Disabled Rosedale man wins volunteer award 20 in Maryland receive $1,000 Penney prizes

April 25, 1996|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

Seven years ago, Franklin W. Vanik of Rosedale was an athletic 22-year-old senior at Virginia Tech, when he began unexpectedly tripping over his feet while playing basketball.

After returning to Maryland and beginning a foreman's job at Bethlehem Steel Corp., he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a chronic, often disabling disease that affects the nervous system.

Mr. Vanik went from crutches to a wheelchair. But, he decided, "There's a time to turn things around," and began volunteering 80 hours a month with the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

His all-out effort as MS ambassador, volunteer and part-time worker won him yesterday a $1,000 Golden Rule volunteer award from J. C. Penney Co. Inc. He was one of 20 award winners in Maryland.

Mr. Vanik's roles have included counselor, promoter of MS bicycle tours and walks and coordinator of wheelchair bowling, skiing and aquatic therapy.

"I never appreciated how important being independent was until I had to sit around and wait for someone to pick me up," he said.

Symptoms of MS vary greatly, and Mr. Vanik encourages people with MS to be as active as they can in different ways. Using his arms, he has powered his hand-cycle bike 150 miles in an MS Bike Tour in St. Mary's County.

Some of the 20 "exceptional" Maryland volunteers and groups that won $1,000 awards may be nominated for national honors. Thirty Marylanders won $250 prizes.

The other $1,000 winners statewide:

Phil Atkinson, president of Volunteers for Medical Engineering, Baltimore, modified a crib for a mother with MS who was in danger of losing custody of her child. He changed the crib so she could move the baby in and out of it safely, allowing her to keep her child.

Marianne J. Kelly, who survived a brain tumor and has a child with cancer, created the Image Recovery Center at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore to soften the effects of chemotherapy with expert advice on restoring appearance. Other hospitals are adopting the concept.

Louise Paquette, 86, who began teaching in a one-room school more than 60 years ago, volunteers as a reading and writing instructor at Windsor Farm Elementary School in Annapolis. She walks two miles to and from school each day.

Harambee, a coalition of 14 Presbyterian churches, helped 60 students at Baltimore's Harlem Park Middle School achieve better grades through mentoring, computer training and trips.

Michael G. Callas, owner of Callas Contracting Inc., helped build the $1.5 million Children's Village in Washington County to promote children's safety statewide.

Court-Appointed Special Advocates has recruited, trained and directed 350 volunteers to provide support for more than 550 abused and neglected children in Montgomery County since 1987. Elaine M. Fromm, president of the Organization for Enforcement of Child Support in Finksburg, has pushed Congress and officials in Maryland for 17 years to promote proper support for children.

Tom Painter founded a program to distribute clothing, furniture and household items for St. Luke's House in North Bethesda. Elinor Zaslow, Silver Spring, supports The Shepherd's Table, which feeds 36,000 people a year in Montgomery County.

Senegal Friendship Committee in Prince George's County has an exchange program with Ziguinchor in Senegal, West Africa.

Winners involved in education were classroom volunteers at these schools: Linda Brown, Malcolm Elementary School, Waldorf; Norma Dunleavy, Pershing Hill Elementary School, Fort Meade; Rosalee Glisan, New Market Elementary School, New Market; and H. Louise Lassiter, Walbrook Senior High, Baltimore.

Student honorees volunteered at schools and charities. Marie Ann Choi, president of Towson High School Key Club, organized community service projects, such as helping the homeless and retirees and sending books to Kiev in Russia. Sarah Raymond of Corkran Middle School in Anne Arundel County helped found the "Caring Kids Campaign" to try to prevent child abuse.

Other student winners are Erin Kelly of Derwood for working at Rock Creek Foundation, Silver Spring, with people with developmental disabilities and chronic mental illnesses; and Betsy McVey, La Plata High School, and Jenny Lynn Sheckles, Frederick County, who volunteered at numerous charities.

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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