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People's Choice Awards

Community Foundation honors 'unsung heroes'

Community Foundation honors 'unsung heroes'

November 10, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - An "angel," a veteran and a feeder of the hungry are the newest members of a select club of Washington County volunteers.

At a dinner reception Thursday, the Community Foundation of Washington County honored three people - Sharon Mattingly, 50, of Hagerstown, Robert McCusker, 80, of Hancock, and Mary Anna Kline, 56 - as the newest recipients of its People's Choice Awards.

To the children Mattingly serves, she said, she is known as Ms. Sharon. Adults call her something else.

"The teachers call me the angel of Funkstown," Mattingly said. According to the foundation, which each year establishes charitable funds in the names of three honorees, Mattingly has volunteered at Funkstown and Emma K. Doub elementary schools.

Nearly 300 people were expected to turn out for the event at Four Points Sheraton, foundation executive Bradley N. Sell said. According to an annual report, the People's Choice Awards began in 2000, and the foundation has provided $5,000 endowments to REACH Inc., the Community Free Clinic, schools and other causes.

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Sell said the awards are intended to recognize people who do good for the community without any fanfare.

"These are the unsung heroes, the people that do all the work behind the scenes and don't get any recognition," Sell said.

For Kline, a foster parent and the manager and coordinator of the Williamsport Food Bank, service runs in the family. She said her father would have been proud of her honor.

"He said to me one time right before he died, he said, 'Make sure there's never a time in your life that you don't have time for others,'" Kline said. She said she feels gratified knowing that her work helps provide for families and children in need during the holidays.

According to information provided by the foundation, Kline has worked for more than 24 years at the food bank, which will benefit from the endowment established in her name.

A World War II veteran, McCusker spoke with pride as he talked about a monument he helped build. The Hancock memorial to area veterans started as a dream, he said.

"I just believe in our country, and I believe in our flag. It's not a job to do, it's an honor to do," said McCusker, who places flags around Hancock on patriotic holidays.

According to Lou Scally, who served as Thursday's master of ceremonies, McCusker's endowment will benefit Hancock's historical society, while Mattingly's will go toward the parent-teacher association at Funkstown Elementary School.

Mattingly said she never tires of serving the children and staff at the school, where she said she spends as many as 12 hours a day, five days a week.

"I just like to hear the kids. I just love being around the kids. I like to see their smiles. They're wonderful kids," she said.

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