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Five receive awards at Black Achievers Gala

January 22, 2006

Steve Swayne Recognized by State Farm Insurance



Steve Swayne is a member of the Hagerstown YMCA Board of Directors and previously served as a member of the Memorial Recreation Center Board of Directors, Goodwill Industries Board of Directors and as a member of the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals.

He operates a State Farm Insurance office in Hagerstown, marketing all lines of insurance and financial products to policyholders and members of his community.

Swayne, who received his bachelor's degree in business administration from West Virginia State College, moved to Hagerstown 20 years ago and opened his State Farm office without any local ties. He is the only African-American in Washington County who operates an insurance and financial services office serving more than 2,000 households.

He is a member of Zion Baptist Church and has three daughters, two sons and two grandsons.




Robert Augustus Jackson Jr.Recognized by First Data



Robert Augustus Jackson Jr. is involved with the Franklin County Big Brothers Big Sisters program as a big brother to David, 13, and as a T-ball coach to 5- and 6-year-olds for Chambersburg (Pa.) Youth Recreational Services.

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He also volunteers on the Board of Directors for the library in Chambersburg.

Jackson graduated from Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, Del., in 1998 and began his pursuit of higher education by completing courses in human services, retail management and behavioral management.

He attends Andersonville Theological Seminary, based in Camille, Ga., and will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in Christian education. He plans to pursue a master's degree of divinity and a doctorate in ministry and wants to be a pastor for his own church.

Jackson and his wife, Moninya, moved to Chambersburg in 2003 to assist in the ministry at St. James AME. Jackson's involvement in Chambersburg includes serving as the St. James AME youth director, choir director and percussionist.

He has worked at First Data since March 2005.

Jackson and his wife have two sons, Robert III, 6, and Malachi, 3 months.




Ursula Mason Recognized by First Data



Ursula Mason volunteers at local youth dances, formed a dance corps associated with Memorial Recreation and finds time to help her significant other, Scott, with his restaurant business.

Mason grew up in Hagerstown, where she participated in Encore Majorettes and her high school band as drum major and majorette.

She graduated from South Hagerstown High School in 1987 and attended Hagerstown Junior College.

Before joining First Data eight years ago, Mason was an executive assistant with Potomac Property Management and a claims examiner at Claims Administration Corporation.

At First Data, Mason is a human resources specialist working with various aspects of human resources, including hiring, benefits and policy questions.

Mason has two children, Mar'Ke, 16, and Mason, 9, and volunteers with their sporting endeavors, including volleyball, track, basketball and soccer.




Shelby Simonelli Recognized by First Data



Shelby Simonelli has volunteered for the NAACP and Habitat for Humanity and is a breast cancer advocate.

She has worked for First Data for more than nine years as a member of First Data's Training and Quality organization, where she monitors and coaches call center employees on telephone customer service skills. She also helps with the interview process for the organization and is a co-leader for many team building events.

In her spare time, Simonelli is completing her bachelor's degree in human resources from the University of Maryland and expects to graduate this spring.

Simonelli lives with her husband in Hagerstown.




James Thomas Jr.Recognized by First Data



James Thomas, Jr. has served for the past seven years as a minister at Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Martinsburg, W.Va., and is furthering his education as a minister.

In addition, he donates 70 hours of volunteer service every month to the ministry and participates with volunteer contributions through the Watch Tower Society of New York.

Before serving in the ministry, Thomas spent 24 years in the Army as an administrative NCO.

He has worked for First Data for more than two years. He is a member of the Merchant Activation Group, which is responsible for assisting new merchants during the activation process.

His contact with merchants is their first impression of First Data.

Compiled from information provided by State Farm Insurance and First Data.

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