Jed Holzmacher received an Oustanding Leader Award at the Making A Difference Breakfast last spring.
If you ask Jed Holzmacher what is important in life, he will most likely tell you it is being a good role model for his kids. A single parent for the last 10 years, Jed has prided himself on setting a positive example for his son and two daughters.
Now at age 48, Jed is in college for the first time and majoring in Criminal Justice. Originally from Amityville, N.Y., Jed grew up as one of eight children in a close-knit family.
"I learned how to parent from my parents who were very involved and hands-on," said Jed. "I had older brothers and sisters who taught me things, but I learned the valuable lesson of the importance of adults in kids' lives."
Through the years as a single parent, there have been twists and turns and relocation from Berks County to New York and now back to Berks County, but above all, he has remained committed to his kids.
When he moved back to Berks County, he made use of an old connection and was able to secure a job as a nighttime truck driver for Clover Farms. But, he had been continually reminding his kids how important education is, too.
Jed started at RACC in the summer of 2010 and quickly became involved on campus with the Leadership Program, RACCy Olympics, Phi Theta Kappa and now the Front Street Journal.
"I didn't want to do it halfway," he said about college. "I wanted to have some experiences, too. I've brought my girls to RACC Idols and other events on campus since we do a lot of things together. It's another way to set a good example."
Jed is also active in the community with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, his church and the Environmental Advisory Council. The last one was sparked by his environment course with Drew Lapinski. "I took the class and I couldn't get enough of it," he said. "I wanted to know what was next and he told me that was it."
Although he's not taking any more environment classes, Jed still has 12 credits to finish toward his criminal justice degree. He is unsure where he'll go from there.
"I saw the helping side of police work with my dad when he was a cop," Jed said. "There are a lot of different avenues that I haven't explored yet, and what the different options are for a two-year degree compared to a four-year degree."
He's getting a chance to do more investigating into that four-year degree now. One of his daughters is set to graduate from high school and Jed has been taking her on the college tour, including stops at Kutztown and Albright.
Not only is he viewing the schools as a parent, he's also checking them out as a prospective student.