The stories of 25 selfless volunteers inspired everyone at the 32nd Annual Harford’s Most Beautiful People Awards ceremony hosted by County Executive Barry Glassman and the Harford County Department of Community Services on October 11 at the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene. The awards celebrate the uplifting and meaningful contributions made by unsung heroes who give their time and talents to those in need throughout the county. The event was emceed by WJZ-TV’s Kristy Breslin and drew more than 200 attendees, including the nominees and the 23 citizens who nominated their fellow community members.
Elke Neuburger received the 2018 Ripple Effect Award, so-named because of the ripples that spread from a single pebble dropped in a pond, just as a single volunteer benefits the broader community. Nominated by Robert Durgin, Elke was chosen for her lifetime of public service spanning more than 48 years with the Harford County 4-H program, as a founding member of the Harford County Farm Fair Board of Directors, coordinating 4-H activities since 1987, and the creation of the Jarrettsville Elementary “Spring Fling” Carnival over 50 years ago. In addition, she has volunteered with the Jarrettsville Lion’s Club, the North Harford High School Football Boosters Club, and her synagogue, creating a scholarship program for their day school.
The Shining Light Award was created by County Executive Glassman to recognize citizens who shine a light of awareness on serious issues facing Harford County. Often these individuals have suffered deep, personal loss, yet they courageously fight stigmas and advocate for positive change by discussing topics that some would rather push into the shadows. This year, high-school student, Madison Oswald was recognized for great strength under adversity. Through her story, she has aided in prevention efforts by creating Bobcats Against Addiction at Bel Air High School, and engaging her peers about the dangers of drug and alcohol while shining a light on the power of treatment, and the importance of eliminating stigma.
Also celebrated at this year’s ceremony were Harford’s Most Beautiful People nominees Phil Anderson; Jaydn Betters; Ashlee Brockwell; Dona Bushong; Beckett Ehrsam; Dan Feldman; Patricia Gilligan; Karen Jacobs; Barbara Knapp; Betty Leasure; Dr. Leslie and Millie Morris; Susie Oursler; James Pisciotta; Barbara Risacher; Mary Robinson; Lesa Schepers; Lisa Sheehan; Sharyn Spray; Dottie Vinopal; and the Walls family including Tom and Sharon Walls and Katie Hargrove.
A photo gallery including all nominees will be available online at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/796/Harfords-Most-Beautiful-People.
This year’s generous (in-kind) sponsors were The Aegis, Richardson’s Flowers and Gifts, Pairings Catering, Wegmans, Broom’s Bloom Dairy, Party Party, the North Harford Harmonics, the John Carroll High School Jazz Ensemble, the Upper Chesapeake Chorus of the Sweet Adelines International, Jim Lockard Photography, Harford Cable Network (HCN), Kristy Breslin, WJZ News; Tri-State Trophies, and the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene.
Attendees at the ceremony were treated to entertainment from The John Carroll High School Jazz Ensemble, the North Harford Harmonics, and the Upper Chesapeake Chorus of the Sweet Adelines International. Harford Cable Network was on hand to record the one-hour ceremony, which streamed live on Facebook. HCN will broadcast the event on Fridays in November at 7:00 p.m. The video is available online at https://hcn.viebit.com/player.php?hash=xJjXHirvqce7 and available for purchase at www.harfordcable.org.