Sparta — Richard and Jaimie Tomko of Sparta were presented with the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award for 2018. Each year the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards highlight the spirit of civic engagement among New Jersey’s 1.5 million volunteers and provide Jefferson Awards medals in 22 categories of volunteer service. The 2018 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards presentation ceremony and celebration of volunteerism was held at the War Memorial in Trenton on Saturday, June 2, 2018. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things were recognized as Honorees in two dozen categories of service at this event. In addition, the achievements of over 5,000 New Jersey Students in Action were highlighted and top schools were saluted. The Tomko’s were recognized as “Founders” for their creation and promotion of WISPER (We Invest in Strong Programs, Empowerment, and building Respect for women), a Sparta based non-profit organization that raises funds to assist women and related organizations in reaching goals and enhancing growth through the advancement of leadership; nurturing of future career paths; representing community ideals; and enhancing academic standards in education. WISPER provides monetary assistance and recognition to those women and their mentors who deserve support in helping to fulfill the mission of “Paying it Forward” by leveling the proverbial playing field in the spirit of equality for all.This award category recognizes individuals whose vision and dedication result in the establishment of a new organization to meet unmet needs or new improved means of meeting those needs.The Jefferson Awards were established in 1972 as the official recognition program of the United States Senate. They are considered America’s highest honor for public service and volunteerism. In New Jersey, the awards are also the official recognition program of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Volunteerism, administered by a partnership that includes the NJ Office of Volunteerism, NJ Advance Media, the Community Foundation of New Jersey, and corporate sponsors, such as PNC Bank, PSEG, BD and others.