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Washington County volunteers honored at People's Choice Awards

November 18, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Between them, the three "unsung heroes" honored Tuesday at the Community Foundation of Washington County's People's Choice Awards ceremony have spent more than 160 years volunteering in Washington County and served more than two dozen local organizations.

The Rev. Janice Dorsey, 80, of Hagerstown; J. Gilbert "Buss" Everline, 85, of Boonsboro; and Jerry Overdorff, 76, of Maugansville each were presented with a $5,000 endowment for the nonprofit of their choice in recognition of their long records of volunteer service.

"It's always so amazing that there are so many people in our community that do so much to improve the quality of life for all of us, and that they've done it for so long," said Brad Sell, executive director of the Community Foundation of Washington County.

The foundation received 36 nominations for the People's Choice Awards this year, program manager Kristy Smith said.

Dorsey has been volunteering since 1948 as a member of the Washington County Council of Churches, including 18 years as president, and has held volunteer roles in Washington County Girl Scouts, the Washington County Council of PTAs, the Lions Club of Halfway and other organizations.

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Dorsey was the driving force behind bringing a chaplain to Washington County Hospital, and about 18 years ago, she founded the Volunteer Chaplains Program to ensure there were enough spiritual leaders to serve the surgical floor.

"Physicians can only go so far in caring, and at some point they have to stop, but there's a lot more the patient needs, if only someone to listen," Dorsey said.

Everline, a World War II veteran, helped establish American Legion Post 10 in Boonsboro, and spent many years volunteering with Boonsboro's Boy Scout troop, the Boonsboro Elementary PTA, and Sunday school and youth programs at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boonsboro.

He said he stayed in these roles long after his children were grown because he enjoys working with children and seeing them develop.

"I'm kind of a kid myself," he said.

Overdorff has been active with the Maugansville Ruritan Club for more than 20 years and was one of the first volunteers with Washington County's Habitat for Humanity. He also volunteers at the Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, REACH and other organizations, and helps build ramps to make homes more accessible for people with disabilities.

"I feel so blessed in my health and everything I do," Overdorff said. "God's always done so much for me, and I feel a need to do something in return."

Dorsey chose to use the endowment to establish the Bill Dorsey Memorial Fund, in honor of her late husband, to benefit the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts. Everline chose for his endowment to benefit the Union Rescue Mission, and Overdorff selected Habitat for Humanity of Washington County.

About 275 people attended the $100-per-ticket awards ceremony at the Fountain Head Country Club, allowing the foundation to fund a $5,000 Butterfly Scholarship for the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in addition to the nonprofit endowments, Sell said.

For the first time this year, the event featured live music, with the Smithsburg High School Saxophone Quintet performing during a social hour.

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