Meals on Wheels chief wins service honor

Helping: Debbie Porterfield, who has doubled the number of clients her organization serves, is given the Sylvia Canon award.

October 31, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Community Services Council bestowed its annual Sylvia Canon award last week on a woman who daily makes a difference in the lives of shut-ins.

Debbie Porterfield, program administrator for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Inc., oversees the delivery of about 120 well-balanced, hot meals every day to "the homebound of all ages and economic status," she said. At the council meeting Wednesday, she received an etched glass globe that said, "You make a world of difference."

"There really is no better sentiment," said Audrey Cimino, director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County and a community council member.

Since Porterfield, 47, began the job in Carroll County about five years ago, she has doubled the number of clients the organization serves. Muriel Stone Nolen, director of client services and Porterfield's supervisor, attended the award ceremony in Westminster.

"Now this council knows what we have known all along," Nolen said. "Debbie is a hard worker, a visionary who is creative and committed to service. She has really grown our service here."

Porterfield also accepted the job of president of the community council that advocates for and coordinates service efforts throughout the county.

"This council is truly supportive of community outreach," she said.

She planned to show the globe to her family and "try to explain to them what an honor it is." Then, she will install it in her office on Main Street in Westminster.

"I am so humbled, and I am a newcomer to the county," said Porterfield, who moved to Sykesville about six years ago from Prince George's County. "This award shocked me because of all the wonderful people nominated with me. I am nowhere in Sylvia's league."

She listed previous winners of the award named for the woman who founded Human Services Programs of Carroll County, building it from an energy assistance program to a not-for-profit corporation with a $3.5 million annual budget. Being in the company of Canon and several other community leaders inspired her, Porterfield said.

"It doesn't matter if you are new to the community," said Kathy Brown, director of Shepherd's Staff, an outreach ministry. "You are a wonderful lady and you have a lot of heart."

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