Berlin Chamber Changes
BERLIN – Some personnel changes are coming to the Berlin Chamber of Commerce and some shuffling of positions will occur.
On Nov. 2, Chamber President Steve Frene began to transition to the deputy director’s position currently held by Nicky Chavis. Due to a full-time career opportunity, Chavis will step down from her paid part time position with the chamber, but assume the role of treasurer at the end of the year, when current Treasurer Brian Robertson’s term expires.
Mike Queen, owner of Rayne’s Reef, will become the new chamber president. Executive Director Larnet St. Amant as well as several other board members will continue to serve.
Frene, who recently retired with his wife Debbie when they sold Victorian Charm, has been a Berlin chamber member, Board of Directors officer, and event chairman for many years. Prior to joining his wife in business, he had a 25-year career in radio advertising sales and is a resident of Berlin.
“The part time Deputy Director’s position has been a hard one to fill over the years,” St. Amant said. “We’ve had some very talented people but they eventually leave when they find full-time employment. As a recently retired person and someone who brings a lot of business and marketing experience to this job, Steve is perfect for the position.”
The Berlin Chamber has also just invested in a new software system called Chamber Master, an internet-based platform that helps nonprofit organizations in a variety of capacities including membership, sponsorships, events, social media, member directories and a fully integrated website.
Nurse Practitioner Added
BERLIN – Atlantic General Hospital and Health System officials recently announced a new family nurse practitioner has joined the health system’s Ocean View, Del. primary care office to care for adults and children alongside Kieran Py, MD.
Danielle Imparato, FNP-C, earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing, graduating summa cum laude, from Thomas Jefferson College of Nursing in Philadelphia. She is board certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Imparato is currently accepting new patients.
Finance Positions Filled
SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico have appointed new deputy finance directors to fill vacancies in two county departments.
The Wicomico County Council voted unanimously to appoint Charles Schmechel as the county’s new deputy director of finance.
Schmechel – a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner – recently relocated to Wicomico County from Colorado. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he holds degrees in accounting and political science with a minor in ethics.
“His prior employment has provided him significant experience with governmental accounting, auditing, financial reporting and forensics, which will be strong assets to the County,” Acting County Executive John Psota said in a statement this month.
Schmechel’s appointment comes months after the legislative branch urged the executive office to fill the position, left vacant since the retirement of former Deputy Finance Director John Ellis.
The council also appointed Katie Rouse as the deputy director of finance for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism.
Rouse – a member of the recreation, parks and tourism department since 2016 – previously served as finance officer and Wicomico Youth & Civic Center manager. She received a degree in accounting from Salisbury University and is a certified public accountant.
“Katie’s experience and commitment to the mission of the Department will be extremely valuable as we navigate the many budget challenges associated with COVID-19,” Psota said.
Annual Meeting Held
SALISBURY – The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore honored four award recipients and celebrated annual grant-making efforts at its virtual Annual Meeting and Report to the Community on Nov. 12. The foundation celebrated a total of $5.5 million in grants made in fiscal year 2020, including more than $539,000 in scholarships to local students.
“While 2020 has been unique to say the least, for every challenge that demanded we be creative, nimble, and resilient we were joined by others who were willing to adapt and respond to needs in our community, and for that we are so thankful,” said CFES President Erica Joseph. “The continued generosity of time, talent, and financial resources within our small, rural region demonstrates that philanthropy is an intrinsic value in our community.”
The Mary Gladys Jones Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Shawna Kearsley for her many years of dedicated service to others and passionate volunteerism. Kearsley brings energy and joy to each situation as she works to connect people and organizations to better her community, always out on the front line, shoulder to shoulder with other volunteers. When faced with a challenge, she doesn’t step back, but steps up and seeks solutions. She was a Team Leader for the National Folk Festival Bucket Brigade in 2018 & 2019, tasked with recruiting, training, and leading hundreds of volunteers to gather on-site donations during the 3-day festival. Her current projects include, the Crisfield Community Gardens, video-casts of local events, leading the Crisfield Steering Committee on the Local Food Federal Assistance Grant, and coordinating support for the Somerset County Summer Arts & Education Series. She is a board member for the Minds in Motion Children’s Museum, The Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, and serves as executive director for the Crisfield Arts Syndicate. For her dedication to making her community a better place Kearsley will receive a $1,000 gift to designate to the charity of her choice.
The Nonprofit Award of Excellence honoring Richard A. Henson was awarded to Operation We Care. Founded in 2007 by Jeff and Diana Merritt, Operation We Care is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to supporting our military and first responders and understands the value of demonstrating gratitude to those who keep our communities safe. Their efforts include annually sending over 2,000 care packages to deployed military troops around the world, purchasing items needed by first responders like smoke detectors, K9 ballistic vests, PPE, and other supplies and equipment needed. Operation We Care works to show appreciation for military and first responders through events such as “Thank a Police Officer Day” where they deliver meals to every shift of every police department in the immediate service area. OWC also rallies our community together at their semi-annual “packing parties” where hundreds of volunteers assemble care packages to be sent around the world. In honor of the award, Operation We Care will receive $5,000 to support itswork.
The Frank H. Morris Humanitarian Award was awarded to Grace Murdock for her exemplary leadership, vision, integrity, compassion, and dedication to community. she has been a public servant for over 30 years, having worked as an educator, administrator, and as a community advocate. As the founder of Wicomico Grows Kindness, Grace’s vision was to facilitate the spread of kindness. Grace volunteers by making meals for neighbors in need, reading to children in classrooms, filling Operation We Care packages for our troops, mentoring college students, volunteering at Camden Community Garden, and leading the Kindness Commission for the City of Salisbury. She taught Girl Scout Troops how to create kindness keychains and has inspired One Year to Empowerment students by sharing her story about the positive impact of kindness. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Grace has shown her fellow citizens how to be kind to each other by setting up a HERO station where she encourages neighbors to participate in photo ops thanking our community heroes. In honor of the award, a $1,500 gift will be made to the charity of Murdock’s choice.
The Chairman’s Award was presented to Dr. George Whitehead III for his dedication to the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and his many community efforts. Whitehead is a passionate ambassador for the Community Foundation and has served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2016. He has also served as the Chairman of the Community Needs Grant Committee. This year as the Foundation was challenged to adapt and respond, George was an integral part of the Foundation’s COVID Response Fund, and used his time to support Foundation efforts and to collaborate and connect through CFES to meet needs in the community.