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Former State Sen. Henry receives chamber’s DiSabatino Award

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WILMINGTON – The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce presented the former State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry with the rare Dick DiSabatino Award on Monday at its 184th annual dinner. The event, held virtually, was attended by nearly 800 elected officials and business and community leaders.

Margaret Rose Henry. | PHOTO COURTESY OF STATE OF DELAWARE

The Dick DiSabatino Award, named for former DSCC Chairman Richard DiSabatino Sr., was established in the mid-90s to recognize significant contributions to shape opinion and public policy in the state of Delaware. The rarely given honor was last presented in 2019 to the former State Rep. Joseph G. DiPinto, and prior to that to John H. Taylor Jr., executive director of the Delaware Public Policy Institute, in 2013.

“She has made such contributions to our state in so many different ways and affecting so many different populations,” said U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester in a statement of Henry, who is known for her extraordinary commitment to public service with an emphasis on working to improve the lives of women, children, families, and the elderly.

Henry was the first Black woman to serve in the Delaware State Senate and was one of only four women serving in the chamber at the time of her election in 1994. She served as majority leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus and represented the 2nd Senatorial District.

Henry spent her professional career also working in the nonprofit sector. She served in management roles with groups like Delaware Guidance Services, Girls Inc., Ingleside Homes, YWCA, United Way of Delaware, and Delaware Technical Community College. This diverse background in public service gave her an intimate understanding of the needs of the communities she served.

“She was a voice for all those who had no voice,” said Orlando George Jr., president emeritus of Delaware Technical Community College. “Her work to improve services for programs for children, families, seniors, and education, along with her passion for justice and equality live on today.”

Besides being nominated to serve as majority whip and then majority leader by her caucus, she has also served on the board of trustees for the Medical Center of Delaware, the National Society of Fundraising Executives, and Wesley College. She spent time as a member of the board of the Ministry of Caring, the Brandywine Professional Association, and chaired the Delaware State Arts Council.

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