Award honors Carroll volunteer

Gloria Bair recognized as humanitarian by group

`We have to give back'

October 23, 2003|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Gloria G. Bair has been a teacher, a coordinator for county family service programs and a stay-at-home mother who devoted hours to volunteer efforts in her North Carroll community. Yesterday, she became an award winner.

Bair, the recipient of the third annual Sylvia Canon Humanitarian Award, called herself "blessed with three careers" that allowed her to help others.

"The only thing I can say is that God gave me a heart for people," Bair told members of the Community Services Council, who awarded her an etched glass globe during a meeting in Westminster yesterday. "Volunteering has always been primary in my heart. We have to give back."

The award, named for Sylvia Canon, founder and first director of the county's Human Services Programs, recognizes employees or retirees of local human service organizations who demonstrate creativity, innovation and a commitment to help county residents.

"For you, we should call it the You Make a World of Difference Award," said Audrey Cimino, director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County.

Bair, a former member of the Community Services Council's board, has been nominated three times for the award, Cimino said. Bair was among six nominees for the 2003 award.

"I am incredibly humbled to be among these candidates and grateful to be recognized as deserving by my peers," Bair said.

Cimino, who served on the nomination committee, said Bair's name repeatedly came up during the nomination process.

"This is a woman who is 100 percent engaged in what she does," Cimino said. "She is an encyclopedia of knowledge of county services and how to interrelate. She is the go-to person who makes it happen for people, and she does it with great dignity."

The group instituted the award to honor Canon and those who follow her example, said Mary Jane Benstein, Community Services Council president. Canon retired in 2001 after 40 years in social service, 13 of which were as director of Human Services Programs.

The council meets monthly and serves as a network for county human service organizations working to strengthen ties among providers, educate others about community services and identify gaps in service needs.

Last week, Bair started a new career. She is custody evaluator for the Carroll County Circuit Court.

Bair has the background, experience and sensitivity for dealing with children and assessing their custody issues, said Powel B. Welliver, family law administrator.

Bair will "get to know children in their homes and at school in a way that we can't in the courts," Welliver said. "She will help the courts make a determination about where a child should be living. This is the only opportunity in the system where a child's voice will be heard outside the court."

Bair will put the award on the desk in her new office at the courthouse. There was soft laughter from the group when she said: "My new job is scary. Pray for me."

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