People’s Choice Awards

Each year, the Community Foundation holds the People’s Choice Awards to recognize and celebrate individuals in the community who give generously of their time and talents to make Washington County a better place to live.

2022’s 23rd Annual People’s Choice Awards celebrated the good work of three People’s Choice Volunteer of the Year Award winners and one Rising Star winner. In addition to honoring these individuals, the Community Foundation created a $5,000 designated endowment fund in honor of each Volunteer winner and contributed $1,000 to the charities of the Rising Star Award winner.

The Community Foundation of Washington County MD, Inc. awarded four individuals during their 23rd Annual People’s Choice Awards, which took place over the span of four individual receptions, each honoring one recipient. Three individuals were honored from with Volunteer Awards and another was awarded the Rising Star Award.

The prestigious Volunteer Award honors individuals from the community who give generously of their time and talents to make Washington County a better place to live. In addition, the Community Foundation will establish $5,000 endowment funds in each winner’s name for the local nonprofit of their choice.

The Rising Star award honors an individual from the community who demonstrates a commitment to volunteer service. In their honor, a $1,000 contribution is made to the charity (or charities) of their choosing.


The 2022 Volunteer Award recipients are:

Becky Hein:

Hein, 70, is an active, dedicated, and vital member of organizations that serve our community like the Literacy Council of Washington County, Habitat for Humanity, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and Katie’s Cupboard.

Program Director for Habitat Jessica Scott says that Becky is “a go-to crew leader who is as consistent and dependable as they come. In a community that has an ongoing need for affordable housing, Becky’s people skills combined with her skills as a builder are invaluable.”

“She is a positive energy within the food pantry as well as within the church. She is always upbeat and willing to take on a challenge no matter how difficult. She is a beautiful example of a woman of faith and draws upon that faith to teach, comfort and inspire others,” says Kathy Witman who runs Katie’s Cupboard, a food pantry out of Benevola United Methodist Church in Boonsboro, Md.

“We feel honored to be able to serve the community and what we do each day supporting the nonprofits and the work you’re doing,” said Community Foundation President & CEO Stacey Crawford.

“I just enjoy doing what I do. Mom and Dad taught me early on to give to others, and I took my first volunteer mission trip when I was 10 and I haven’t stopped since. I just keep on doing volunteer missions in all kinds of different ways,” says Hein.

In addition, the Community Foundation has established a $5,000 endowment fund which Hein has titled Literacy Council of Washington County Fund, which will benefit the Literacy Council’s mission of helping to provide adults with free basic education and English language learning services including GED, ESL, non and low-level readers, and basic math.

Anita Kay:

Kay, 70, a former teacher at various Washington County public schools for 39 years, has been an active volunteer with the Commission on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program since 2012. She also volunteers for Hagerstown Community College, and many other organizations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, Anita helped to make friendly check-in calls and delivered 30-pound bags of food and hygienic supplies (like toilet paper, soap, hand sanitzers) to vulnerable seniors.

“Not only does volunteering help improve the lives of others, it also helps the volunteer stay active, mentally positive, and keeps the brain cells healthy,” said Kay.

Commission on Aging Guardianship Care Manager Susan Hurd said, emotionally, “we need more people like Anita in our communities. She’s such a good friend to everybody… We are thrilled, and blessed to know her.”

Regarding the newly-created Anita Kay Commission on Aging Fund, Community Foundation President & CEO Stacey Crawford added, “this endowment will provide support to the Commission on Aging, in perpetuity, in Anita’s name, so that every year, they’ll get a check.”

“It’s like an awakening. You just don’t know the need that’s out there, you know? And I enjoy it,” exclaimed Anita while receiving her award.

In her honor, the Community Foundation created a $5,000 endowment fund, which she’s chosen to title the Anita Kay Commission on Aging Fund.

Richard Willson:

Willson, 75, a former employee of the Hagerstown Housing Authority, is known for his lifelong volunteerism, particularly with Hagerstown Area Religious Council (HARC), the League of Women Voters, John Wesley United Methodist Church, the Washington County Commission on Aging, Interfaith Housing Alliance, and many more. He is also a founding member of cornerstones like Holly Place and Reach of Washington County.

HARC Executive Director Kathy Powderly says “if he can help, he will. He’s really been a blessing. Whenever you ask him for help, he’s there and he does it so quietly. He’s contributed to so many thousands of people in this community.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing, it doesn’t matter if you’re tired, you’re here. What we do is hard, but so meaningful. I’ve never seen Richard lose his temper… and that really means a lot because we are all human. You have people here not on their best day, mentally ill, or addicted, and his calm demeanor is appreciated very much,” added Reach of Washington County Executive Director Jeannie Asbury.

“Richard being as humble as he is, has decided that he would like to have a bigger impact by adding $5,000 to the already established Reach endowment fund,” said Community Foundation President & CEO Stacey Crawford.

“I thank you very much, this is a tad on the embarrassing side to be placed in the spotlight like this, but I think it is the relationships and the way we work with one another that can produce something bigger than any one person,” said Willson.

In his honor, the Community Foundation has ensured that the $5,000 that would have gone towards the creation of a new endowment fund, was deposited into the existing Reach Endowment Fund, per Richard’s wishes.

The 2022 Rising Star Award winner is:

Erin Clark:

Clark is a fervent volunteer for organizations United Way of Washington County, Humane Society of Washington County, Leadership Washington County, youth athletics, Smithsburg athletics fundraising, her kids’ PTA, and more. A Mount St. Mary’s graduate, she’s also a successful audit manager employed by SEK CPAs & Advisors, and a GLOW mentor for Washington County Public Schools Education Foundation, where she teaches financial literacy classes to local high school students.

Two organizations were chosen by Clark to receive an equal portion of the $1,000 awarded: United Way of Washington County, and Humane Society of Washington County.


2021 Winners

Volunteer Awards:
Carol Brashears
Dave and Sue Dorsey
Paulie Ward
Rising Star Award:
Zane Schreiber

2020 Winners

Volunteer Awards:
Jamie Blackwood
Brent Feight
Carrol Lourie
Rising Star Award:
Stephanie Nalley

2019 Winners

Volunteer Awards:
Evelyn Eichelberger
Paul Kadin
Ira “Junior” Moats
Rising Star Award:
Kandace Carpenter

2018 Winners

Nonprofit Shining Star Award: Buck Browning
People’s Choice Nonprofit Award: Washington County Commission on Aging
Rising Star Award: Cort Meinelschmidt
People’s Choice Volunteer Award: June Datum, June Datum Endowment Fund for the Maryland Theatre

2017 Winners

Nonprofit Shining Star Award: Deb Cohill
People’s Choice Nonprofit Award: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County
Rising Star Award: Sam Buhrman
People’s Choice Volunteer Award: Jackie Fouche, Mount Hope Prison Ministry Endowment Fund

2016 Winners

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

2015 Winners

Blanton Croft, Meals on Wheels
Ernest Truax, Hancock Rescue Squad
Gary Weaver, Big Brothers Big Sisters

2014 Winners

Sue Fiedler, Meritus Healthcare Auxiliary
Barb Jacob, The Maryland Theatre
Bette Nicholas, St. Ann Roman Catholic Church
Rising Star: Heather Guessford

2013 Winners

B. Marie Byers, Discovery Station
Darce Easton, Miller House
Richard Schnurr, Potomac Center Volunteer Association
Rising Star: Brenna Bacon Ranieli

2012 Winners

James Marshall, REACH, Inc.
Ronald Wayne Taylor, HCC Amphitheater
Noel Williams, Williamsport Interact

2011 Winners

Patricia Beard, Discovery Station
Charles Koontz, DeafNet
Robert “Buck” Shipley, Habitat for Humanity

2010 Winners

William Bulla, REACH, Inc.
Dan and Debbie Murphy, Hancock Christmas for Others
Ernest “Bub” Snodderly, Potomac Center Volunteer Association

2009 Winners

Dr. Dan McDougal, Community Free Clinic*
Howard Rockwell, Rockwell Fund for Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland Valley
Beth Stouffer, Doleman Black History Museum Endowment Fund

2008 Winners

Rev. Janice Dorsey, Bill Dorsey Scholarship for BISFA
J. Gilbert Everline, Hagerstown Union Rescue Mission
Jerry Overdorff, Habitat for Humanity

2007 Winners

William K. “Bill” Beard, Home Ramp Project Fund
Daniel Fleming, Hancock Scouting Fund
Blaine Snyder, Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum

2006 Winners

Anna Mary Kline, Williamsport Food Bank
Sharon Mattingly, Funkstown Elementary PTA
Robert McCusker, Hancock Historical Society

2005 Winners

Hugh Brandenburg, Western Maryland Hospital Auxiliary
John Long, Humane Society of Washington County
Rollan “Ron” Myers, The ARC of Washington County

2004 Winners

N. Linn Hendershot, Many Individuals Helping Individuals (MIHI)
Anne Hinkle, Western Maryland Hospital Auxiliary
James and Ethel Martin, REACH, Inc.*

2003 Winners

Florence Hill Graff, Community Free Clinic*
Janet Newcomer, Community Free Clinic*
Connie Pauley, Turning Point

2002 Winners

Vivian Hackman, REACH Fund for the Homeless*
William H. “Mac” McClean, The ARC of Washington County
Ralph “Coach” Stottlemyer, Scholarship Fund, South High

2001 Winners

Cindi Messersmith, REACH, Inc.*
Charles Rowe, Sr., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County
Jean Wainwright, Food Resources

2000 Winners

Mildred Fiery, Girls, Inc. & Western Maryland Hospital
Dorothy Truax, Clear Spring Elementary PTA
Betty Willson, Social Help 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.