Photo: Colette Oswald
During the Mayor’s Breakfast on Saturday (March 19, 2022), Julie Beddingfield was named as Haddonfield’s Citizen of the Year for 2022.
Beddingfield put the knowledge and experience she gained as an environmental and land-use lawyer to use, for the benefit of our community, as a member (2009-16) and chair (2012-16) of the Haddonfield Environmental Commission. A variety of projects that she and others – including High School students – worked on led to the formation of Sustainable Haddonfield, which Julie also served on (2010-18) and chaired (2010-16).
She oversaw the work necessary to attain silver-level certification from Sustainable Jersey and receive a $10,000 grant to develop a Green Building and Sustainability Element for Haddonfield’s Master Plan. Additional projects included a municipal energy audit, the addition of bicycle lanes to a portion of Grove Street, and a multi-faceted water conservation education campaign.To ensure community buy-in for these efforts, Julie spent much of her time meeting with individual stakeholders and civic groups to find projects that matched their interests and inspired their enthusiasm for the overall program. She identified opportunities for collaboration and made the certification truly a town-wide achievement. In recognition of her work, Julie was included in Haddonfield’s Women in the Community Proclamation in 2013 and was named Sustainable Jersey’s first Sustainability Hero in 2014.
Julie was a member of the Haddonfield Civic Association’s board of governors from 2012 until this year, and served as the Association’s treasurer from 2016.
As the owner of Inkwood Books (since 2015), Julie uses her store and her social media presence as a platform for a diversity of ideas and perspectives. The store supports literacy initiatives throughout the region, and numerous Haddonfield programs related to reading and literacy. During the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic – the outbreak of which coincided with her decision to move to larger premises – she inspired other Haddonfield business owners with her ability to pivot, adapt, and find creative solutions to the many challenges and obstacles that the pandemic placed before the owners of small businesses.
The author of one of the letters of recommendation submitted to the Lions Club for the Citizen of the Year award concluded: “In all of these ways and so many more, Julie truly embodies the best of Haddonfield. She understands that Haddonfield is a stronger community when we work together, listen to each other and support those who need help. And her contributions to our town have made it a more sustainable and more welcoming place to live.”
The author of another letter wrote: “As a wife, mother, businesswoman, and volunteer, Julie understands and enthusiastically embraces her community at all levels, and truly displays the volunteer spirit. And when the Covid pandemic shut down most activities for all of us, Julie responded with creativity and determination. She fought to keep her beloved independent bookstore available, hand-delivered books to people all over town to keep their spirits up during the pandemic, and helped many of us create virtual events. … Julie Beddingfield understands that for a small town to not just survive but to thrive, we must all work together – businesses, schools, and volunteer organizations – supporting each other in all aspects of community life.”
Spondored by the Haddonfield Area Lions Club, the Mayor’s Breakfast is held annually in the Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Citizen of the Year award.