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Jun 8, 2010 6:51 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Talkhouse owner honored for community service

Jun 8, 2010 6:51 PM

For someone who does not like to be praised, Peter Honerkamp keeps doing things to deserve it.

“It feels awkward being honored,” said Mr. Honerkamp, who received the 2010 Mentoring Achievement Award from the Mentoring Partnership of Long Island last month and was inducted into the Long Island Mentoring Hall of Fame for his participation in East Hampton Town’s after-school youth services program.

Mr. Honerkamp co-founded the Wounded Warrior Soldier Ride, which benefits the Wounded Warrior Project; he was honored for his work with that organization in 2008. He has held numerous fund-raisers for charitable causes at the Stephen Talkhouse, the Amagansett club of which he is the managing partner. Last year, he raised money to bring a badly scarred Afghan girl to the United States for reconstructive surgery; and he has travelled to Cuba on many occasions for humanitarian work.

This time around, Mr. Honerkamp was recognized for his role in the town’s after-school program. Mr. Honerkamp describes that role as a minimal one. He said that for the last two years he was paired with a child who needed a mentor and once a week would either help that child with homework or play with him at the town’s youth services center.

“It’s very rewarding for me to interact with kids and to help them,” he said. “But it’s just a couple hours a week.”

Audrey Gaines, director of youth services, describes Mr. Honerkamp’s role differently.

“Not only was he one of our most consistent mentors, but the child he was mentoring really blossomed since Peter came into his life,” she said. “He turned him around and made him such a different person and helped him overcome some of the challenges in his life.”

Ms. Gaines nominated Mr. Honerkamp for the award, given by the Hauppauge-based organization that provides support, training and resources for municipalities and private groups that want to host mentoring programs. Franca Flora, the director of programs and training at the Mentoring Partnership, said Mr. Honerkamp was one of three people recognized this year out of dozens of nominations.

Ms. Gaines said that when the after-school mentoring program began about two years ago, it was difficult to find mentors 
who would commit, but Mr. Honerkamp was quick to 
jump at the opportunity and has stuck with it ever since.

“I just called them up to see if they needed extra help after school,” Mr. Honerkamp said. “The kids just need someone to set an example and show they care about them each week.”

As a part of Mr. Honerkamp’s award, he was given a $500 stipend, which the Youth Services Department is using to 
buy a Nintendo WII system for the children and the senior citizens, who share the same building.

Ms. Gaines said that Mr. Honerkamp’s commitment and success with his student were enough for her to nominate him for the award, but when she realized how many other projects he was involved in, she knew he was the right choice.

“He’s done some incredible things,” she said. “And this was something that he really should have. He’s very modest and he doesn’t want anybody to know, but it is a big deal.”

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This is a really great thing. I've always known about Peter's commitment to humanitarian efforts in Cuba and his connection to Soldier Ride. Its amazing to learn that he is also active in these other activities and amazing the he is able to find the time for all of this while also running the Talkhouse! Congratulations Peter! You are a very deserving recipient of this award.
By Rich Morey (378), Brooklyn on Jun 3, 10 12:51 PM
thats great about time we reconize untold heros!! good for you peter i bet you sleep well god bless you . i have known peter for many years . its nice to know good people.
we are so lucky to be living in east hampton and our quality of life . mostly due to a few heros ( we have some polititians) in that group. people who care.
By free2 (7), east hampton on Jun 4, 10 11:37 AM
IAltruisim for the sake of it and not just for business/PR is so commendable. Nice going Mr. Honerkamp!
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Jun 4, 10 5:07 PM
Peter is a quiet hero. This is great news. Thanks to Audrey Gaines for nominating him.
By MaryB (19), East Hampton on Jun 5, 10 3:47 PM
NIce Job Peter
By Bridgehampton (36), Bridgehampton on Jun 6, 10 12:41 AM
Props for Peter!!
By pupdaddy (12), North Sea on Jun 7, 10 10:44 AM