* James A. Griffiths, 65, of Huntington in Kings...


August 22, 1993

* James A. Griffiths, 65, of Huntington in Kings Contrivance, Columbia.

Mr. Griffiths was born in Panama. He lived in New York City for 25 years and moved to Columbia 12 years ago.

* Hobbies and other activities: Mr. Griffiths likes to play darts and read. He designed highways and bridges as an engineer before semiretiring. He also taught English as a second language in Barranquilla, Colombia. He has also traveled to Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and many other countries.

He works part time for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in quality assurance with the Green Line.

Mr. Griffiths volunteers with the Foreign Born Information and Referral Network (FIRN) and with Project Literacy. With FIRN, he helps Hispanics learn English and translates for clients. He also takes them to appointments and acts as an interpreter. Through Project Literacy, he is helping a woman learn English and reading, working with her twice a week at the Howard County Public Library.

* Organization's Comments: "He is a wonderful person, very warm and considerate. He is the kind of person you can always call on," said Carmen Vaessen, outreach bilingual coordinator with FIRN. She said Mr. Griffiths has helped clients with the immigration process and has provided job counseling. "He is available. If there is a crisis, I can pick up the phone, and there he is."

* Volunteer's Comments: "I like to help people," Mr. Griffiths said. He said he knows what it is like to come to a country and struggle with the language and other obstacles. Mr. Griffiths said he also appreciates the opportunities he has had and likes helping others help themselves and their families."I enjoy working with FIRN because of the growing Hispanic population in Howard County," he said. "And, due to the fact I was born in Panama, I feel more connected to them."

* About Mr. Griffiths: He is married to Olga Griffiths and has three grown children, James Jr., Ilena and Mayra.

To make a nomination or receive a nomination form, call Jill L. Kubatko at 715-2813 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may be faxed to the office at 715-2816.

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