Search on for citizen to honor

July 06, 2002|by Liz Boch

Nominations for the 16th annual Washington County's Most Wonderful Citizen Search are being accepted at the Washington County Commissioners Office.

The winner, selected by a panel of three to five judges, will be recognized by the state as part of the Maryland You are Beautiful Program.

Modeled after the former Baltimore's Best program, Maryland You are Beautiful began in 1987 under Gov. William Donald Schaefer and is designed to promote volunteerism, said Paulette Sprinkle, the Washington County coordinator.

Nominees must volunteer for the benefit of the community. Past nominees have visited the sick, provided fuel to neighbors and volunteered at hospitals.


Organizations also can be nominated, Sprinkle said.

"The first winner was Dream Come True," Sprinkle said. "They grant wishes to terminally ill children. It was just the boost they needed to really start their business."

The panel of judges changes every year, allowing for new perspectives on community involvement, she said.

Washington County nominates about 65 to 120 residents each year, although one year the number of nominations exceeded 180.

"We're one of the largest participators in the state," Sprinkle said. "People nominate as many citizens as they want, as many years as they want."

The Washington County nominees receive certificates signed by the County Commissioners and attend a reception where the winner is announced.

All the county winners are honored at the State House in Annapolis and receive awards at St. John's College.

"The ceremonies are exceptional," Sprinkle said. "Many dignitaries are there with the county winners."

There is no limit to the number of citizens one person can nominate.

"We've had spouses nominate spouses, bosses write in about employees, even prisoners nominate people," Sprinkle said.

The nomination form is available at the Washington County Commissioners Office and the Hagerstown-Washington County Visitor's Bureau. The name, address and phone number of the nominee and nominator and a 300-word description of the nominee's service record are required.

"It can be as simple as a list. We're not looking for prose," Sprinkle said.

The program has recognized about 1,500 Washington County residents.

Nominations must be postmarked by Aug. 13. County winners will be honored in Annapolis on Nov. 13.

"The underlying goal is to recognize the unsung heroes in their community and give them a pat on the back," Sprinkle said. "Most of these people don't ask to be thanked, but they should be."

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