A retired educator was named Howard County volunteer of the year last night in a ceremony that honored more than three dozen individuals and groups for their volunteerism.
Natalie Woodson, 67, of Columbia's Harper's Choice village, will represent the county in the annual statewide "Maryland, You Are Beautiful" ceremony Nov. 1 in Annapolis. One person or group will represent each county and Baltimore City in the recognition ceremony sponsored by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.
The county has formally recognized residents and groups for their volunteer efforts for 22 years, said Kathy Sloan, coordinator of last night's ceremony. The county volunteer of the year has participated in the state ceremony for nine years.
Ms. Woodson, a volunteer for more than 30 years, conducts workshops as the educational chairwoman of the Howard County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and serves as a tour guide and the official storyteller for the Maryland Museum of African Art.
She prepares tax returns for senior citizens and works with the Office of Human Rights' Network of Neighbors, the Board of Education Social Studies Advisory Committee, the Black Student Achievement Program and several other organizations.
"I'm one of those persons who have a hard time saying no," Ms. Woodson said. "I'm involved in much more than I ought to be."
A seven-member selection committee of county leaders chose 11 groups and 26 individuals -- from hiking guides to a parade organizer to a Sunday school teacher -- for their service to the public and private sectors.
Each was greeted and given a certificate by county officials -- County Executive Charles I. Ecker and County Council members Charles Feaga, Darrel Drown and Mary Lorsung -- and Floraine Applefeld, coordinator of the "Maryland, You Are Beautiful" program.
Other volunteers honored are Charles Aaron, Shamsaad Ali, Patricia Bembenek, Darlene Bouma, Anne Buchanan, Joseph Campbell, Ruei-Lan Chen, Florence Christner, Stella Fanzone, Evelyn Fatzie, Neil Gaffney, Shirley Geis and Joanne Hoyle.
Also Richard Kirchner, Darrell Krasoski, Sandra Kriebel, Mindy McWilliams, Frances Poole, Deborah Schultz, W.B.A. Sandy Sharp, Alicia Slahetka, Leslie Stickles, Carla Styczynski, Jenni Thomas, Lou Weckesser and Sue Winstead.
Groups honored were Career Center volunteers at Howard High School, Churches Concerned for the Homeless Inc., the Elkridge-area Jaycees, Hike Leaders of the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks, Jambalaya Inc., a nonprofit organization that publishes a magazine for ethnic groups in the county, and the Howard County Fire and Rescue volunteer program.
Also the Howard County Master Gardeners, the county branch of the Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Inc., Peer Counselors Children of Separation and Divorce Center Inc., Senior Information and Assistance Volunteer Resource Directory Committee and Stream Teams of the county Recreation and Parks Department.