Woman reaches out through volunteer work

August 09, 2006|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Carrol Lourie

Age - 59.

Occupation - Part-time consultant with Washington County Health Department.

Hometown - Born and raised in Punxsatawney, Pa., until age 12; lived in Uniontown, Pa., until after college.

Where would you see Lourie? - For four years, Lourie has served as president of the Board of Directors for REACH Caregivers. She said of all the boards she's worked on over the years, the REACH board is her favorite.

"It's a really committed board, a really committed staff," Lourie said. "Because we have three staff, we do a lot of service to the community. It's a working board, not an advisory board."


REACH Caregivers has three areas of focus - crisis intervention, the cold weather shelter and Faith in Action, which provides volunteers to help the elderly, disabled and others in need to live in their own homes.

Lourie said REACH's mission of responding with compassion to people in need is put into action through volunteers who give more than 50 hours a day, 365 days a year.

As a member of a working board, Lourie does her share of volunteering, including helping with the cold weather shelter and assisting an elderly woman with her grocery shopping, taking her to doctor appointments and staying in touch.

"I love REACH. I like giving input to organizations that are addressing social needs," Lourie said.

Over the years, Lourie has been on a variety of boards because of her work for the Maryland Department of Social Services. She held various positions throughout the state and was assistant director for Adult, Child and Family Services when she retired in September 2005 after 33 years with DSS.

Her current position is with the health department's teen pregnancy task force. She said the part-time position allows her time for her volunteer work.

Lourie moved to Hagerstown from Frederick, Md., in 1999. She was part of the group that started the cold weather shelter in Frederick.

She and her second husband, Ira Lourie, M.D., who is a child psychiatrist, have been married almost three years. They live in Fountain Head and each have an adult son.

Lourie is a member at Christ Reformed Church on Franklin Street and her husband belongs to the local synagogue, Congregation B'nai Abraham. Lourie supports the synagogue by serving as the flower and tree person, taking care of flower orders for the synagogue and placing orders for those who want to have a tree planted in Israel.

"I believe there's not just one way to God. Mission work is very much faith-based. There's a commonality among faiths," Lourie said.

Other boards Lourie is on include the United Way Allocations Board, the Washington County Mental Health Advisory Committee, the Drug and Alcohol Council and the Washington County Family Violence Coalition.

As for her involvement with the cold weather shelter, Lourie said the people that end up there didn't get the strengths from their families that they needed to be successful, that the system failed them somewhere along the way. She added that the goal of the shelter isn't meant to "fix" people, but to support them and keep them warm and safe.

Hobbies - Lourie considers her involvement as secretary with PEO, a women's education organization started after the Civil War, a hobby. She also enjoys spending time with her friends and her cocker spaniel, Russell. Lourie said she dabbles in photography and likes to read, especially books relating to social issues.

What does Lourie like best about Washington County? - "I've never had as many good friends as I've had here. I think a smaller community contributes to that," she said. Lourie adds that she appreciates the "ease of life," that it's easy to get around, without the hassles of big city life. At the same time, she likes the proximity to the city for culture and diversity.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail

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