A Wilde Lake High School senior, a self-described "arts patron," and a hospice volunteer were among those who won Howard County Volunteer Recognition Awards yesterday.
Nearly 70 people were honored at the 19th annual Howard County Volunteer Awards Celebration, which recognizes outstanding volunteers in six different categories.
Stephen M. Rice was chosen outstanding student volunteer for promoting, organizing and sponsoring community service projects throughout Howard County.
Stephen, who has been the student representative to the Town Center Village Board for the past four years, said the award inspires him to work even harder.
"It means a great deal to me," said the 17-year-old who has also served as an anti-drug program peer leader, community service director for the Howard County Association of Student Councils and class president at Wilde Lake High School.
"I think people who have served the community and are recognized are given an incentive to work harder and give more to the community," he said.
Katie Jasinski, a volunteer at Worthington Elementary School in Ellicott City, was chosen outstanding individual volunteer for education-recreation.
After seeing a television report featuring Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, Ms. Jasinski helped form a partnership with the inner-city school, called the Coleworth Connection.
Now, students from both schools write each other letters in attempt to appreciate diversity and develop new friendships.
The Worthington students also helped stock Coleman Elementary's library and classrooms through a book drive.
Jean Moon and Lawrence Siegel won volunteer awards for their involvement in the arts community.
Ms. Moon helped found the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society in 1974.
She is also a founding member and president of the Columbia Arts Festival.
Mr. Siegel is a founding member of Howard Arts United, an organization that is now the Howard County Arts Council.
Mary Hull Levyne, a volunteer with the Howard County Hospice Services, won the outstanding human services volunteer award for developing a weekly support group for family members caring for the terminally ill.
She also entertains group members in her home during the holidays.
Roof Systems Design Inc. and Magco Inc., two roofing contractors, were honored for refurbishing the leaky roof of Ellicott Enterprises, a training center of the Howard County Association for Retarded Citizens.
The two businesses encouraged eight contractors, 13 suppliers and four restaurants to donate materials and workers valued between $160,000 and $180,000.
The Bob Porter Co., a Gaithersburg contractor that builds office interiors, was chosen this year's business volunteer for its donations to the Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Center in Lisbon.
Every year, Mr. Porter donates his Lisbon farm to the center for a two-day benefit horse show. Company employees also volunteer their time during the show.
Director Helen Tuel said the center could not survive without Mr. Porter's help. "It would be struggling," Ms. Tuel said of the facility, which teaches mentally and physically handicapped people how to ride horses.
"He should get that recognition," Ms. Tuel said. "He's touched more children's lives than he can ever know."
Patty Rouse, secretary and treasurer of the Enterprise Foundation, was guest speaker. Mrs. Rouse reflected on volunteerism trends and her own work as a volunteer.
During the 1950s and 1960s, Mrs. Rouse said, women volunteers were criticized for working outside the home.
"We were chastised for paying someone else to take care of our children so we could take care of someone else," she said.
Although attitudes have changed, she said, more volunteers than ever are needed.
She said yesterday's nominees have fostered stronger community ties.
"You have planted seeds of community," Mrs. Rouse said.
Volunteerism "strengthens not only our community but strengthens the participants as well," she said.