LA PLATA, Md. (June 6, 2016)—For six years, the College of Southern Maryland's Nonprofit Institute (NPI) has been offering a day-long event that offers education, collaboration and information for the nonprofit organizations across Southern Maryland. This year, the institute added to that event by honoring some of the most giving and dedicated volunteers in the region.
Nonprofit organizations that are members of NPI were asked to name their best volunteer, and the result was 17 honorees being recognized at the annual conference on April 29. Of those 17, Lexington Park resident Herb Bailey was named Volunteer of the Year because he had logged the most volunteer hours, 1,400, while volunteering at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum.
Amy Houle Caruso is the volunteer coordinator at the museum, and said Herb and volunteers like him make it possible for the museum to be a unique experience. Bailey was a mechanic in the military and during his career had worked on versions of many of the aircraft on display at the museum. Caruso said the docents at the museum are often retired military members and they are as excited to see the museum displays as the visitors.
"You get a different experience in a museum where there is someone there who can really talk about it like Herb can," Caruso said. "It makes the experience more engaging."
Barbara Ives, CSM's director of Strategic Partnerships, said NPI was excited to try a new format for its annual conference, and it was beneficial for the institute and the organizations it serves. Recognizing the dedicated volunteers who serve nonprofits meant more people became aware of the institute, and the organizations got a chance to honor the people who help them operate on a daily basis.
"It gave the honorees both regional recognition and state recognition from the governor's office," Ives said. "It's very rare that you can thank people in this type of venue, and we were able to formally recognize them for their hard work."
The annual conference is designed to be helpful and educational, a one-day event for nonprofits to gather and share their experiences, whether they wish to talk about successes or failures. A TED Talk-style panel brought together several organizations that were able to talk about their efforts.
"They talked about what's been working, and what didn't work. It was another perspective on how nonprofit projects can be done," Ives said.
The theme for this year's conference was "The Power of Connection," with a focus on the significance of volunteers in the nonprofit organization.
In addition to Bailey, there were 16 other volunteers recognized at the event.
Pete Himmelheber had the second highest number of volunteer hours with nearly 1,000, working as a docent at Historic St. Mary's City. Himmelheber is a member of the group's foundation board, but also provides tours and lectures both in costume and out, and lends technical expertise, among many other duties.
Toni Foreman was honored for her volunteer work for Impact Sports and Academic Services LLC. Foreman manages and organizes the group's sports teams, mentoring and college fair events.
Galen Hall was honored for his work as lead volunteer at Our Place Waldorf soup kitchen. Hall manages and trains volunteers at the kitchen.
Susan Vogel was honored for her work as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Leadership Southern Maryland. Vogel fits in her LSM volunteer work with serving several other nonprofit organizations in Southern Maryland.
April Ford was nominated for her work as advocate on behalf of a foster care youth for CASA of Southern Maryland, a program of the Center for Children.
Whitney Okoe was honored for being a mentor to local and high school students and overseeing a Step Club at Great Mills High School. She volunteers for the St. Mary's College of Maryland College Ambassador Connection.
Marie Bottoms was honored for her work as a volunteer mediator for the Charles County Community Mediation Center at CSM.
Pete Williams was honored for his work as a community relations officers at VConnections, Inc., an organization that works to help Southern Maryland veterans and their families.
Carolyn "Cookie" Nichting was honored for her work as a volunteer supporter for the Center for Children Inc.
Sue Myers was honored for her work as board president and mediator of Community Mediation of St. Mary's County.
Angela Thompson was honored for her work as the top teen advisor for the Southern Maryland Chapter of the Top Ladies of Distinction Inc.
Dan Sansbury was honored for his work as treasurer of Health Partners, Inc.
Ken Gentry was honored for his work helping the Greenwell Foundation with a project called Camp Host Homes, an initiative to build two non-traditional homes for displaced veterans to live in while re-establishing their lives.
Diana Raynor was honored for her volunteer work as first vice president; senior citizen committee chair; and community beautification co-chair with the organization Top Ladies of Distinction Inc.
Robert Aldridge was honored for his volunteer work on the Garden Guild of the Sotterley Plantation.
Janet Simmons was honored for her work for Top Ladies of Distinction Inc. and the National Security Executives and Professionals Association.
For photos from the event, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/2016npi.
For more information about the Nonprofit Institute at the College of Southern Maryland, visit www.csmd.edu/community/institutes/nonprofit-institute/.