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Hagerstown couple to be inducted into Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

October 21, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Dale and Carolyn Seburn have traveled the world but always found time to give back to the community, even while raising a son and daughter, and working full time.

For instance, when Carolyn Seburn learned several years ago that her neighborhood association's plea for a treasurer was unmet and hiring an accountant to do the job would raise dues paid to the association, she hesitated only briefly before volunteering for the job.

"I asked Dale, 'Would I be crazy to volunteer?' and he said, 'Yes, but you will anyway,'" she said. "There's a need and you respond."

That response is typical of the Seburns' service to the community that has earned them a place in the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame this year.

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The Seburns, who live in South Pointe, were nominated by Pastor Joy Zepp of Manor Church of the Brethren, where they have been members for 41 years. Zepp compiled page upon page of references and testimonials detailing the multitude of ways they have contributed to the community.

"She said she doesn't know anybody who works in so many organizations in leadership positions," Dale Seburn said.

They will fill a table Thursday with friends and family members at the annual awards luncheon in Glen Burnie, Md. Each year, no more than 50 Marylanders from across the state are chosen for the honor.

"They have touched people of all ages throughout the world; both directly and indirectly with their work ... I have see both Carolyn and Dale at church, quietly giving 110 percent, even though no one else was around to see them. They've taken care of many of the dirtiest and most undesirable jobs that most others would avoid," Zepp wrote in the Hall of Fame nomination form.

Dale Seburn, 71, said their involvement began with church and their children's activities, such as Scouts and band boosters. There was Boonsboro Lions Club for Dale, who joined the Washington County Hospital Auxiliary after he retired from Fort Detrick as a medical researcher.

Carolyn Seburn, 70, joined the auxiliary when she retired after 42 years of teaching in Washington County Public Schools. Each has volunteered more than 2,500 hours as an auxiliary member.

The graduates of Hagerstown High School's Class of 1956 also are involved in the Washington County Retired Educational Personnel Association, where Carolyn has served as co-president. Titles such as church trustee and chairperson are ones the Seburns take on with gusto.

Carolyn Seburn just finished putting their church directory together, spending a solid week at the computer working on the database of names and addresses. Dale took all of the casual photographs.

They also support financially organizations like the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, in lieu of donating time. And both have been participants in organ transplants and medical research.

"Just knowing you've helped somebody who needed help," Carolyn Seburn said of why she volunteers.

"It feels good. It's not for the recognition," Dale Seburn said.

The couple's 50th wedding anniversary was in August. They recently returned from a cruise to eight Polynesian islands and had several gatherings of friends and family to celebrate.

"I think we're flexible. We don't dwell on problems or health issues that come up. Those kinds of things don't drive us. We tend to be more positive and optimistic," Carolyn Seburn said.

Still, they find a way to balance "work" and travel. They said they see their travel not as a vacation but as "extended senior citizens' learning opportunities."

"We go for the culture, the sounds, the smells, learning history and beliefs. It's just so broadening," Dale Seburn said.

They have even found a way to share their travels with the community by giving slide shows.

"Our volunteering is our way of giving. Our travel is our way of extending ourselves, our knowledge and experiences. It makes for a good balance," Carolyn Seburn said.

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