Ann Arena, Anne Baker, Lois F. Braymes, Eileen Conran-Folks, Susan J. Hackett

Ann Arena

Ann Arena, known as Annie to her friends, a resident of Absecon, NJ, graduated from Stockton University and has a Bachelor of Arts in Business, Marketing. She is employed by Spencer Spirit Holdings, parent company of Spencer Gifts and Spirit Halloween, since 1987 most recently as the Senior Director of Information Management Systems.

Ann has volunteered with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey (UWGPSNJ) since 1996. She has been a local board member since 2004. Ann currently serves as Impact Chair of the Atlantic County/Cape May County Local Board, and is a member of the Regional Impact Policy Strategy Committee. In the past, she has been Board Chair and a member of the Campaign Cabinet for United Way of Atlantic County. She has run the United Way Campaign at Spencer Spirit Holdings since 1997.

At her job, Ann has chaired the Community Action Team (CAT) since 1997. The team has several events during the year including a Back to School Drive that benefits Family Service Association; Thanksgiving Food Drive that benefits Pleasantville High School, The Arc of Atlantic County, Main Street Pantry in Mays Landing and Sister Jean’s Kitchen in Atlantic City; and Holiday Gift Drive that benefits Family Service Association. In 2016, the company encouraged the employees to have a day of service and Ann helped to coordinate volunteers building a Born Learning Trail in Egg Harbor Township; Interview Skills Mentoring for Covenant House and Family Service Association; intern service day at Family Service Association and a volunteer day at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

Ann is the President of the Ladies’ Auxiliary, American Legion Post #28 in Absecon. She is also an honorary member of the Post. She is the owner of Annie Arena Photography. Ann also works with Spirit of Children, Spirit Halloween’s corporate charity taking photographs at hospital parties at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Shriner’s and Nemours/DuPont Hospitals.

Ann believes that we all have a chance to make a difference in the world, to help others and make the world a better place. One person can make difference and she tries to live by that statement. Her parents instilled volunteering and giving back from an early age. They were involved in both Boy and Girl Scouts as was her grandmother. Both parents volunteered in church, schools and the community.

Ann would like to thank her family – her mother and father Robert and Frances Fietkiewicz, sister Patricia Fietkiewicz, brother John Fietkiewicz and especially her boyfriend Don Kleinschmidt for supporting her.

Personal Quote: “I believe you go through the trials of life for two reasons: first to teach yourself something or learning something about yourself; and second to help others.”

Anne Marie (Garay) Baker

Schooling: HS – Notre Dame High School for Girls (Business Award) Stockton College – B.A., Political Science

I’ll begin in 1968 when I married my high school love, John Baker. We moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where John attended medical school. During his schooling, residency, and our move to Ventnor, we were blessed with the births of our children, Sarah, Jonathan, Tim and Pete.

With kids in school full-tine, I returned to college, attending Stockton College, now Stockton University, and graduating cum laude with a BA in Political Science.

My teaching career, lasting 14 years, prompted a scholarship program to Holy Spirit, which continues today.

Within weeks of leaving teaching, I was contacted by a friend and philanthropist, Dorothea Meltzer, and asked to become a member of Gilda’s Club Founding Board to support all people who were touched by cancer. I was Chairperson during a move the clubhouse made from Atlantic City to Linwood and remain on the committee today. John is now on the board and we were honored to chair their signature event, The Palm Luncheon from 2014 to 2016.

Four years ago, I joined Court Appointed Special Advocates, becoming an advocate for foster children in our area. Though I’ve discontinued court advocacy, I continue to speak out for CASA and financially support them in their mission to protect children in foster care.

In 2014, radio show “Talking with Anne” began. It lasted over 1 and ½ years, growing an audience to 1000 per hour. I loved the job because every Saturday for 3 hours, I had the opportunity of speaking with some of the smartest, most honorable people in our area, with half of my show dedicated to promoting 501(c)(3)s and the fundraising events that would help keep their doors open.

Today, I am the publicity chair for the Coalition for a Safe Community, whose mission is ending violence in communities lacking strong relationships between the police and the diverse communities they are sworn to protect. I learned of it when my husband had the first Police Rally on the Boardwalk and met several members of the Coalition. Through barbecues, coffee with cops, school events, summer programs for kids, the Coalition has become a prototype of what community relations should be.

I am humbled by being included in this year’s choices for induction in the Atlantic County Women’s Hall of Fame, and thank all those who considered me for this honor. Special thanks go to Brenda Taube for proffering my name to the committee, and to Sarah Griffith, long-time and now interim CEO of Gilda’s Club, and Susan Zavaglia Warner, who wrote such wonderful letters on my behalf.

Personal Quotes:

Two sayings that typify parts of my life are:

“No guts, no glory!” and “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Lois Braymes

Lois Wolfe Braymes was born on December 10, 1922, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

From the time she was eight years old, she worked in her parent’s business, Dan Wolfe Uniforms, servicing customers and doing bookkeeping.

During World War II, she operated a family-owned uniform store with several employees.

She and her parents traveled up and down the East Coast buying and selling uniforms. One of those stops was New York City, where producers discovered she had an incredible singing voice, offering her the role as a stand-in for Broadway shows.

In 1945, she married Major Mark Braymes and gave up her singing career.

In 1965, she and then Colonel Braymes began a venture to bring wounded veterans to Atlantic City as rewards for their service. This was the start of a long and well-traveled road in an effort to help them re-enter society. The idea was to give returning servicemen who had been seriously wounded an outlet to relax and readjust to society.

Dr. Eileen Conran Folks

Susan Hackett

Susan Jo Krauthause was born in Atlantic City, and raised in Pleasantville. She graduated from Pleasantville High School Class of 1965.

She married J. Barry Hackett in 1966 and spent the first two years of their marriage stationed with her husband in Germany, in the U.S. Army.

They have three married children and seven grandchildren and are very proud of each one.

Their family was selected “Family of the Year” in 1994 by the Atlantic County Family Services.

Susan has been an active member of the United Methodist Church at Absecon for over 45 years; serving on Administrative Councils in many capacities. She has been a member of the UMA Choir during this time and instituted the “Ecumenical Dinner” the community has every year with the local churches. One of her life changing experience has been leading teams to mountainous regions of Guatemala. This adventure began in 2005 and is very dear to her heart. She also began a “Cookie Program” which raises over $8,000 a year to help support the Milk Program malnourished babies at ASELSI in Chichicastenango, Guatemala. She continues to run “Shoe Drives” for the people of Guatemala. She started a “Christmas in July Program” where zip locked gallon bags are filled with toiletries and small toys to be given out at the Christmas Pageant in Guatemala. These are the only gifts that these children will receive during the holiday season. She continues to show her love the less fortunate by working with the homeless in Atlantic County.

Susan served as President of the Absecon Jaycettes in the 70’s and especially enjoyed working on the Miss Absecon Scholarship Pageant which eventually led her to the Miss America Hostess Committee. She joined the National Hostess Committee where she served for over 35 years. Susan felt it was truly an honor and privilege to work with and mentor these young and talented women. Susan truly believed in the Scholarship Program!

Susan was asked to be the head cheerleading coach for the Absecon Blue Devil Junior Varsity Team, where she remained at that position for 13 years. The inspiration of Susan’s first grandchild, Jacob created the original idea to start the South Jersey Field of Dreams in 2003. The SJFOD is a recreational baseball complex where hundreds of special players who are physically and cognitively impaired, both children and adults play ball. They come from 33 towns and 6 counties, using the regional resources and talents of local volunteers.

Susan was part owner and operator of “A Touch of Class” gift shop for 17 years and recently retired from Atlantic Bone and Joint Surgeons where she worked for 24 years. She has always strived to live by the following quote: “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – St. Francis of Assisi.

Susan is truly honored by receiving this very prestigious award and being inducted into the Atlantic County Women’s Hall of Fame.