Hozza receives Scouting award
Edward D. Hozza Jr., Lehigh County’s director of administration and former mayor of Whitehall Township, was honored Oct. 11 as the 2018 Distinguished Citizen Award recipient by the Minsi Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America.
The Whitehall, Coplay, Parkland Friends of Scouting dinner was held at Zentz Community Center, Fellowship Community, Whitehall.
Those gathered took a moment to remember the late Robert Zentz, president/CEO of Fellowship Community, who died Oct. 9. Zentz was the first recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award in 2016.
Hozza’s commitment to the community and Scouting has long been recognized. He was presented a plaque with several Boy Scout merit badges.
“While I am humbled by this honor, this evening’s event is not about me,” Hozza said, “but about our continued support of the great work the Minsi Trails Council does for boys, and now girls, through Scouting in the Greater Lehigh Valley.”
Eric Eberhardt, master of ceremonies, was the presenter. Eberhardt received the honor himself in 2017. He took time to talk about Hozza and his contributions to the community.
“While growing up, Ed and his siblings were taught that whatever you give, you will get back twofold,” he said. “Since his teenage ears, Ed has done just that.”
Eberhardt said Hozza cut the grass at Assumption BVM Parish in Northampton, changed light bulbs, painted and cleaned at the church. He remains active with the choir.
He was named Mayor of the Year in 2010 and 2017 by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Hozza said he enjoys his work with the Scouting community and is especially delighted in honoring the Eagle Scouts.
“In my former role as mayor, I was proud to announce at every Eagle Scout induction ceremony how many Eagle Scouts ceremonies I had attended since 2008. When I left office, my Eagle Scout count was at 21. This is truly amazing for a community of 28,000-plus residents. There was one troop (Troop 70, Stiles) that seemed to have a secret in the number of young men that achieved Eagle Scout in the Whitehall-Coplay area. I know it had something to do with the leadership of that troop,” Hozza said.
The former Scoutmaster of Troop 70, Allen Edelman, now works with the Minsi Trails Council.
Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong, former president of the Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners, recalled Hozza spending Saturdays cleaning up debris and clutter in the township — in particular, along MacArthur Road and Schadt Avenue. Armstrong said Hozza was not afraid of getting his hands dirty to ensure Whitehall was clean and its people proud to live in the township.
Armstrong reported that he feared a backlash from township residents when he chose Hozza to work for the county, as it required him to resign as mayor. He said there was no one else in the county better qualified for the position.
“When one enters public service,” Hozza said, “it usually is not a spur-of-the-moment decision, but one based on a desire to serve.”