Patch recognizes people or groups with a People of the Year award for their contributions to Havre de Grace in 2011. Nominees were submitted by Patch readers via a submission form, email or on Facebook.
It takes a lot of work to restore a church.
And even more to restore a segment of a community's desire to attend church.
Enter Jess Bousa.
The New Jersey native and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to Havre de Grace last year, restoring an old church on Ontario Street—a small, white building with a partial view of the Susquehanna River.
It wasn't ideal, Bousa said, but it was the right place.
As it turns out, Havre de Grace has been the ideal place to restore a church and to restore faith. Bousa launched the church Sept. 11, 2011—the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
A Sunday morning service was offered. Then two services were offered. On New Year's Day, Bousa will offer a third service at Restore Church.
He must be doing something right.
In fact, the outpouring of support for Bousa was never more evident than at the onset of this series. Bousa received far and away more nominations than any other Havre de Gracians.
Perhaps it is due to his affinity for Starbucks coffee.
But it's not just his taste in coffee and electronics that are of the highest quality. It's the words he delivers that carry an equally valuable tone.
Havre de Grace resident and businessman Chad Tate said the relevance of Bousa's messages has made an impact in Havre de Grace, much like the way those he has touched have impacted the community.
Bousa has taken an interest in families and children in need.
"He is a pillar in the Havre de Grace community," Rita Mazziott said. "He believes that as generosity increases, need decreases. Jess truly serves Havre de Grace out of the kindness of his heart. From treating approximately 100 single moms to a spa day at the Good Cause Foundation to buying a MP3 player for a teenager for his birthday, nothing is too big or small for Jess."
Dinah Torres said, "Jess's philosophy and general goal is to 'reach people no one else is reaching by doing things no one else is doing.' Jess exemplifies the true heart of service to others."
Even to those who volunteer for Good Cause.
Bousa has a unique ability to gather, inspire and put people to action to improve the lives of others in the community.
Andrew Fishbeck put things succinctly when writing about Bousa in a nomination to Patch: "He is the most inspiring person I know. He changed my life!"
In Havre de Grace, and around Harford County, Bousa is impacting many lives.
As Kari Schoener said: "He has taken a group of citizens and motivated them to engage in their community in a way that no other organization has."
In a city that prides itself in volunteerism and community service, that's saying something.
Do you know Jess Bousa or have a story to share about his impact on Havre de Grace? Share it in the comments. Click below to add an image or video.