State Honors Couple Who Emanate Beauty From Within You Are Beautiful Recipients Say It's All From The Heart

November 11, 1990|By Karin Remesch | Karin Remesch,Staff writer

They are Harford County's Most Beautiful Couple -- in heart and spirit.

And last Tuesday evening they were honored, along with 22 other Maryland residents, at the governor's Maryland You Are Beautiful reception in Annapolis.

But Margaret, 58, and 60-year-old William White still can't understand what all the fuss is about.

Though they were hailed for caring about other people, the Aberdeen couple says being there when needed is nothing out of the ordinary. They simply consider it their Christian duty.

"When someone is in need," they both agree, "you don't think about it, you just do it."

Just "doing" is exactly what they have been doing for many years.

There's the Brevin Nursing Home in Havre de Grace that greatly benefits from the Whites' cheerfulness, and Holy Family House, a transitional shelter for homeless families sponsored by Episcopal churches in Harford County, and FISH, and handicapped children, the sick, the shut-ins -- the list is long.

"This couple is always willing to give of themselves," says the Rev.

Celine Burke, the Whites' minister, who nominated them for the award. "They go the extra mile to make sure others are happy."

The Maryland You Are Beautiful program was initiated four years ago to recognize the unsung heroes who devote their time to volunteer efforts.

Locally, the project is organized by the Harford County Office of Economic Development.

The Whites consider each of their volunteer projects important, but they agree that work with Holy Family House is extra special to them and probably the most time consuming.

The project, which offers temporary shelter for the abused and homeless families, was organized almost three years ago by a group of Harford County Episcopal churches.

"We received an anonymous gift of $5,000 for the project providing we could match it," said Bill White, who serves as treasurer for the project's board of directors.

By January 1988 the first apartment was rented to provide family shelter for a period of 60 days. Realizing the need for a longer adjustment period, the initial 60 days were extended to 90. And in October 1990 a second unit was rented to provide shelter for possibly up to one year.

"The apartments were fully furnished, from carpets to curtains, silverware, bed linens, towels -- everything a family would need to move in and live free of charge, all utilities and expenses paid," said Bill White.

While he is busy with interviewing prospective families, checking on them during their stay and keeping in touch with them after they have left the shelter, Margaret helps clean the apartments between families and adds that homey touch.

"Margaret always makes sure the apartments are well-stocked with magazines and equipped with those little extra things that make it home," said Burke, rector of the Whites' church, Holy Trinity Episcopal in Churchville.

The church also sponsors a FISH food closet, and the Whites not only help collect food to keep the closet filled, but also deliver food once a month to those in need.

Regular nursing home visits also are on the Whites' busy schedule.

"I first realized the need to visit residents in nursing homes when my aunt had to stay in one," said Margaret, "they always need someone to talk or read to them, or just to fill water pitchers."

As part of the outreach program at the Whites' church, a group of parishioners started visiting Brevin Nursing Home in Havre de Grace on a regular basis, where organizing tea parties for the residents has become a favorite project.

The many hours the Whites volunteer are in addition to working full-time jobs. Bill is employed with Corbin Fuel and Margaret drives a school bus for John Archer School.

So how do they manage to find time for continuously helping many people in need?

"You just do it," they both said.

Not even a foot surgery in August has slowed Bill down. Still in a cast and walking with the aid of a crutch, he's as busy as ever.

He wouldn't even take it easy when confined at home immediately following surgery. He just used his new-found extra hours by calling shut-ins. And he sent postcards to the sick and homebound, letting them know he was thinking about them.

Bill and Margaret also are involved in Cursillo, a spiritual renewal movement within the Episcopal Church. They go on weekend retreats and often take with them boxes full of hand-made items they created for fellow participants.

Busy as they are, they still don't think they deserve to be rewarded for their work. "Others do much more than we," they said.

And that's why, when it came time last week in Annapolis to accept citations and engraved plaques honoring them for their work, they accepted the awards "in the name of all volunteers in Harford County."

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