Joanne DeFiore wins VIA Citizenship Award

June 21, 2013

The Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach announced the winner of its fifth annual VIA Citizenship Award is Joanne DeFiore, a well-known resident of Rehoboth Beach.

To qualify for this distinguished award, a woman must be nominated by her peers, live in the Cape Henlopen School District, be at least 18 years of age and have contributed either professionally or through volunteer work to the community.

DeFiore first visited Rehoboth Beach in 1968 and became a full-time resident in 1984 when she and her husband Michael relocated from Cleveland, Ohio. Mike became a Rehoboth Beach alderman, and Joanne began her involvement with many community organizations where she continues to volunteer. She has been a member of the Sussex Gardeners. As an active member of the Rehoboth Art League, she has served as a board member, taught calligraphy courses and is still committed and involved in its efforts to bring art and culture to the Rehoboth Beach community.

DeFiore has taught art classes in the Cape Henlopen School District. She is a docent at the Rehoboth Beach Museum and a member of the Rehoboth Beach Historical Society. She joined the Village Improvement Association in 1985 and continues to be an active member. She has also served on the VIA Executive Board. Her artwork appears in the three editions of the VIA cookbook, “Tastes of Cape Henlopen.”

She has represented Rehoboth Beach on a visit to the Rehoboth Beach sister city of Greve, Italy, and is involved with the UNICO organization. DeFiore has served on the Seabreeze Homeowner's Association, volunteered at St. Edmond's Catholic Church and even has time to enjoy herself with her local Red Hat group.

A recent venture with her two grown grandsons shows DeFiore’s love of Rehoboth Beach. They wrote and illustrated a children’s pop-up book, “A Day in Rehoboth Beach,” that was published in 2012, followed by a companion, “The Rehoboth Beach Coloring and Activity Book” in spring 2013. She wanted to share her love of the community with local residents and tourists alike.

To nominate someone for the 2014 VIA Citizenship of the Year Award, go to for more information.

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