Rev. Tony Neal: Third of Ten 2020 Jefferson Award Winners
Family, friends and colleagues of Georgetown, Del., Pastor Tony Neil say he is a gift from above for those here below who need some extra help.
“He helps people who have been on drug and alcohol addiction because that’s where he came from,” said Neil’s sister, Esther Peacock.
And Barbara Del Mastro, one of Neil’s friends, said of him, “He has a heart as big as the moon and it never stops beating.”
And don’t forget the anti-drug march and rally he started 26 years ago.
“Everything was free. All the food was free. Games were free, T-shirts were free,” Neil said.
Another friend of Neil’s, Edie Reynolds, said of him, “He has a transitional house, which is called Tony’s House. He also runs a Wednesday night group for people who have just been released from prison. He runs alcohol and drug classes.”
Georgetown Police Chief R. L. Hughes said of Neil, “He assists them along the way. That helps us, as well. We want the same thing. We just want everyone to be safe in our community and be one community, and Tony goes a long way in bridging that gap.”
It is a difficult need that Neal knows well.
“I used to terrorize these streets in Georgetown,” Neil said. “I was in prison a couple times. Drugs, alcohol just overtook me. Just messed me up. Only by the grace of God I survived.”
Neil’s son, Damien Cannon said, “He’s my father. He’s helped me and never gave up on me. I had an addiction problem with alcohol ever since I was a teenager. He never gave up on me.”
“Tony has certainly felt the calling to do this because the passion and drive that he has, has to come from a higher being,” Hughes said.
“There’s not many people like Tony Neal,” Reynolds said. “He has a saying, ‘Neal for real.'”
“I tell people everything you need is inside you,” Neil said. “You got to make it work. There ain’t no quick fix.”
Those are just some of the reasons why Neil 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.