VOLUNTEERS are the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks' primary resource for maintenance, operation and coordination of its many programs.
In the more than 70 parks and 17 recreational facilities like the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and Londontown Publik House and Gardens, volunteers work as tour guides, with disabled children, as event planners, clerical support, coaches and umpires and coordinators of programs including fitness, crafts and after-school child care, seniors and sports.
They can bring with them some specific skills or can just be willing to help wherever needed.
Each year five volunteers are chosen from throughout the county to receive the Ron Blake Outstanding Volunteer Award. Blake, who died in 1984, gave much of his time to the department, particularly in the Odenton community. He was a founder of the Gambrills-Odenton Recreation Council, president of several community associations, coach of football and baseball and a member of the County Recreation Advisory Board.
This year's award winners are Betsy Andrews from Edgewater; Edward Filcheck from Laurel; Charlotte Leventry from Churchton and Edward Wilson from Severna Park. Gordon Citroni from Severn died shortly before the awards banquet, and his daughter, Christine Allison, accepted his award.
Awards were presented by Joseph J. McCann, director of Recreation and Parks, and M. Joseph Cannon, chairman of the department's advisory board, county executive Robert Neall, outgoing executive James Lighthizer and Elizabeth Blake.
Betsy Andrews volunteers as a ''sidewalker'' of horses ridden by handicapped and mentally disabled children, at the Andover Equestrian Center in north Anne Arundel. Self-trained, she has been a walker, leader and groom in the county's Therapeutic Riding Program since it began in 1984, and she initiated the Mideastern Miniature Horse Show, which is a fund-raiser for the Therapeutic Riding Program.
Ed Filcheck served the Maryland City Recreation Council for more than 25 years as a coach, umpire and referee during and after his children were involved and even after he moved to another community. His co-volunteers and department friends say that Filcheck has never coached a player who doesn't respect and admire him.
Charlotte Leventry has given 16 years to the Londontown Publik House and Gardens in Edgewater and has been chairman of the antique show for five years. She is co-chairman of the Education Committee, helping to organize the demonstration and hands-on activities for children visiting the house. She plans a Christmas program which last year served 425 children and 224 adults. Leventry is also publicity chairman, docent, administrator and activities specialist for Londontown's prize-winning summer camp.
Ed Wilson volunteers with the Green Hornets Recreation Council in Severna Park. For more than 20 years, he has provided free summer basketball clinics to help underprivileged kids improve their skills. He donates time to help children with transportation and in friendship and also provides some financial support for shoes, equipment and uniforms. He has helped raise more than $125,000 through an annual raffle.
Gordon Citroni was a volunteer to the Severn Athletic Club for more than 20 years serving in positions from president and baseball commissioner to equipment manager, coach and umpire. For 10 years, he hand-made all of the plaques for the program participants. He was very involved in the choosing, designing and developing of Severn Danza Park.
Those who would like to volunteer may contact Christine Coffin at Anne Arundel County's Department of Recreation and Parks at P.O. Box 2700, Annapolis 21404 or may call her at 222-3600.