SNOW HILL– The Worcester County Commissioners honored a local resident last week for her efforts to assist the unemployed during the pandemic.
The commissioners last Tuesday presented a commendation to Pat Schrawder, district representative for Sen. Mary Beth Carozza, for her efforts to assist more than 2,000 residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties in securing unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
“It was an unbelievable effort by one person to help thousands of people here,” Commissioner Josh Nordstrom said.
The commissioners said last week they wanted to thank Schrawder for her role in providing assistance to Eastern Shore residents during the height of COVID-19. Nordstrom said she helped thousands navigate the often-confusing state and federal assistance programs during a critical time. Carozza echoed his praise and said Schrawder was dedicated to serving the greater good.
“Pat Schrawder epitomizes servant leadership,” she said.
While area residents were struggling to adapt to lost jobs, school closures and health concerns, Schrawder listened to their concerns and did what she could to help. She said she was shocked by the array of ways the pandemic affected people’s lives.
“As I talked to them I realized the width and breadth of the problems people were facing…,” Schrawder said. “I was hearing from older people who had worked 50 years and never applied for unemployment.”
She said they didn’t understand the terminology and in many cases didn’t even have a computer they could use to submit the required online application.
“We had young families that were living paycheck to paycheck and suddenly there’s no paycheck,” she recalled. “They were panicked, they were scared. I’d find myself trying to direct them to food shelters and they didn’t want to go, they were embarrassed. They’d never done that before.”
As the pandemic continued, the concerns changed. Eventually Schrawder began hearing from employers who couldn’t find people to work. At that point she started advising those she was helping with unemployment claims about the openings.
“It has been a learning experience,” Schrawder said. “It was very often frustrating, sometimes quite overwhelming, but on those days when you got the email from somebody saying thank you, that was a very good day.”
Schrawder assisted more than 2,100 Lower Shore residents with securing unemployment benefits during the pandemic.