Allen Conkin was unavailable for comment yesterday.
That's not unusual; she's always busy. A hospice nurse, school volunteer and church leader, the Arnold resident can add another title to her collection. Conkin has been chosen Anne Arundel County's Most Beautiful Person.
She will be honored for her contributions to the community at a reception Oct. 3 at Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie, along with 62 other nominees.
The award is part of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's "Maryland You Are Beautiful" campaign, in which each county selects its outstanding volunteers. Anne Arundel's winner was chosen by a four-member committee: Greg Glinowiecki of The Anne Arundel County Sun; Ruth Schleer of Hunter's Harbor Community Association in Pasadena; Jean Patterson, volunteer coordinator for the Providence Center; and Sylvia Garrison, president of the Severn Improvement Association.
Conkin, who volunteers at Broadneck Senior High School every Wednesday, was nominated by principal Lawrence Knight for coordinating the school's parent volunteer program. She organized the school's health room, established its procedures and found and organized volunteers.
In his letter of nomination, Knight wrote: "She goes far beyond the call of duty and exemplifies unselfish dedicated and compassionate virtues. Mrs. Conkin has continuously given unselfishly of her time, talents and what appears to be unexhaustable energy to coordinate the parent volunteer program at Broadneck."
Karen Pippin, of the county Community Services Department, noted that Conkin considers Wednesday her "mental health day" because she gets to be with the students.
Broadneck students she has counseled call her "Moma." One former student who had a drug problem said Conkin's assistance helped him get counseling and treatment. He is now a master's degree candidate at Towson State University.
"She was always supportive of me," he wrote in a letter, "but never hesitated to correct me when I was wrong."
He also recalled a time when Conkin helped a girl get a formal dress so she could attend her prom.
Carol Rowse, business manager at Broadneck, said, "Allen has donated over 1,000 hours of volunteer time in each of the last two years. I can think of no finer tribute to her efforts than to state that she has certainly made a big difference in the lives of all those she has touched at Broadneck Senior High School."
Conkin is a ordained deacon at Christ Our Anchor Presbyterian Church in Arnold and is the editor of "Anchorline," the church newsletter.
She is on the board of directors of Anchors A Wee, the church pre-school program, and has worked on many mission projects at the church. For the past two years Conkin has led the congregation's efforts to collect food and other articles for homeless men and women and has handmade 75 baskets for homeless men and women. Conkin also does church office work and coordinates fund-raising events.
In a letter to the judging committee, the Rev. Corinne Baker said: "Allen always has an outstretched arm for others. Whether it be taking in high school students for a while until they go back home, or in tending to her pets, or helping anyone in need."
She also finds time to work as a hospice nurse. A letter from one of her patients stated: "She is first my friend and then my nurse."