Volunteer shares big slice of time

After 54 years of giving, Harney resident wins Carroll's Most Beautiful People Award

October 07, 2007|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Sun reporter

Barbara Six loves to cook.

But she doesn't just cook for her family, which includes four children and eight grandchildren.

For 54 years, the Harney resident has been cooking for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary Post 6918, the Harney Volunteer Fire Company auxiliary, the Harney Lions Club and St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church of Harney.

"I do a lot of baking - pies are at the top of my list," she said. "Apple is my specialty, and egg custard, but any kind."

When she's not cooking, she might be found visiting a sick church member or friend in a nursing home, or making sure there are altar flowers for the church every Sunday.

Her almost constant volunteerism earned her Carroll County's Most Beautiful People Award for 2007 at the annual reception and ceremony honoring 40 nominees, held Sept. 28 at North Carroll Senior and Community Center.

The county program is part of the Maryland's Most Beautiful People Volunteer Awards that recognizes individuals' efforts in the community. All the nominees received certificates from the county and state, pins, and gifts from the county and area businesses.

"This is a big surprise, I had no idea," Six, 71, said when she was called to the podium for a second time. "There's so many people - I'm overwhelmed."

Debbie Keith, senior vice president of the VFW auxiliary who nominated Six for the award, said Six is "always in the kitchen. She's really an all-around fine person."

Much of the Six family is involved in some form of volunteerism. Barbara Six was too young to join the VFW when its auxiliary was formed, but she joined as soon as she could. She has served in several officer positions since then.

She is a charter member of the Harney fire company auxiliary and was its first secretary. She is part of the St. Paul's Church ladies' aid society, which "does things to help the church," she said.

Her husband of 54 years, Marlin Six, has been an auxiliary member of the VFW and a fire company member since he was 16. One son, Brett Six, is fire chief at Taneytown Volunteer Fire Co.

"It's a wonderful surprise," Marlin Six said. "She deserves it."

But Barbara Six is more modest about what she does.

"Everybody needs help every now and then," she said. "I was involved in a church lunch [Monday], and sometimes you feel obligated, and sometimes you just wanna."

Plus, she noted, "You think you have problems, but there's always someone less fortunate."

It's not always the less fortunate, however. Organizations always need to raise money, and such things as suppers and carnivals are part of the members' lives.

"It takes all different kinds of people to pull off a project, it takes the cooperation of many," she said. "One person can't do nothing by herself."

Besides, living in a rural area like Harney, which is full of volunteers despite its small size, she said, "you just try to help one another and look out for one another."

In the Harney community, "If I say I need six people to do something, I got them. That's how they are," she said.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said the average citizen - except for family, friends and neighbors of the individual - doesn't realize what most volunteers do.

"They work at the fire department, their church, in the community," Gouge said. "It's what makes the county what it is - all the hours they put in, and nobody knows until we recognize them."

But that recognition, Gouge said, "shows others what they do and makes people think, `Maybe I could do that, too.' "

Collecting her awards before heading home after the ceremony, Six said, "I feel everybody should have got this award."

ellie.baublitz@baltsun.com

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