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City Jaycee honored with award

August 09, 1999

Diane BohnA Hagerstown Jaycee was voted the organization's best member statewide.

Diane Bohn said her "jaw just dropped" when her name was announced at an Ocean City, Md., convention in May as the 1998 Jaycee of the Year for the State of Maryland.

"It is a great honor and I hope I'll be able to live up to it," said Bohn, 28.

She said she prefers to work quietly behind the scenes, and is uncomfortable taking recognition for community service.

"This award is not just mine. It belongs to all the Jaycees of Hagerstown," Bohn said.

The local chapter was named the most outstanding chapter in the state at the May meeting.

Members of the organization devote time to such worthy causes as providing school supplies to deserving children, raising funds for Manpower, and circulating information about many diseases that affect children, Bohn said.

They also have a lot of fun, she said.

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An Exeter, N.H., native, Bohn moved to Hagerstown in November 1995 to take a job as an advertising salesperson with The Herald-Mail after graduating from Gettysburg College in May 1995.

Bohn said she wanted to meet new friends and serve the community, so she went with a co-worker to her first Jaycees meeting that December, and officially joined the organization in April 1996.

Bohn has headed the local chapter's fund-raising and publications committees, served as vice president for community development, and managed the Outstanding Young Farmer program, she said.

But it was her willingness to come forward in a pinch that earned her the award, Bohn said.

She stepped in at the last minute to chair the Christmas Shopping Spree program. The chairperson for the annual event for underprivileged kids left with little notification, Bohn said.

She works well under pressure, she said.

"Diane is very fun and gets the job done," said Scott Paddack, who handles public relations for the Jaycees of Hagerstown. "She's always good to have around."

Bohn said the same of the organization.

"It has definitely made me a better person," she said.

Serving as a Jaycee has honed her leadership skills and helped her combat her bashfulness, Bohn said.

When she first spoke in front of a large audience during a 1998 summer board meeting skit performance, "I was so scared I was shaking," Bohn said.

Despite her "horrible performance," the group was supportive, she said. Now, Bohn, who describes herself as "eccentric," fares well when in the public eye, she said.

She credits the Jaycees of Hagerstown with many such successes.

"Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today," she said.

Bohn left Hagerstown last week to begin working Aug. 2. as a sales representative for a newspaper in Hanover, Pa.

She said she will commute from Hanover to Hagerstown for the club's monthly meetings.

"The Jaycees of Hagerstown will always have a very special place in my heart," she said.

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