People’s Choice Awards
Each year, the Community Foundation recognizes the unsung heroes in our community, people who give generously and unselfishly of their time, talents and abilities to improve the quality of life in Washington County. Since 2000, we have honored 48 individuals and two couples.
In 2016, the People’s Choice Awards evolved and now makes four awards: Nonprofit Shining Star Award, PCA Nonprofit Award, Rising Star Award (added in 2013) and one PCA Volunteer Award. In addition to honoring these individuals and nonprofit organizations, the Community Foundation established a $5,000 endowment fund in recognition of the PCA Nonprofit and PCA Volunteer winners. We also made a contribution to the Nonprofit Shining Star’s organization and the Young Philanthropist’s Fund in honor of the Rising Star winner.
The winners of the 2017 People’s Choice Awards are as follows:
Nonprofit Shining Star Award
Deb Cohill received this year’s Nonprofit Shining Star Award based on her engagement in the community and the advancements she has made at Interfaith Service Coalition of Hancock, MD. Interfaith is a cooperative effort between churches of the greater Hancock area that coordinates community outreach and support in times of need or emergency. Deb has served as executive director since 1998. She runs Interfaith’s food bank and second hand store, deals with energy needs and rent delinquencies, aids in literacy programming, operates a home for disaster victims, helps special needs youth with employment, coordinates youth dances and pool parties with alcohol and drug awareness messages and runs a summer adventure camp for needy children. Deb also organizes many local events, such as the Christmas Tree lighting and National Night Out for police. “Our community is so much richer with Debbie’s leadership and would be truly lost without it. Her dedication and dreams and commitment to helping others has made Interfaith part of the lifeblood of our community. Services that would never have been realized by existing county organizations, due to our remote location, are shared on a daily basis for so many who suffer and need,” said Dan Murphy. Watch Deb’s video courtesy of WDVM.
People’s Choice Nonprofit Award
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, MD (BBBS) is this year’s recipient of the People’s Choice Nonprofit Award. Over the past few years, the organization has seen a 14% growth in the number of kids served due to strategic volunteer recruitment, which has averaged 34 new volunteer applications a year. BBBS also created several successful volunteer recruitment partnerships with Hub Labels, First Data and Springfield Middle School. Over the past year, BBBS has updated their policies and procedures to maximize the impact of one-to-one mentoring relationships by providing a more informative pre-match orientation and training for Bigs, Littles and parents to better clarify their roles and responsibilities. In addition, they implemented a more formal process for setting goals for the match, and strengthened the ongoing match support to enhance the attainment of their goals and ensure child safety. These changes have improved the service provision and helped BBBS better fulfill their mission. They have also increased their fundraising efforts by implementing new strategies in their overall development plan. Their Bowl for Kids’ Sake has grown over the past five years, raising more than $90,000 the past two years. Check out this video from WDVM on Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Rising Star Award
The Rising Star Award honors someone aged 25-40 who demonstrates a commitment to the Washington County community through volunteer service and financial support. This year’s Rising Star winner Sam Buhrman supports many local organizations. As a graduate of Leadership Washington County’s (LWC) Class 28 (Class of 2015), Sam serves as co-chairman of the alumni committee and helped raise substantial funds for LWC’s 30th Anniversary. He has contributed financially to LWC on both a personal level and as a sponsor on behalf of Orrstown Bank. Sam is also an active member of the United Way of Washington County Campaign Committee and serves on the Family Healthcare of Hagerstown Board. He volunteers for many events, such as the Discovery Station Superhero 5k and the Hagerstown-Washington County CVB Fireball Run. Sam graduated from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania with a marketing degree. He works at Orrstown Bank in Hagerstown as the branch executive officer. “The Washington County community is lucky to have Sam as a volunteer of his time and a financial supporter of several local nonprofits. His service, both financially and as a volunteer, is invaluable to the LWC organization,” said Kelsey Lorman.
People’s Choice Volunteer Award
The People’s Choice Volunteer Award recognizes one individual in the community who gives unselfishly of their time and talents to Washington County. The Community Foundation received approximately two dozen nominations who were voted on by an independent panel of judges. This year’s winner, Jackie Fouche, has volunteered since 1978 for the Mount Hope Prison Ministry, a nonprofit, Christian ministry that shares the Gospel with men and women behind bars, offers assistance upon release and ministers to their families. She has served this nonprofit in a variety of capacities, including grading bible lessons, preparing and mailing newsletters, answering inmate questions and supervising other volunteers. Jackie also spent many years volunteering with the AFL-CIO, serving on the committee on political education for both the Central Maryland AFL-CIO and the Baltimore AFL-CIO Labor Councils. “Jackie has always been willing to help wherever she’s needed. To see a 91 year old who is passionate about volunteering and helping others is a powerful example. This world would be a better place if there were more people like Jackie!” said Wanda Singleton. Learn more about Jackie in her video from WDVM.
The Community Foundation appreciates the generous support of the following businesses that help make the People’s Choice Awards possible: Antietam Wealth Management; BB&T; The Family Heritage Trust Company; Douglas A. Fiery Funeral Home; First Energy Foundation (Potomac Edison); The Hershey-Fitzsimmons Group of RBC Wealth Management; M&T Bank; Mason Investment Advisory Services, Inc., William Dutton Family Fund; Fulton Financial Advisors; Marshfield Associates; Herald-Mail Media; Valley Mall and WDVM.
Nonprofit Shining Star Award: Jodie Ostoich
People’s Choice Nonprofit Award: Humane Society of Washington County
Rising Star Award: Kelsi Palmer
People’s Choice Volunteer Award: Will Godwin, Therapeutic Gardens at the Western Maryland Hospital Center
*As three honorees chose to benefit the Community Free Clinic, the name of this fund has been changed to the Community Free Clinic People’s Choice Awards Fund. Five honorees have chosen REACH, and thus five $5,000 gifts have been made to the existing REACH Endowment.