BERLIN — The nomination process for this year’s Maryland’s Most Beautiful (MMB) People Volunteer Awards has begun. The awards honor those who “reside in and represent the volunteer spirit of Worcester County.”
“We’ve had youths…seniors, groups, even couples win the award,” said Volunteer Services Manager Cyndy Howell.
The award has been going on for many years under different headings, but has remained the same at its core. According to Howell, the MMB award is both popular and competitive within the county, with at least 25 to 30 nominations being entered every year. The nomination consists of an application, which is available at any county library or by contacting volunteer services, and a written essay explaining how the applicant embodies the spirit of charity.
“We ask that they limit it [the essays] to 300 words,” said Howell. “Otherwise, we can get pages.”
The definition of a “charitable spirit” is very loose in regards to the MMB.
“It can be in any arena,” Howell remarked.
The one thing all of the applicants have in common is a record of giving back to the community by donating time, money or services to those less fortunate than themselves.
“There is not enough thanks out there for all work volunteers do,” asserted Howell.
While most counties have similar programs and awards, Howell claimed that Worcester’s one of the standout places in the state in regards to volunteer work and recognition.
“Most people are just getting on the volunteer bandwagon,” she said, attributing much of Worcester’s success in the field to initiatives begun more than a decade ago by Sonny Bloxom, the current county attorney, and Gerald Mason, chief administrative officer for Worcester. “They were very visionary,” said Howell.
Because of Worcester’s special commitment to volunteerism, the county has numerous programs in place that others do not.
Howell did point out that the MMB could be paradoxical at times, as many volunteers throughout the county baulk at stepping into the spotlight and receiving acclaim for their work.
“The majority don’t do it for self-recognition,” she asserted.
However, Howell encourages volunteers and those who know them to nominate someone for the award since personal examples of charity will often lead others to follow suit.