MCI officials said they couldn't reveal why Arey was in prison, or the length of his sentence.
Project Director Lynn Fitrell of the Governor's Office on Volunteerism said Arey's moving essay on Spangler's work ministering to inmates at MCI and the two other prisons south of Hagerstown impressed judges, who named Spangler one of 32 award winners out of 300 nominees.
As a result of Arey's nomination, Spangler, who lives in Smithsburg, will receive a Governor's Volunteer Award for Public Safety in the age 63 and over category.
A letter to Arey, which was signed by Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, asked him to let the state know by April 7 whether he can attend.
"...We would like you to accompany Mr. Spangler to a very special reception to be held during National Volunteer Week ... We look forward to seeing you on April 16th," the letter said.
It was addressed to Arey as editor of the MCIH Weekly on Roxbury Road, and included his inmate number.
Fitrell said the workers who mailed the invitations to nominators didn't know Arey was in prison. She said she had intended to write him a separate letter.
While Fitrell was impressed by Spangler's work, she said she also was impressed by Arey.
She said she read his essay on Spangler and found it moving. She said she also was impressed by the fact the inmate went to the trouble of writing to request a nomination form, so he could submit Spangler's name for consideration.
Fitrell said, however, that she understands why Arey won't be able to attend the ceremonies.
Fitrell said she has talked to MCI Warden Lloyd Waters and the prison's volunteer coordinator, and was told one of them would represent Arey at the ceremonies.
Waters was contacted Wednesday afternoon, but was conducting interviews and was unable to comment.
Spangler, who gives Waters credit for allowing him access to inmates, said it was his understanding that Waters and several other people from the prison would attend the ceremonies.