OCEAN CITY – Steve Pappas will be joining the ranks of some of the town’s leading citizens this week as he becomes this year’s recipient of the 10th Spirit of Ocean City Award.
The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce defines the honor as, “Ocean City’s most prestigious business award. The Spirit Award, honors the Ocean City businessperson who has simultaneously operated a reputable and successful business and actively promoted Ocean City, endeavoring to make the community a better one for all concerned.”
As this year’s recipient, Pappas will join the ranks of fellow businessmen and women who have been honored over the past 10 years. Past winners include Dr. Leonard Berger of the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, who was the first to receive the award, Bill Ochse of The Kite Loft, Lauren Taylor of the then Santa Maria Motel, Macky Stansell of Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grille, Buck Mann of Mann Properties, Hal Glick of then Moore, Warfield & Glick, Jay Knerr of The Kite Loft, Anne Marie Dickerson of The Francis Scott Key Motel and Terry Hough of Home Seal Services, Inc.
The recipient is chosen each year based upon a few criteria. The recipient is required to have worked in Greater Ocean City, the 10th election district, for some part of his or her life and must have operated or is currently operating a reputable and successful business. The recipient must also be someone who demonstrates a commitment and dedication to the promotion of Greater Ocean City and has demonstrated a desire and dedication to the enhancement of the area.
Pappas was among the many businessmen and woman nominated this year. Dean Langrall and Patricia Ilczuk-Lavanceau, with Comcast Spotlight, nominated Pappas.
“Based on his nomination, the committee felt that Steve stood out from the other nominees in terms of his broad and continuous promotion of Ocean City and commitment to the community,” said Melanie Pursel, executive director of the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce.
As for Pappas, he couldn’t be more thrilled.
“It’s tremendous, it’s truly a great honor,” Pappas said. “It’s a great award and I am truly honored. … It was a really great surprise.”
Pappas is the owner of the Greene Turtle and has been greatly involved in the town. Pappas has spent time on the Board of Zoning Appeals as well as spending five or six years as a Board of Directors member of the Chamber of Commerce.
“My true passion though is youth athletics,” Pappas said.
Pappas came to the area when he attended Salisbury University, where he played and later coached lacrosse. Originally from east Baltimore, he spent his youth falling in love with sports and spending as much time as he could on the fields and on the courts. When he moved to Ocean City, he knew he wanted to become involved in helping organized sports grow in the town. Since that time, Pappas has become involved in coaching youth lacrosse and soccer and encouraging Ocean City’s youth to become involved in sports. “I try to give back through coaching,” he said.
In a time where video games and computers are drawing kids inside and away from sports, and in a town where the beach can often distract kids from wanting to be on the fields or on the courts, Pappas is working to instill the passion for sports and teamwork into the youth.
“We’re trying to get kids outside and active,” he said.
As a result, Pappas has become heavily involved in the Ocean City Recreation Department.
“The rec department is another big passion of mine,” he said. “They do a great job.”