Applefeld, 'Beautiful' program producer, marks 23rd year of honoring volunteers

November 04, 1997|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

The thank-you show that Floraine B. Applefeld produces tonight for Maryland's top volunteers marks her 23rd year helping spur people toward community service.

For 12 years, she ran then Mayor William Donald Schaefer's "Baltimore Is Best" recognition program and, for 11 years, has directed the "Maryland You Are Beautiful" program for Governor Schaefer and Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Worcester County Commissioner James Barrett said: "It's a lot of wonderful work she does in each county."

Honorees will include Edward H. Hummers, 91, a retired businessman from Potomac, who works with men in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, and Melissa Hanna of Westernport, who has Down syndrome and reads to Allegany County schoolchildren.

"I don't know of anyone who has inspired more volunteers anywhere than Floraine," said volunteer Sharon Smith of Timonium. "Hundreds, thousands."

Moved by Applefeld's example, volunteer script writer Smith again prepared the words for tonight's ceremony in Annapolis. Recognizing 24 "grand winners" representing each state jurisdiction will be James T. Brady, secretary of the state Department of Business and Economic Development, and Frances Hughes Glendening, the governor's wife. The governor is in Israel.

"The volunteers are the saints of the world," said Applefeld, who said she learned the spirit of giving from her late parents, Goldye and Julius Rubin, and her "very supportive" husband, Leroy, who died three years ago. And, from a distance, Eleanor Roosevelt.

One by one, she said, they taught her about service without compensation or congratulation.

She began her long stint of volunteer service at $1 a year and accepts no other state pay.

"My father taught me to be a professional," said Applefeld, who grew up on Pimlico Road. "He was a furniture salesman and we were very limited economically. Mother put pennies away in a box for charity. She sent cards to people in the hospital. She loved to make people feel good."

She recalled an example set by her father.

"Father put nickels in a beggar's cup when we walked down Howard Street," Applefeld said.

L She asked him: " 'Why do you give him nickels and not me?' "

" 'It makes me realize how lucky we are,' he said."

Applefeld said she listened to Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on the radio. "I've never forgotten. I told my mother, 'Now here's a rich lady who can do whatever she wants, but she devotes herself to causes and helps poor people.' "

Applefeld juggles more than a half-dozen volunteer jobs and helps local committees promote volunteering and recognize hundreds in ceremonies statewide.

She and others are planning a conference on the needs of girls Friday and Saturday sponsored by the Maryland Commission on Women and the Girl Scouts; a meeting Dec. 11 of local women executives of "Network 2000" and Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain; and a semiannual meeting Sunday of "The Old Girls Network," a group of professional friends.

At home in the Cross Keys neighborhood, she keeps in touch with daughters Laurie Segall, an attorney here, and Lynn Carol, an artist and college professor in Florida, and two grandchildren. She also arranges flowers for friends, tends 95 houseplants and reads mysteries.

"Volunteers who do one thing usually do many," Smith said.

The volunteers, who performed service projects, were picked to represent scores of others in the 23 counties and Baltimore City.

They are:

Allegany -- Hanna; Anne Arundel -- Beverly S. Preston, anti-drug worker; Baltimore City -- Dwayne E. White, Cherry Hill mentor for children; Baltimore County -- Ashley Olukemi Olonloyo, anti-drug speaker.

Calvert -- Arthur L. Cotton, community and youth worker; Caroline -- Sue M. Dunn, community activities leader; Carroll -- Helen Franklin, hospital worker; Cecil -- Robert T. Crouch, founder of several community groups; Charles -- Jeanette B. Cooksey, friend of the needy; Dorchester -- Evelyn Townsend, tourism promoter and worker for the elderly.

Frederick -- the Rev. Samie L. Conyers, counselor for inmates; Garrett -- Wilfred C. and Hazel Myers, friend of veterans and their families; Harford -- Evelyn Brendle, counselor for substance abusers; Howard -- Peter A. McCabe, worker with Explorer Scouts and other youth; Kent -- James Clark, anti-cancer worker.

Montgomery -- Hummers; Prince George's -- Neidra N. Wilson, teen-age volunteer; Queen Anne's -- Klaus Liebig, founder of children's cruise program; St. Mary's -- Raymond Dion, furniture distributor to the needy.

Somerset -- Don and Jackie Brooks, county projects leaders; Talbot -- Lloyd Beatty, hospital worker; Washington -- Larry W. Craig, promoter of safety for children; Wicomico -- Enid L. Kreiser, assistant with chronically ill people; and Worcester -- Lillian Teta, art-league worker.

Pub Date: 11/04/97

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