County Department of Social Services employees honored

May 12, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

No one had to remind John Kenney and Charlie Breakall of their mission during their 30 years with the Washington County Department of Social Services.

But Tuesday, David Engle, executive director of the agency, pointed it out for the benefit of the head of the Maryland Department of Human Resources and all the staff members and invited guests in attendance at the annual employee recognition day.

"We are changing the world, one family at a time," Engle said. "Our mission is to help people live independent lives."


As program manager of adult services, Kenney, 55, supervises the case management of home aid services and adult protective services.

"An example of what we do would be our Project Home, an adult foster care program begun in the 1980s," Kenney said.

A typical person in that program could be in their 50s, with a broken hip and living at home or with a relative, he said.

"We help that person with services as well as the paperwork to stay in the least restrictive environment possible," Kenney said.

A Frostburg native, Kenney graduated from the University of Maryland, confident that he would spend his life as a high school English teacher. Instead, he found his calling in social work and got his master's degree from West Virginia University.

"Early in my career, I handled people in nursing homes," Kenney said. "Based on that experience, I decided I wanted to do what I could to keep people out of nursing homes."

A Hancock native, Breakall, 55, is the adult services supervisor for the Department of Social Services.

"We are a caring community here. We listen and I believe that is one of our biggest and most important roles," he said.

A graduate of Frostburg State, Breakall earned his master's in social work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

"We have approximately 450 cases where we have staff going out to provide services to help people stay in their homes," Breakall said.

Maryland Department of Human Resources Secretary Christopher McCabe congratulated all the employees who were recognized for their years of service.

"You do a great job, creatively providing services with limited resources," he said.

Other awards went to Linda Blontz, outstanding customer service; Martha Marshall, outstanding team player; Anne Seibert, top volunteer; Tricia Greathead, Jennifer Smircina, Jeri Annan and John Kenney, outstanding supervisors; Ronnie Bolyard, Debbie Mills, Sandy Martin and Jacquie Starleper, outstanding support person; and all the members of the morale-building team.

Employees of the year are Ronnie Bolyard, Laurie Taylor, Emily McFarland and Melissa Doyle.

The family of the late Sharon Gay was present to accept her posthumous award for most spirited person.

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