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37th Annual Governor’s Service Awards Recipients

Thank you to the thousands of Marylanders who celebrated the Governor’s Service Awards Honorees with us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube! You can always stayed inspired by the 2020 Honorees by clicking any of these links, or by reading about them below.

Watch the 37th Annual Governor’s Service Awards – Kick Off Video from Governor Hogan and Closing Remarks from First Lady Yumi Hogan.

Pandemic Response Champion Feed the Kids (Cecil)

Feed the Kids is an incredible community started as a Facebook group by three Cecil County residents recognizing the hardship faced by families who relied on school lunches, but lacked the transportation to reach the meal distribution sites. The program was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Pandemic Response Champion category. 

The three founding members rallied the community and connected with the school system, and overnight launched the “Feed the Kids Spring 2020” initiative. The nominator stated, “In a time of uncertainty, one thing was certain- when the community needs to pull together, they do so without hesitation and with a generous spirit.” Over 100 volunteers signed up within the first weeks to coordinate routes and volunteer schedules. A true collaborative effort was formed between  the Cecil County Public Schools, the Cecil County Public School Food and Nutrition Department, educators, local organizations and community members. 

Each week, 320 children are served by 15-20 volunteers, and they still continue. Feed the Kids is a true testament to both the great need and hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also the strength and resilience of our communities rising up. 

“During a time of self-isolation due to COVID-19, Feed the Kids created not only a way to serve children in need–they created community. Feed the Kids offered residents a simple way to give back during a time of crisis and disconnection. And they did it without ego, without applause. One of the volunteers, who also works at a county middle school, summed up their mission: ‘These are my kids. I just wanted to continue to serve them.’

Jessica Berstler, one of the volunteers behind Feed the Kids, shows others in a recent meeting the Governor’s Citation the group was awarded, (Cecil Whig).

Read Cecil Whig’s Governor’s Service Awards interview of Feed the Kids.

Pandemic Response Champion Maryland Food Bank (Statewide)

The Maryland Food Bank is a nonprofit hunger-relief organization dedicated to feeding people, strengthening communities, and ending hunger for more Marylanders by partnering with local organizations from the western mountains to the Eastern Shore. The organization was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Pandemic Response Champion category. 

Maryland Food Bank distributed enough food to provide 35 MILLION meals to Marylanders in need. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland Food Bank has adapted their services to meet the 96% increase in demand over last year; in other words, the need has nearly doubled. Due to necessary safety regulations, disruptions in supply chains, and other factors, the cost to purchase this food has increased more than four times. The Maryland Food Bank, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has provided nearly 500,000 Grab & Go meals to kids and their families, distributed roughly 223,000 Back Up Boxes, and hosted nearly 2,500 Pantry On The Go events across the state.

 To learn more about the Maryland Food Bank, visit

Watch their Governor’s Service Awards video here.

Pandemic Response Champion Older Adults Feeding Program (Baltimore City)

Photo: The last day at Lot C, the Senior Feeding Program’s distribution site. From April 27th to August 20th , agency representatives, program coordinators and volunteers would meet here before heading out to deliver the meals.

The Older Adults Feeding Program is a volunteer-driven operation created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a component of The Salvation Army. In collaboration and partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department’s Division of Aging (the LEAN Campaign), Baltimore City Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Aging Maryland Access Point (MAP) a large-scale feeding operation was designed to provide up to 10,000 meals a day to vulnerable seniors independently and across the 145 senior living facilities and residential housing within Baltimore City. 

Nearly 1 MILLION meals were delivered with a couple thousand volunteer hours. Volunteers ranged from community members who joined a handful of times, those that made volunteering a part of their everyday lives, and the dedicated service of the Maryland National Guard. The nominator stated, “None of this positive community impact could have been achieved without our neighbors stepping up to the call for action. Our volunteers embodied The Salvation Army’s pillars: passion, compassion, bravery, uplifting, and trustworthiness.”

“Regardless of weather conditions, time conflicts or logistical hiccups, they would report early, put on their PPEs and serve.

Do you want to volunteer with The Salvation Army? Visit here, today. 

Willis Howell, Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army Southern territory, speaking with a housing manager during his delivery run on his visit to Baltimore City.

Volunteers check-in and wait for vehicles to line up at Lot C, Camden Yard Sporting Complex.

The Maryland National Guard were an integral part of the operation during its first month. They would assemble in two lines, loading the meals in all the vehicles.

During an unprecedented time, the 48 ft refrigerated freight trailer, courtesy of Perdue Chicken, labelled with the Salvation Army’s motto serves as a beacon of hope and a calling for all those who drove by M&T Bank Stadium. We are grateful for the Maryland Stadium Authority’s generosity, allowing us to stage the relief effort in Lot C.

I do not know if you want to remove this picture. Upon closer examination, the gentleman took off his mask to speak on the phone. Regardless, “The Maryland National Guard preparing for the meal run”

No amount of rain would deter the program from accomplishing its mission of delivering the meals to the most vulnerable neighbors.

Justin, one of the returning volunteers, enthusiastically in line passing meal boxes to load up the vehicles.

Volunteers organizing and allocating meals to meet the specific number of residents in each housing facility.

Lifetime Achievement Honoree Glenn Porter (Harford)

Glenn Porter is a retired Harford County educator, and was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Lifetime Achievement category. For the past 35 years he has volunteered with the Friends of Jerusalem Mill, an all-volunteer non-profit public charity, to preserve and present Maryland’s rich history in the oldest, most intact mill village in the state. 

Glenn plays an active role in a year-round living history program that offers visitors a variety of ways to witness Maryland’s industrial and cultural heritage. The programs developed under Glenn’s leadership have attracted an estimated 800,000 visitors over the last 25 years hailing from every state and 42 other countries. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors for 25 years as a board member, Secretary, Vice President and President. He has been the Education Coordinator for 20 years, developing and presenting special programs to 600-800 students who visit the village on field trips each year (approximately 14,000 students during Glenn’s tenure)! For the past 13 years he has led a group participating in the Maryland Adopt-A-Highway program. He recruits helpers, provides the materials, and personally participates in the cleanup on a regular basis. 

Glenn’s insistence on accuracy and authenticity as the organization portrays Maryland’s history to visitors of all ages, ethnicity, genders, heritage, etc. has been an inspiration to the historic interpreters of the Friends of Jerusalem Mill. His enthusiasm is contagious, and is easily reflected on the many visitors that he meets.

Glenn Porter greeting school children in front of Jerusalem Mill.

Glenn telling the children how gunstocks were made and rifles assembled in the village for the Maryland militia during the Revolutionary War.

Glenn telling the children how gunstocks were made and rifles assembled in the village for the Maryland militia during the Revolutionary War.

Glenn behind the counter of the 1930s General Store, describing and showing the types of wares sold in the store and explaining how the store was often used as a social gathering place, and in the case of Jerusalem Mill Village the general store also served as the local post office.

Lifetime Achievement Honoree Luther Shepherd (Wicomico)

Luther Shepherd is a VIPPS (Very Important Person in Police Services) and was selected  for the Governor’s Service Award in the Lifetime Achievement category.

In 2003, being a police officer or Trooper was very different than 2020. Citations, warnings and the vast majority of paperwork was hand written, carbon paper was the best way to make copies of your work and a typewriter, though electric was the fastest way to get thoughts put on paper when it came to articulating an arrest. All this paperwork had to be separated, chronologically assembled and eventually disseminated throughout the legal process. “Paperless” was not in the business office vocabulary and the job took time and manpower. At that time, there was not enough manpower in a barrack to accommodate the so help was sought from the community. Then, Mr. Luther Shepherd started coming to Salisbury Barrack two to three times a week, for nearly 18 years. Prior to becoming a VIPPS (Very Important Person in Police Services) he owned his own insurance agency. He has a heart for helping people and goes above and beyond to service their needs. 

Mr. Shephard has accrued over 4,000 volunteer hours since 2003. He has completed tasks which many would say are trivial, but he surely takes pride in the jobs he takes on. Mr. Luther recalls his jobs starting out as shredding paperwork, to counting citations and warnings, to typing the “transmittal sheets” to entering BI cards. To this day, he still completes those tasks, less counting tickets and warnings and seeks to do more so administrative staff can focus on other customer service work. During the holidays, his wife makes a “to die for” fudge and he brings it in metal container boxes of the prized goodies to which many of us fight over. People volunteer for an endless variety of reasons, to gain experience, acquire new skills, meet new people or expand their network. However, Mr. Luther has noted that his volunteerism with the agency has been good for him in that it keeps him busy and the work increases his mental and physical health.

The relationship between Mr. Luther and the barrack is symbiotic in nature. By having him here, we hope that his work and comradery amongst the staff helps reduce stress, combat depression, keeps him mentally stimulated, and provides him a sense of purpose. We enjoy his visits because clearly we feel and see the sense of pride and identity. He is serious about his work, often at times softly voicing his displeasure that many do not ask more of him or provide jobs he could handle on his own. But he comes and goes with a smile, offering a cheery “good morning sir” or “see you tomorrow” and at times a quick story about his day to day activities. We are truly blessed to have Mr. Luther in our midst and that presence benefits all. 

Maryland State Police Barrack – Salisbury “E” Barrack
From Left to Right – Trooper Matthew Hughes, Lt. Christopher Davala, Mr. Luther himself!!!, F/Sgt. Michael Rickard, Cpl. Ryan Watkins

Maryland State Police Barrack – Salisbury “E” Barrack – Administrative Staffing
From Left to Right – Mrs. Betty Bell, Mrs. Deborah Pheasant, Mr. Luther himself!!!, and Mrs. Michelle Bowers
Lifetime Achievement Honoree Vivien Hsueh (Montgomery)

Vivien Hsueh is the founder of the Chinese and Cultural Community Service Center (CASSA). She was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Lifetime Achievement category. Her innovative and inclusive approach to meet the needs of seniors in Montgomery County has become a successful, all-volunteer model that fosters a rich intergenerational environment, creating community for 3,000 members and engaging 250 volunteers each year. 

It all began more than a decade ago, when Vivien Heueh recognized the overwhelming number of older first-generation Chinese immigrants isolated in their home due to lack of English proficiency, inability to drive, and knowledge regarding county services. Vivien Hsueh decided to rise up! Now, her CASSA model has created a pathway for senior volunteers to create their own events and combat social isolation and cultural barriers. As CASSA and Vivien’s passion for advocacy grew, she recognized parallels in other groups and developed the “Let’s Share” model. Her and her friend piloted this model for the South Asian community (Jai Ho), Jewish community, and she has plans to “Let’s Share” with the Latino community after the pandemic. The Jai Ho Seniors used to meet weekly for culturally enriching programs in dance, music, song, and exercise. Since the start of the pandemic, Vivien also works at distribution sites to help deliver food to county residents in need. 

Watch her Governor’s Service Awards video here.

Praise for Vivien: 

“Vivien has an uncanny ability to create volunteer opportunities for older adults in a nurturing environment, building their self-esteem, reducing isolation, and increasing wellness.” -Nominator, Odile Brunetto, Aging and Disability Services, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. 

“Montgomery County is a most welcoming and age-friendly community because of people like Vivien Hsueh. She saw the problem of isolated immigrant Chinese seniors, and did something about it, bringing happiness to thousands of Chinese seniors.” -Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive (2006-2018)

“With so many of our aging population increasingly isolated, Vivien Hsueh has created a model program. Her energy, compassion and determination demonstrate the truly innovative contribution she has made to our county.” -Irwin Goldbloom, Former Chair for the Commission on Aging, Montgomery County. 

Jai Ho Team at International Spring Festival, February 2019, North Potomac Community Center

AmeriCorps Alum Honoree Hannah Jacobs (Frederick)

Hannah Jacobs is an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Alum, and was selected for the Governor’s Service Awards in the AmeriCorps Alum category. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve as a catalyst for change, living and working alongside community members to meet our nation’s most pressing challenges and advance local solutions–lifting people out of poverty since 1965.

During her year of service with Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic, Hannah served between 40-55 hours per week. While serving as the P20 CONNECTS initiative AmeriCorps VISTA member, Hannah’s service influenced the success of 11 education programs across Maryland and Washington, D.C., which served between 25 – 1,500 unique students each. To assess their success, program data was collected from six of the most developed programs, showing students both progressing in academic grades and test scores, and developing social / emotional skills that will help them to continue their learning throughout their continued education, and into college, their career, and civic life.

Hannah clearly demonstrated outstanding service above and beyond requirements of her position. As the P20 CONNECTS VISTA member, Hannah spent considerable time discussing, reading, and understanding how effective experiential learning is applied and how it fit into her role in developing students ability to seriously consider and to become an active and knowledgeable participants in their learning. She became an elegant spokesperson for the collective research and effectiveness of the use of this learning model in multiple programs. With her understandings, she significantly influenced the 20-21 VISTA member orientation as the interim AmeriCorps VISTA Leader to address the need for clarity, vision, and application. This was reinforced by insightful responsiveness to volunteer cohort desires and institutional vision. Hannah leaves a legacy and significant expectation for those assuming her position to significantly moving the agenda of equity and the elimination of poverty forward.

Hannah Jacobs at 9/11 M Day of Service

Hannah Jacobs in CCMA Office Hannah Jacobs MLK Day of Service
Hannah Jacobs and Jim Walters Presenting at SLCE Conference

Hannah Jacobs and Sorin Miller at SLCE Conference

Emerging Leader Honoree Kevin Tu (Prince George’s)

Kevin Tu is a sophomore at the University of Maryland, and co-founder of an anonymous, peer-to-peer textline for UMD students, called Lean On Me. With thousands of hours of service dedicated to suicide prevention lifelines, a passion for mental health issues and substance abuse, Kevin Tu was selected for the Governor’s Service Awards in the Emerging Leader category.

Lean On Me is a low-barrier service for students and targets populations that are statistically less likely to seek help, such as those in certain racial minorities. Kevin has trained 38 Supporters for a textline at UMD, who will, in turn, emotionally support the UMD community of over 47,000 students.

Also, after supporting people suffering from opioid addiction on the lifeline, Kevin founded CORA, short for Combating Overdoses in Rural Areas. CORA is a nonprofit that reduces the opioid knowledge gap, resource disparities, and the stigma around opioid use. So far, they are helping 181 community partners and are projected to serve over 350,000 Marylanders in the coming year.

If you were to meet Kevin in person, what might strike you about him is that he’s filled with so much joy–he laughs easily, and it’s the kind of laugh that you can’t help but laugh along with. Kevin demonstrates an immense desire to bring that joy to others through his personal life. This manifests in smaller actions, such as him being a wonderful gift-giver, and to larger aspects: as the founder of a satirical newspaper, Lean on Me, and CORA. Kevin is an incredible older brother, and has always been a shoulder to lean on for many of his friends, me included. I want to honor him with this nomination not just because he has demonstrated incredible leadership in humanitarian service, but also because he is a wonderful friend and colleague. Those aspects of his personality are what inspired me to work towards my own dream of creating a free community-based tutoring service, and they are what continue to inspire many others besides myself to better ourselves and the Maryland community.” -Angela Sun, Nominator and Friend

Faith-Based Honoree Rev. Kendra Smith (Montgomery)

Rev. Kendra Smith serves as a Go Lead at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church. She was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Faith-Based category. Rev. Smith’s selection for this award is based on outstanding volunteer coordination and service to the families in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in a meaningful way, making a tremendous impact in their lives. 

Each weekend, Rev. Kendra Smith brings her abundance of excitement and energy to serve “as if it’s [her] first week doing it.” She has rallied groups of volunteers, leaders, inspiring staff and partners to show up week after week to meet and ensure access to food and other vital services. Her nominator praised her for her “Passion. Faith. Creativity. Vision.

Since March 2020, with her leadership, Kingdom Fellowship AME Church has provided nearly ½ MILLION POUNDS (439,725 lbs!) of free groceries to over 33,000 households at five distribution sites. Several groups of volunteers come together to distribute food items to families from different community and cultural backgrounds. On behalf of Kingdom Fellowship, Rev. Smith has formed partnerships with many community stakeholders to make the Kingdom Cares work possible including: East County Regional Services Center,  Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County Food Council, Manna Food Center, Nourish Now, Capital Area Food Bank, The TPM Group, Share Food Network, Prince George’s County Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, and East County Food Access Providers.

Watch the full Kingdom Fellowship AME “Go Ministry” Video, here or the 2-min Governor’s Service Awards Video here. Learn more about Kingdom Cares, here

First Responder Honoree Lt. David Johnson (Anne Arundel)

Lieutenant David Johnson has been a volunteer firefighter with the Odenton Volunteer Fire Company since 2013, and was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the First Responder category. Lt. Johnson demonstrated the highest level of professionalism and willingness to provide outstanding service to the fire company, the Odenton community, and the citizens of Anne Arundel County. 

Lt. Johnson is recognized throughout the organization as an exemplary leader, firefighter, and a strong proponent of training. He ensures that each member thoroughly understands the purpose of the training, the appropriate safety standards, and how teamwork is the key to accomplishing the mission. On emergency calls, David is calm and confident in leading his crew in stressful situations. He actively participates in nearly all of our fundraising events and serves on many of our committees, including Membership, Quartermaster, and Health and Fitness. David’s enthusiasm and professionalism have contributed greatly to the success of our fire company.

Lt. Johnson originally worked in the trade show industry, and in 2013 he was assigned to an exhibit for the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). There he spoke with volunteer firefighters, decided he wanted to become one, and stopped by the fire company as soon as he got home. He later found out that his uncle was a volunteer chief and his cousin was a career firefighter, and is honored to serve his community and be a part of his family’s commitment to public service. In a relatively short period of time, Lt. Johnson has become one of the most valuable members and an emerging leader.

Upon joining, David started right away in assisting with administrative functions and station duties while beginning his fire and emergency medical training. He steadily progressed from Probationary Firefighter, to Firefighter I, Hazardous Materials Operator, Emergency Medical Technician, Ambulance Driver, Firefighter II, Rescue Technician, Fire Service Instructor, Lieutenant, and Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator. David has taken a total of about 950 hours of training! Lt. Johnson regularly performs about 30 hours of duty each week. Since completing basic firefighter training, he has responded on an average of 390 calls per year, making him one of our “top ten” responders each year. 

Written in large part by Craig Harman, Nominator and President of Odenton Volunteer Fire Company.

Government Agency Honoree Maryland Defense Force (Statewide)

The Maryland Defense Force (MDDF) is a volunteer, uniformed state military agency, where 160 men and women volunteered more than 40,000 hours to support the 5,000 members of the Maryland National Guard–an equivalent of $2.7 million of services. MDDF was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the 2020 Government Agency category.

When Governor Hogan activated the Maryland National Guard to serve Marylanders at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Defense Force members served them with engineering, religious, medical, cyber and headquarters support.

The MDDF members ensure the Soldiers and Airmen have all of their proper paperwork and guide them through a pre-medical screening to ensure they are not exhibiting any signs of illness. If any exhibit any symptoms, they are sent through a more in-depth screening process.

“The MDDF provides professional and technical support on a variety of levels,” said Maj. (MDDF) Fred Sanford, the officer in charge. “I’m a teacher, and we’re all off for two to three weeks [because of COVID-19]. When the call came from our chain of command to support the response to COVID-19, I thought that this was an opportunity to serve and to work with my National Guard counterparts.’” (Excerpt from A Service Member’s First Stop in Response to COVID-19)

MDDF members provide competent, supplementary, professional and technical support and soldiers to the Maryland Army Guard, the Maryland Air National Guard, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. Established in 1917, the MDDF consists of nearly 200 personnel who perform legal, engineering, finance, medical, chaplain, field support, and ceremonial services for the State of Maryland. 

Read More: 10th Medical Regiment

Chief Warrant Officer Travis Keys conducts repairs to the Westminster Readiness Center which received tornado damage.

SFC AndRea Ashley-Garrick receives a Meritorious Service Medal for all of her work during COVID operations.

Graduation photo of the MDDF Advanced Officer’s Course.

Group/Team Honoree Achieve Success Together (Howard)

The Achieve Success Together (AST) team is composed of current and former Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) students who are dedicated to ensuring all students, regardless of background or circumstance, are able to receive equitable support in achieving their academic goals. Achieve Success Together was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Team category for their service instilling passion and a love for learning in students. Watch their video here

AST was founded in 2016 through the creation of the AST Enrich program, where high school students instructed younger students in subjects such as public speaking and writing. AST soon opened a second program, AST Shine, where elementary school students who are part of the FARM or ESOL programs were able to receive small group tutoring at no cost. Since its establishment, over 250 FARM and ESOL students have been served, with over 100 student volunteers engaging in the program.

During the coronavirus pandemic, AST launched two new programs: AST Solo and AST Summer. AST Solo was launched after schools closed in March, offering free, virtual one-on-one tutoring for students for a month. The program worked to provide extra support for students outside of the classroom in lieu of the lost in-person support from teachers. In June, AST launched AST Summer to offer virtual summer enrichment opportunities for students to explore new interests despite cancelled in-person activities. AST also allocated 20% of its revenue towards financial aid for students to ensure that its mission of equitable education was reflected in this new environment. In the AST Summer program, students were able to attend classes such as creative writing, math, and science due to this allocation of funds. 

Achieve Success Together, in a collaborative effort with the HCPSS and Howard County government, has strived to close opportunity gaps among minority and disadvantaged students. AST’s efforts helped to encourage communication between minority families and HCPSS by building greater trust between the two parties. Additionally, the parents of AST’s students have stated that students thoroughly enjoy their time with their tutors and instructors, and oftentimes, they are yearly-returners and have recommended classes to their family and friends. In particular, AST offered a community service class this summer, in which students created their own passion project and learned invaluable problem-solving and leadership skills while serving the community; one student spent their time donating food and raising money for those impacted by COVID-19 financially.

Written in large part by the nominator. Learn more at

Individual Honoree Shari Ostrow Scher (Frederick)

Shari Ostrow Scher is the founder of Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP) and volunteered more than 1,500 hours, and was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Individual category.

Seventeen years ago, Ms. Scher’s dream of mitigating the impact on a child whose parent was incarcerated came to fruition. Her own father had been sent to prison when she was a teenager. She would take the train to visit him at Sing Sing prison, and vividly remembers watching younger children get into trouble because there was nothing for them to do while waiting. She knew that children suffered trauma and negative effects when a parent went to jail, often leaving with no warning or explanation. As a result, she and a small group of volunteers in Frederick began to create Care Bags that contained a snuggly teddy bear, books on emotions, stationery and stamps for children to write to their loved one, art supplies, a picture frame, a disposable camera and a gift card for processing the pictures, and more. From this humble but heartfelt beginning, Shari branded the unique organization to fulfill her long-ago dream that is now known as Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (COIPP). We later learned that no one else in the U.S. was doing exactly this combination of work for this population with an all volunteer group.

Under Ms. Scher’s leadership, COIPP’s all-volunteer members served over 700 individuals, their children, and caregivers with thousands of hours of service in 2019. She developed strong community partnerships to enable COIPP to provide services to this population at little to no cost. Between June 2019 and August 2020, COIPP provided 20 activity events for the children, 4 sharing fairs, 6 visual journaling classes, 48 parenting classes in the Detention Center, 8 caregiver workshops, 35 after-release support group sessions, awarded 5 scholarships to the local community college, and answered more than 40 crisis calls. COIPP’s ongoing successes include creating a child-friendly book nook at the detention center, developing curricula for parenting classes, awarding scholarships to colleges, and conducting workshops at national & international conferences.


“I have never seen anything like this before. When I was incarcerated in South Carolina and my family would visit, there was never anything like this”

 “I would like to address how amazing Ms.Shari and Ms.Cathi are. The kindness, love and support they show to us and our children are endless. Their support doesn’t stop at the facility. It continues when we’re released.”

Learn more at

National Service Honoree Candy Montenegro (Statewide)

Candy Montenegro has been an avid volunteer since 1996 and was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the National Service category. An immigrant from Costa Rica in search for a better life in the U.S., Candy has worked at a local Burger King, an elementary school as a janitor, and later started her own cleaning business with her husband before she retired in 2016. During the past 24 years since coming to the U.S., despite her own hardships, Candy has always been willing to help whoever needed her, whether it be giving them a ride to the doctor, or picking up groceries. In 2017 Candy joined American Red Cross Sound the Alarm and Disaster Response Team, helping people in Frederick, Baltimore, Montgomery and Washington County. Recently, she helped take care of 100 fire victims in Bethesda

Candy has devoted 2,134 hours as an American Red Cross volunteer serving approximately 4,500 people statewide and in neighboring states. As an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer at Asian American Center of Frederick (AACF), she spent 315 hours volunteering for its weekly Food Drop and Mask Project in an effort to cope with COVID-19, reaching roughly 5,600 people in Frederick County. She worked as an interpreter, took surveys, directed traffic, and delivered food to low-income families. She also volunteered from 7 AM to 8 PM and sewed over 2,000 masks for 700 families. Her efforts have been greatly appreciated by the AmeriCorps Senior Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and AACF staff and by the individuals and families and the Hispanic communities whom she served. 

Candy is no ordinary volunteer. What makes Candy extraordinary is not the number of hours she served but her scope of service. In March 2020, Candy flew to Puerto Rico for two weeks as part of a disaster response team to help the local people find shelter and food. She worked more than 12 hours a day taking care of disaster victims. Candy’s willingness to help, her experience as an American Red Cross volunteer as well as her language skills have enabled her to be a versatile volunteer whom people can depend on. In addition to her local effort, in 2019 Candy set up Mis Ninos Foundation specifically to help 48 orphans in Uganda to buy food and school supplies. Recently she is sending money to help build an orphanage there so that the orphans can have a healthy living environment. Because of her tender, loving qualities, the orphans call her “Mommy Candy.” “I love to help people. I’m happy when they are happy,” said Candy with a grin and a twinkle in her eye. 

Recently Candy signed up as a AmeriCorps Seniors Across Ages Mentor who works with one or two underprivileged middle school students from local middle schools. Candy will not only work with her mentee who makes transition from elementary school to middle school but also help the mentee’s family to cope with the hardships associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not an easy job but Candy is ready to make a difference.

Written in large part by Hongwei Xu, Nominator and AmeriCorps Seniors – RSVP Program Manager at the Asian American Center of Frederick

Watch her video talking about her service, here.

Nonprofit Volunteer Program Honoree Weekend Backpacks (Baltimore City)

Weekend Backpacks’ mission is to provide nourishment to youth in Baltimore City in order to foster their academic success, and currently provides more than 20,000 meals a week to Baltimore City students and their families. Weekend Backpacks was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Nonprofit Volunteer Program category

Nearly one hundred volunteers served roughly 8 thousand hours to meet the needs of 1,700 families. Volunteers also distribute school supplies, hats, gloves, scarves and other items that will help support student success. Since March 16, Weekend Backpacks has delivered almost 500,000 meals, with an 80% increase in need since the start of the pandemic. 

“Our presence during the bag distribution has allowed us to see firsthand the enormous appreciation of the families. The Arlington School Community Coordinator told us that without Weekend Backpacks many of the families would have nothing to eat several days a month. While delivering bags to the John Ruhrah Elementary-Middle School in East Baltimore, a man walked up to our volunteer and thanked him with tears in his eyes. He had a child with him and told our volunteer that he had never missed a paycheck since he was 19 but that he was furloughed due to the pandemic. The man and his family were so thankful and he said he never wanted to hear any child cry because they were hungry.” -Nominator

Click for More: Baltimore Sun

Photos below were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic and not reflective of the current protocol.

Volunteers preparing Weekend Backpacks before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volunteers packing Weekend Backpacks before the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers packing Weekend Backpacks before the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Volunteers distributing Weekend Backpacks before the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers distributing Weekend Backpacks before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Volunteers packing Weekend Backpacks before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small Business Honoree ANGARAI (Statewide)

ANGARAI was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Small Business category.

The corporate program ANGARAI CARES focuses on community engagement and activities that highlights corporate-social responsibility. The firm so far has implemented internship programs including High School Summer Interns,  Community College Students Opportunity and University Graduate Internship programs to over 100 students, and started HUBZone employment. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, ANGARAI was instrumental in encouraging staff and partners to participate in Grab & Go Grocery Drive events, distributing over 200,000 lbs of food and hundreds of hours of service.

ANGARAI also supports the Maryland Center for Veteran Education and Training (MCVET).

Watch their Governor’s Service Award acceptance video, here.

Veteran Honoree Zachery Deuyour (Anne Arundel)

Mr. Zachery M. Deuyour, also known as Staff Sergeant Deuyour, serves active duty in the United States Air Force. He was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the Veteran category. Mr. Deuyour’s selection for this award is based on outstanding volunteer service to the civilian and military community of a sustained, direct, and consequential nature in the State of Maryland. 

His volunteer commitment expanded across organizations such as USO-Metro, Crisis Text Line, Leadership University, and many others. Mr. Deuyour joined Ft. Meade USO in 2018 and “quickly became an invaluable member of the volunteer team,” and he was also one of the first Crisis Counselors to join Crisis Text Line. His nominators described him as “always enthusiastic, willing to lend a helping hand–whether it is stepping up to help lead or picking up a closing shift last minute, Mr. Deuyour represents the true definition of what volunteering means.” He was also one of the first Crisis Counselors to join the Crisis Text Line four years ago, and has helped more than 1,500 people with 360 volunteer hours dedicated to making a difference.

Mr. Deuyour’s service is guided by a personal compass of “God, Family, People, and Mission.” As such, his service to the People of Maryland and many others in the United States, and abroad represents a commitment to the selfless service of others. When asked why Mr. Deuyour serves, he responded, Personally, I believe each of us was born with a purpose. With my purpose, I believe I was put here to serve. In uniform or out of uniform I do my best to live the Air Force core value of ‘Service Before Self’ and I encourage each of my fellow Wingmen in the service and People of Maryland to serve in their own way. Together, we lead. Together, we can and will usher our community and thus the world into a better place daily.”

Click to learn more about Zachery: USO Community Recognition Program, Military Times, KATV, Task & Purpose, U.S. Transportation Command

He wants you to know that if you’re looking for help tonight, you can utilize the free 24/7 Crisis Text Line. Text the word “HELP” to 741-741.

USO-Metro, Fort Meade, Maryland – Fall Fest

USO-Metro, Fort Meade, Maryland – Supermarket Sweeps; feed military families

USO-Metro, Fort Meade, Maryland – YUM (Your USO Meal) for military children. Free Chick-fil-A and School Supplies

Crisis Text Line – Providing remote support to people in crisis via text all around the world

Youth Honoree Trevor Khouzami (Baltimore City)

Trevor Khouzami, a junior at Gilman School in Baltimore, is dedicated to “leveling the playing field in his city and addressing economic and social inequity.”  He was selected for the Governor’s Service Award in the youth category for his work raising funds to support after-school programs in Baltimore city public high schools and to address food insecurity in underserved communities, as well as his work in making a positive impact in the lives of elementary school-aged children.

In 2016, when Trevor was 12 years old, he founded the RPBL Fall Classic, an annual wiffle ball tournament supported by his little league, Roland Park Baseball Leagues.  Trevor was inspired to do something after meeting Michael Rosenband (the baseball coach at Carver Vo-Tech in west Baltimore) and learning about the challenges his program faced.  To date, the tournament has raised over $34,000 to support baseball and softball programs at Carver Vo-Tech and also now at Patterson High School.  This has enabled each school to build a batting cage and has provided vital funds for new equipment, uniforms, and other program needs, such as a recognition banquet for players.  Trevor has spent over 500 hours organizing and promoting the annual event and hundreds of kids have played in the tournament.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Trevor did not let this stop him- he adapted and found ways to continue these efforts virtually to help his community.  Seeing that food insecurity was a pressing concern in Baltimore, Trevor organized a virtual video game tournament in May and again in November.  The 2020 online tournaments included 152 kids and raised an additional $8,000 to fund 10 truckloads of food, each containing approximately 350 boxes of healthy food to feed families in underserved communities in and around Baltimore City.

Trevor also volunteers to make positive impacts on the lives of elementary school-aged children through Bridges Baltimore, an organization that provides year-round support for Baltimore City students.  Trevor has volunteered over the summer and during the school year as a teacher’s aid, working with 4th and 5th graders.

Watch his Governor’s Service Awards acceptance video, here.

Learn more about previous recipients: 201920182017, and 2016.

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