The stories of 32 selfless volunteers inspired guests at the 33rd Annual Harford’s Most Beautiful People Awards ceremony hosted by County Executive Barry Glassman on October 10 at the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene. The awards ceremony, coordinated by the Department of Community Services, celebrates 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 28 citizens who nominated their fellow community members.
Carol Hansen received the 2019 Ripple Effect Award, so-named because of the ripples that spread from a single pebble dropped in a pond, just as the kindness of a single volunteer benefits the broader community. Nominated by Barbara Knapp, Carol was chosen for her commitment to injured soldiers, veterans, and first responders through her nonprofit organization, Quilts for Heroes. As the group’s founder and president, Carol, and those she has recruited to the program, have spent over 14 years creating works of art that offer comfort and support to those who protect our lives and freedoms. Quilts have been presented to soldiers recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, The Washington DC Tuskegee 2nd Marine Division survivors, combat veterans assigned to Warrior Transition Battalion in Fort Knox, Kentucky, and veterans admitted to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center. Carol has also presented quilts at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) ceremonies honoring active duty soldiers and veterans. In addition, she has donated quilts for fundraisers and charitable causes, including specially designed quilts for local Boy Scout troops and dedicated schoolteachers in Edgewood.
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 advocate for change by discussing topics that some would rather push into the shadows. This year, Megan Kaiser and Tom Lantieri were recognized for their commitment to drug prevention and recovery, shining a light on the power of treatment and the elimination of stigma.
Also celebrated at this year’s ceremony were Harford’s Most Beautiful People nominees Joseph Altmann; Yvonne Bennett; Heather, Ella and Hannah Benson; William Berg; Shirley Bortmes; Donna and Charles Burman; Dena Cardwell; Brenda Conjour; Jacqueline Downing; Dominique Edwards; Susan Kemen; Kandy McKiernan; Annette Nelson; Don Osman; David Patrick; Cathy Price; Gavin and Vincent Reiley; Lois Salino and Linda Hoffman; Eileen Siple; Antoinette Stephens; Linda Thomas; Brian Thompson; Dena Wasmer; Sarah Webster; and Kristy Breslin.
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 Upper Chesapeake Chorus of the Sweet Adelines International, The John Carroll High School Jazz Ensemble, Natasha Jackson, 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 School Jazz Ensemble, the Upper Chesapeake Chorus of the Sweet Adelines International, and vocalist Natasha Jackson. Harford Cable Network was on hand to record the one-hour ceremony, which will broadcast Saturdays in October at 7:00 p.m. or online at www.HarfordCable.org.