The Howard County Chamber of Commerce honored 10 educators and 29 public safety workers last night at its third annual Community Awards Night dinner in Marriottsville.
"It's our way of saying thank you to those citizens who have made Howard County a better place to live," Don Wood, the master of ceremonies, told a crowd of more than 500. Mr. Wood is a regional vice president of Maryland National Bank, a &L co-sponsor of the dinner.
"It is very easy to accept setbacks," said dinner speaker Connie Unseld, owner of a private school in Baltimore and wife of Washington Bullets' basketball coach Wes Unseld.
"These honorees stayed focused," Ms. Unseld said. "Sometimes they stood alone. They have an effect today as well as tomorrow . . . and are guilty of having a passion for life."
She told the recipients that the awards they were about to receive were "the deserved fruits of [their] labors."
Ms. Unseld also commended the families of the award-winners for their "tolerance, patience and understanding."
And she appealed to those in the audience who are not involved in community service to become involved.
"In helping others, you can help yourself," she said.
After Ms. Unseld's address, the crowd was shown a slide show that featured a montage of the faces of the winners. Teachers, especially, were robustly cheered as their faces emerged on the giant screen.
Individual photographs were displayed on a huge split screen as individual honorees came forward to receive plaques and applause.
Unlike the public safety awards in which a volunteer firefighter, career firefighter, police officer and sheriff's deputy are selected as the person of the year in their respective categories, no one person is honored as educator of the year. The chamber honored each person with a plaque naming the person as educator of the year for 1993.
Each winner was also given a resolution from the County Council, offering the council's "sincerest congratulations" and "best wishes on this memorable occasion."
Educators honored were Rebecca B. Barbusca, the gifted and talented resource teacher at Northfield Elementary School; Veronica Bohn, a business education teacher at Atholton High School; Sandra Finck, a first-grade teacher at Swansfield Elementary School; Todd Gravois, school psychologist at Waterloo Elementary School; Alberta "Susie" M. Hix, a science teacher at Oakland Mills Middle School.
Also, Jacqueline S. Lazarewicz, principal of Clemens Crossing Elementary School; Laura O'Donnell, the "intensity level 4 resource teacher" at Lisbon Elementary School; Katherine Potocki, a social studies teacher at Patapsco Middle School; Linda Storey, English chairwoman at Howard High School; and Carole K. Trone, guidance counselor at Mayfield Elementary School.
Winners of the chamber's silver medal were Detectives Mark Colbert and Frank Dayhoff, Firefighter Andrew Lester, Sgt. Gregory Marshall and Officer Glen Weir. Their plaques cited them for "an act of bravery involving great personal risk."
County police Officer Bruce Lohr and Sgt. Rodney Stem, a sheriff's deputy, were named officers of the year in their respective agencies and awarded bronze medals for valor for saving the life of a state trooper in October.
Other bronze medalists were Fire Department Sgt. Thomas Lowery, Firefighter Kevin Childers and Burton Israel, a county resident and member of the Baltimore Police Department. Each of the plaques cited the men for "an act of valor involving great personal risk."
Sgt. Kenneth Brown, who soon will be retiring from the Howard County Fire Department, was honored as career firefighter of the year. Firefighter Christopher Alliger was honored as volunteer firefighter of the year.
Receiving honorable mention for "an act of valor involving personal risk beyond the call of duty were" police Officers Merritt Bender, David Dixon, Jeffrey Giroux, Lynn Johnson, Donald Lundin and Charles Walker, and Sgts. William McKeldin Jr., William McMahon and Stephen Prozeralik; Sheriff's Deputy Jerome Featherstone; Savage Volunteer Chief Ernest Foster; Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard Freas and Firefighter Raymond Norris; and state Troopers Mark Price, Steven Proctor, Scott Richardson and Russell Williams.