Seaford, Del. businessman Jeffrey Benson takes time out every Wednesday to teach a group of young men life lessons. He recruited friends and colleagues in his Sussex County community for a group he calls “The Gentlemen’s Club.”
“Gentleman’s Club was more so about leadership for young males, giving them a sense of purpose and allowing them to know they do have individuals who care,” Benson said.
Troy Purnell, a friend of Benson’s, said, “I was all for it because I felt like it was a gap in the community – the older generation and the younger generation – and we needed to bridge it.”
Seaford Police Chief Marshall Craft said, “The very first week that I became chief, Jeff Benson’s name was brought to my attention as the guy that you needed to talk to because Jeff Benson gets things done. He takes initiative and in fact today his class was on initiative.”
The Air Force Veteran also launched a youth shareholder initiative with WSFS BAnk, giving each student five shares of stock and planting the seeds to grow generational wealth.
“Sometimes we have individuals who are constantly in trouble, and those are actually the students that we like to serve,” Benson said.
Benson’s wife, Precious, nominated him for a Jefferson Award.
“He serves on the Seaford School Board. He serves on state boards. He participates in toy drives, holds forums for the community to come in and vocalize things,” she said. “He has a heart of gold. He has a heart for people.”
Cam’Ron Purnell, an eighth grader at Seaford Middle School, said of Benson, “He’s a good teacher and, to me, a leader.”
Seaford Middle School Principal James Cave said, “These young people know that wherever he comes from it’s from a place of true compassion for them and wanting to make a meaningful impact on their lives.”
Those are just some of the reasons why Benson has been named a 2020 Jefferson Awards winner, which are given annually to volunteers on Delmarva who provide extraordinary public service.
About the Jefferson Awards
WBOC is proud to be a local partner of the Jefferson Awards, which are presented to unrecognized citizens on Delmarva who provide extraordinary public service. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.
The 2020 Jefferson Awards are made possible through the support of our local sponsor, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.