County honors volunteers for their service to hospital

Rowe, 79, to represent Howard at state event

October 04, 2002|By Kristin Sette | Kristin Sette,SUN STAFF

Howard County officials this week honored three volunteers for their service to Howard County General Hospital, one of whom will represent the county in a statewide awards ceremony next month in Annapolis.

The Volunteer of the Year, 79-year-old Siegfried Rowe of Columbia, will be honored Nov. 13 along with others from counties across Maryland as part of the nonprofit program "Maryland You Are Beautiful."

Rowe, chaplaincy associate at the hospital, was among 34 Howard volunteers recognized at a reception Wednesday night in the Banneker Room of the George Howard Building.

A cantor at Columbia Jewish Congregation, Rowe spends a few days a week visiting patients and meeting with their families. He was nominated by the hospital chaplain, Robert Van Ingen.

This year, county officials chose to recognize two others for their service, along with a county organization and a business.

James Smith of Columbia, who estimated he has donated more than 600 teddy bears to pediatric patients, received the Spirit of Volunteerism Award.

Smith, 59, said he has spent about $6,000 on the bears, which he and his wife, Elizabeth, place in "sleep sacks" and deliver to the hospital.

"It's not a matter of money," Smith said. "It's a matter of giving back to the community ... to make people feel good."

Allyson Claire Happel, of Glenwood, an eighth-grader at Glenwood Middle School, was named Student Volunteer of the Year for creating a video library in the hospital's pediatric unit.

Allyson's mother, Denise Happel, said her daughter spent about 45 hours working on the video drive last year, which began as a Girl Scout project. She said her daughter "took off with it," collecting 250 tapes and creating a catalog to organize them.

Allyson, 13, said, "I really wanted to help the kids."

Debbie Fleischmann, the hospital's administrative director for emergency services, said the hospital receives contributions on a regular basis. But she said Smith and Happel's contributions stand out for different reasons.

"Allyson's project was so thorough," Fleischmann said. "Mr. Smith's contributions have been so consistent over time."

Also Wednesday, Special Olympics of Howard County was named Community Organization of the Year. Verizon, the only company nominated, is Business of the Year for the second year in a row.

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