Ocean City Today

Cropper presented service award

Most successful Hal Glick gala to date with $100K donated to local nonprofits
By Kara Hallissey | Nov 16, 2017
Photo by: Kara Hallissey Last year’s Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award recipient, Buddy Trala, left, presents the award to this year’s winner, Reese Cropper III, at the Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel on 101st Street, Sunday evening.

(Nov. 17, 2017) A crowd of more than 400 celebrated the philanthropic work of Reese Cropper III Sunday night at the Hal Glick Distinguished Service Award banquet at the Clarion Fontainebleau Hotel in Ocean City.

Cropper, president of Insurance Management Group, is the seventh recipient of the award, which began in 2010 when its sponsoring organization, Temple Bat Yam, honored local businessman Hal Glick for his charitable work in the community.

Glick, who succumbed to cancer in 2015, lent his name to the event, which, in addition to recognizing exceptional service to the community, raises money for the temple and the charity of each honoree’s choice.

“My late husband was the first recipient of this wonderful community service award,” said Christine Glick, who co-chaired the event with Jeff Thaler. “After the inaugural gala, we decided to make it a yearly award to honor an individual for their community service and support of local nonprofits.”

This year’s beneficiaries of the gala are Atlantic General Hospital, Temple Bat Yam, the Rebecca and Leighton Moore Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit at Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services and the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program.

Cropper, a native of the area, founded the Berlin Chamber of Commerce in 1986. He also has been the chairman of fundraisers for organizations such as the March of Dimes and American Cancer Society.

He has served as president of Berlin’s Taylor House Museum and as chairman of the Ocean City Board of Port Wardens and the city’s employee pension plans.

Cropper serves on the board of directors of the Calvin B. Taylor Banking Co., Worcester Preparatory School’s Board of Trustees, the Ocean City Employee Pension Board as chairman and on the local chapter of the Community Association’s Institute Legislative Action Committee.

“He is always trying to help other people,” said the night’s emcee, Seacrets owner Leighton Moore, who received the award in 2011. “We need to make him feel like we understand how good of a friend, businessperson and community-giver Reese Cropper really is.”

Clarion owner Dr. Lenny Berger, who was similarly honored in 2012, said Cropper was one of the first people who befriended him when he moved to Ocean City and thanked him “for his generosity, service, friendship and philanthropy.”

“I can’t do all I’d like to do, but I do what I can,” Cropper said after Sunset Grille owner and 2016 award recipient Buddy Trala formally presented him with the honor. “I believe in giving a leg up to others … since I was so fortunate in what my parents have been able to give me.”

Cropper revealed a difficult period in his life as he explained why he selected Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services and the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program as his personal charities this year.

“I’d swing in and out of dark periods during childhood and especially in college,” Cropper said. “Worcester Youth helped me fight the illness many years ago.”

He said people who suffer from depression often mask their inner turmoil with a façade of well being to avoid the stigma.

“Mental illness is still whispered about today. I fear our society is moving too fast and people are unable to handle daily challenges. [Depression] is one of the largest social issues.

“People need encouragement to get mental health help,” Cropper said. “It consumes the person. Its dark and scary with no way out, other than death, I know, I’ve been there.”

“We need to stop these stigmas,” Cropper said. “You would be shocked at how many people suffer from depression in this room or know someone who died because of it. I only hope my candor with you tonight will make you aware of mental illness and it’s all around us.

Cropper joins Moore, Berger, Trala, Billy and Madlyn Carder of BJ’s on the Water, Jack Burbage of Blue Water Development and Glick as a recipient of the award.

As for the sum of the event’s own good works, Thaler said the seven galas have raised more than $600,000 for 18 local nonprofits.

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