betterment of Woodbridge Township.”

“Sam DuPree represents the very best of Woodbridge Township,” said Mayor John E. McCormac.  “His commitment and dedication to the public mission, long-time advocacy for civil rights and workplace equality, and community spirit stand as a model for all of us to emulate.  Whether serving as a Commissioner with the Woodbridge Housing Authority, as a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council, or volunteering time and energy to community and civic associations, Sam DuPree stands as a stellar example of what civic involvement is about.  I congratulate the Council on selecting Commissioner Dupree as recipient of the 2010 John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award.”

According to Velasco, Sam DuPree, a resident of Colonia since 1965, achieved a stellar record of public and community service over a storied career. DuPree’s civic involvement includes being past president of the Independent Club of Colonia; member of the Mayors Advisory Council of Woodbridge; active member of the NAACP and the Martin Luther King Center for Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia; and membership in the Coalition of Black Trade Unions.

DuPree was a founder and board member of the Union County Chapter of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute and member of the Institute’s Essex County Chapter. DuPree was appointed housing commissioner of the Woodbridge Housing Authority in 1997 and served in that post as vice-chairman until retirement in February 2009.

The Sam DuPree Civic Association works to provide affordable community housing; provides financial assistance for college students; facilitates employment opportunities; and helps the parents of homeless children afford toys during the holiday season.

In 1959, DuPree began his professional career as a member of the I.L.A. (International Longshoremen Association), Local 1233. DuPree worked on the piers at many jobs including holdman and fork lift operator.  In 1963, Dupree was elected I.L.A. trustee and subsequently to the posts of recording secretary and business agent.

In 1989, DuPree was elected president of Local 1233 and remained president for three consecutive terms.  In January 1992, DuPree was elected Atlantic Coast District Vice President serving Canada, the Great Lakes Region, and the Atlantic Coast extending to Virginia and Puerto Rico.

Sam DuPree is married to the former Viola Pryor of Elizabeth.  They are the parents of two sons, Gary and Sam, Jr., daughter Phyllis “Risa,” and two grandchildren, Dr. Rashad-DuPree Harris, an internal medicine physician, and Lindsey Samantha a college bound high school senior.

The John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award is named after the late Jack Fay who held numerous elected and appointed offices in Woodbridge Township municipal government and Middlesex County, including councilman, freeholder, assemblyman, and state senator.  Jack Fay also served as a volunteer with numerous civic and social organizations, including the Center of Hope Hospice House, Emmaus House and the New Jersey State Commission on Cancer Research.

The Woodbridge Township Municipal Council will officially present the 2010 John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award to Samuel DuPree tonight at 6:30 p.m. prior to the regularly scheduled council meeting.

Past recipients of the John J. Fay, Jr. Civic Award include: John J. Fay, Jr. (2000), Terry Glinn (2001), Pastor Jack Dunlap (2002), Jack Hila (2003), Robert Sobieski (2004), Ernest Neal (2005), Diane Pitz (2006), Thomas Cornell (2007), Philip Peck (2008), and former Assemblyman Ernest Oros (2009).

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