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McGovern named Business Volunteer of the Year

September 23, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce recognized insurance agency founder and former Chamber president Gaye McGovern with its "Business Volunteer of the Year Award" during its 91st annual meeting Wednesday evening.

The event at Fountain Head Country Club also included a "State of the Chamber" speech by Chamber President Brien J. Poffenberger and the passing of the gavel from former chairman of the board W. Christopher Motz to incoming chairman Brian L. Flook.

Flook is president of Power Marketing & Advertising Inc. in Hagerstown.

The Business Volunteer of the Year Award goes each year to a Chamber member who has demonstrated exceptional service to the community, said Donna M. Long, the Chamber's director of operations.

McGovern has volunteered in numerous capacities for Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, Cedar Ridge Ministries and Saint John's Episcopal Church, Motz said. She also has served on the boards or advisory committees of more than 15 different organizations, including the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown Board of Advisors, where she has sought more scholarship money for local students and for the past several years has chaired the Elizabethtowne Feaste and Frolic scholarship fundraiser, Motz said.

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Accepting the award Wednesday evening, McGovern said she was surprised at the recognition and grateful to her parents, who she said raised all nine of their children "to try to make the world a little better than it was when we found it."

"I'm just doing what I always did, ever since I was a little kid," she said. "We'd tag along with the parents on different projects at church that they were involved in."

In his "State of the Chamber" speech, Poffenberger mentioned several of the Chamber's current initiatives, such as involving more young people in the Chamber, participating in a lobbying coalition and building the infrastructure to support a growing economy in the county.

Poffenberger said the Chamber sees Washington County as part of an emerging tier of counties that represent "the next generation of prosperity in Maryland" because they have room for economic growth where the "big seven" counties along I-95 have flattened out.

He said that like all businesses, the Chamber is going through "rough times," but at a strategic level, it is in good shape.

"Our vision is intact, we've got the foundation blocks in place to pursue that vision, and we are committed to working to make sure Washington County is a better place to work and live," he said.

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