Home Latest Stories City to Honor John Loeper, Dr. Patrick Kane With MLK Award

City to Honor John Loeper, Dr. Patrick Kane With MLK Award

John Loeper stands next to the type of surf boat that was used in shipwreck rescues during a tour of the U.S. Life Saving Station in October.


Leading a life of doing for others, helping a community, making it better, that is what the Martin Luther King Community Service Award is all about. And the few who are selected have made an impact, a difference.

Two Ocean City residents with very different contributions to the community have been selected for the high honor.

Longtime local historian John Loeper and hand surgeon and former Board of Education President Dr. Patrick Kane are the 2023 recipients of the award.

On Jan. 16 at noon they will be honored during the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony at the Ocean City Music Pier.

The event brings the community together to remember Dr. King through words, song and dance.

“Each year, the awards recognize volunteer activity and service to the Ocean City community. As president of the Ocean City Historical Museum and chairman of U.S. Life Saving Station 30, John Loeper has been indispensable in preserving our history for generations to come,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in a statement.

And as president of the Ocean City Board of Education, Dr. Kane, “helped guide our school district through the extreme challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, always putting the needs and interests of students first,” Gillian continued.

Each year, the ceremony celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. King. It is also where the audience learns about the award recipients.

More information on the event is here.

Dr. Patrick Kane, white shirt, stands with school officials to recognize students during a school board meeting in November.

In an interview Monday, Loeper paid tribute to Dr. King by citing some of his most famous quotes about the importance of recognizing and preserving history.

Working with former and current city administrations since 1978, he said local officials have “always embraced their history.”

“That is what kept history alive here,” Loeper said.

Loeper said he volunteers because it was simply something instilled in him from a young age to help in the community.

“My mother always volunteered, and my grandmother before her. It was just instilled in us,” he said. “My sister in Florida volunteers, too. I don’t do it for the recognition. I do it for the betterment of the city.”

For Loeper, it is all about preserving history.

“Ocean City has a rich history for a community that has only been around for a little over 100 years,” he said, “It is unbelievable when you look into it. That history is what makes Ocean City what it is today.”

His family has been in the resort, whether living or vacationing, in some way or another since 1904.

Ocean City is a place he and his family cherish, he said. He noted that he could not have done all that he has, however, without the support of his wife of 53 years, Marjorie.

“I couldn’t do what I do without a supportive wife,” Loeper said.

While Loeper has worked for decades on preserving and restoring history, Dr. Kane spent much of his time on the Board of Education over the last couple of years, helping the school district navigate a new virus – COVID-19.

He led a school committee that enacted safety protocols to protect students and faculty during the height of the pandemic.

Dr. Kane, whose term on the school board ended in December after he lost his re-election bid, said Monday that he was “truly honored to be recognized by the city with such a significant award.”

And to be put on the stage and honored in the same ceremony that pays tribute to the legacy of the great Dr. King is humbling, he said.

“Dr. King was a visionary leader who changed the course of our nation. I am humbled to be recognized as part of his legacy,” he said.