Calvert County's commissioners recognized 15 citizens for their commitment to volunteerism in the county on Tuesday at the College of Southern Maryland in Prince Frederick.
The 13th annual Calvert You Are Beautiful awards program was held to shine a spotlight on each individual's efforts to improve the quality of life in the county.
“Many Calvert County individuals give of themselves — their time, expertise and resources — to help others. These folks represent the best of this wonderful community we call home,” Commissioners' President Thomas “Tim” Hutchins (R) said at the afternoon ceremony.
Arthur Simpson nominated former Calvert County commissioner Michael Moore for a CYAB award for his involvement in the community spanning several decades.
Moore is a volunteer for The Concerned Black Men of Calvert County, Inc., where he mentors young boys and girls at the Yardley Hills Center and Patuxent Elementary School.
“He is a positive role model and mentor, encouraging African-American youth to reach their full potential,” Simpson wrote on his nomination form.
In addition to helping children, Moore has been credited for years for grilling hot dogs and hamburgers at National Night Out at the Yardley Hills Center, and for helping to revitalize homes for low-income homeowners through the Christmas in April program.
Simpson said Moore perfectly embodies the giving spirit and the true mission of CBMCC to provide a holistic approach to services which support and strengthen the African-American family, and which specifically focuses on African-American youth.
County Business Development Manager Danita Boonchaisri nominated CYAB award recipient Jeff Burroughs and said he knows what it takes to develop a successful business.
In 2009, Burroughs and his wife Robyn opened their first salon and today own 20 Sport Clips locations. However, it is his dedication to the community that garnered Burroughs the award.
Each year the Burroughs raise funds for the VFW’s Sport Clips “Help a Hero" scholarship program and serve as the primary sponsor of the Ageless Aviation Dreams Foundation, which provides flights of a lifetime to World War II and Korean War veterans.
They also support the American Red Cross in their efforts to collect life-saving blood and platelet donations and contributed to the local Humane Society.
Their franchise has raised several thousand dollars for a local fire department, fighting childhood cancer and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. They also provide support for Karsyn’s Karnival, an organization that creates connections to the community for kids diagnosed with Down syndrome.
In his spare time, Burroughs is also a volunteer firefighter.
CYAB award recipient Karen Anderson is a volunteer in the Calvert Stewards, a partnership between the Calvert County Natural Resources and Calvert Nature Society.
Anderson “monitors barn owl nesting success, including the analysis of nest box contents, logs field data in her personally-created data recording system, provides input on research goals for the Patuxent Barn Owl Collaborative Project, and most recently became the new Calvert County project manager,” Natural Resources Division Chief Karen Molines wrote on the nomination form.
Molines said every season, Anderson is involved in bird studies organized by the Calvert County Natural Resources Division. Each fall, she helps with banding the northern saw-whet owls and conducts the annual Christmas bird counts in winter.
In the spring, she monitors the nests of bluebirds, wood ducks and prothonotary warblers and in the summer, she assists with a breeding songbird banding project.
“It’s the little things that make the biggest difference in a child’s life: a look of encouragement, a tender word, the sharing of one’s talents and time,” Lucretia Sandy Estep wrote on her form nominating CYAB award recipient Sandy Artz.
Estep said Artz, an active participant in the Patuxent High School PTO, does all of these things each day for the students of Patuxent High School and the members of the Patuxent High School band.
“As president of the Patuxent High School band, Sandy selflessly gives her time and energy to coordinate fundraising efforts, fit band students for their uniforms, chaperone all trips and more,” Estep wrote. “She gives so much to our community and truly makes it a better place for our children to grow and learn.”
Retired school teacher and CYAB award recipient Ellen Boyd volunteers her time and talents at Southern Pines Senior Center.
The center's program specialist Melinda Gaines, who nominated Boyd, said she has been influential in both the creative writing and grief and loss programs, helping people navigate their thoughts and emotions through writing and connecting them to a network of support. The programs are considered vital in reducing the risk of depression, isolation, loneliness and even addiction among seniors.
Boyd leads mental gymnastics, engaging seniors through various mentally stimulating activities including puzzles, number games and word searches. She also plans and leads the Southern Pines book club discussions at the center, which have helped seniors learn and relax at the same time. When she’s not facilitating a program, she preps auction baskets and sells raffle tickets to fund senior activities.
“Ellen has been instrumental in improving the lives of the seniors at the Southern Pines Senior Center,” Gaines said.
County business retention specialist Cathy MacAdams nominated eventual CYAB award recipient Robert Bonner and food truck company owner. According to MacAdams, what makes Bonner one of Calvert County’s most beautiful people is “his passion to help our community’s less fortunate.”
Bonner donates his time, talents and money through several initiatives in Southern Maryland. Partnering with Farming4Hunger, Bonner assisted the nonprofit in getting food to the communities, teaching how to prepare it, making jams and jellies and helping the men in the program learn food safety and preparation.
Bonner is also credited with partnering with several area churches to provide hot meals during food drops, loaned his trailer to Helping Hands to feed those in need. To date, he has donated more than 2,500 meals to the needy and less fortunate.
Bonner plans to convert a donated school bus into a mobile dining room so children and families can have a safe, bright and happy place to enjoy a free meal.
CYAB award recipient Malcolm Funn is well-known for saying “we are endowed with talents and skills, and are to use them or lose them.”
Former Calvert County NAACP Chair Joyce Freeland said the quote lays the foundation for his community service and activism. Freeland nominated Funn, a former local chapter vice president, for his life long service to the community.
A Calvert native, Funn has dedicated his life to volunteering. He has served as director of the Calvert County Historical Society, and as a facilitator of the Community Conferencing Program at the Community Mediation Center of Calvert.
A former member of the Calvert County Planning Commission and a commissioner of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, Funn has also served as a member of the Harriet E. Brown Commemoration Task Force.
With a passion for education, Funn served as a director and team leader of Strong Schools Maryland, an advisory council member at the College of Southern Maryland, and a member of the Closing the Achievement Gap Coalition.
A staunch advocate of getting voters out to election polls, Funn is a member of the League of Women Voters. Funn also volunteers at his church, Bayside Baptist Church.
Both Sue Spindler and Lori Hony nominated CYAB recipient Carole Haas for her 10-plus years of volunteer service with Project Echo, where she works two days a week to answer phones, organize donations, assist the executive director and serve on the board of directors.
The pair use the words faithfully, selfless, kindness, dedication and remarkable to describe the shelter volunteer.
Haas can be found serving dinner to residents at the shelter on Thanksgiving Day. She also participates in monthly Calvert County Chamber of Commerce meetings to inform the community of the needs of the shelter and acts as a liaison on behalf of the homeless in Calvert County. She also teaches job and life skills to residents who are living at the shelter, “offering a glimmer of hope in their darkest hour.”
Other CYAB award recipients honored Tuesday for the commitment to volunteerism were Marjorie Fenner, Lori Harrington, Lauren Kleist, William "Les" Manser, John Riedesel, Michael Sweeney and Peggy Wilson.
For more information or to read about their contributions, go to www.calvertcountymd.gov/2046/Calvert-You-Are-Beautiful-Volunteer-Awar.