Chinn Posthumously Given Wilkinson Volunteer Award

BERLIN — Ralph Chinn was a ubiquitous volunteer in Worcester County for many years, working both with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean City-Ocean Pines, and with the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department.

On Saturday, Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Director Debbie Donahue posthumously named Chinn as the recipient of the 2022 Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award.

Donahue said Chinn was a dear friend who always helped, and always listened.

“If you needed a volunteer, he was always there,” she said. “No matter what I asked him to do, no matter what it was for – if it was cleaning the kitchen, cleaning the flattop, reading a book to my kids – it really didn’t matter. He was always in here, helping us doing whatever was needed.”

She said Chinn volunteered in the food pantry at a local church and helped prepare their holiday meals and aided with bingo events.

“For 25 years, Ralph was a proud, active member of Kiwanis,” Donahue said. “There, he was involved in running the club and served as president … he served [on the] board of directors [and] he found time to be an advisor to many club presidents over the years.”

Donahue said Chinn volunteered during Kiwanis events that coincided with Ocean Pines Community Center events.

“You could find him all the time making pancakes in the kitchen. And if you never had one of Ralph’s pancakes, you missed out,” she said. “He did all of our events – our Breakfast with Santa and our Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. He was also at all the hot dog sales, spaghetti dinners, Concerts in the Park, boardwalk car raffles, and Salvation Army [events].”

Donahue said he also made pancakes during a special annual breakfast for Recreation and Parks staff.

“That was just on him – it was not part of the Kiwanis. He wanted to do that for all that we had done for him,” she said. “He also made sure that we were in compliance [and] everything was good to go with the health department. He would come in very early in the morning to make sure everything was ready to go.

“And we spent a lot of time sitting in my office talking about a lot of different things,” Donahue continued. “He was a very, very dear friend of mine. Unfortunately, Mr. Chinn is not able to be here, because he passed suddenly.”

Donahue said the 2022 award was already slated for Chinn, before his passing last August.

“So, we went ahead and decided that, even though he couldn’t be with us, we were still going to give it to him,” she said, adding she would accept the award on his behalf and make sure his widow, Wilma, received it.

“I loved him dearly,” Donahue said.

Since 2003, the Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award has recognized local people who dedicate their time and talents to help others.

The award also honors the memory of its namesake, 8-year-old Sam Wilkinson, who died in a tragic water accident in Ocean City.

Sam played soccer in Ocean Pines and his father, Bob, was a volunteer coach for Ocean Pines Recreation programs. The award was established to recognize a volunteer within the Recreation and Parks Department.