The stories of 17 selfless volunteers inspired guests at the 36th Annual Harford’s Most Beautiful People Awards ceremony hosted by County Executive Barry Glassman and the Harford County Department of Community Services on October 20 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 people who nominated them.
Joyce Stevens received the 2022 Ripple Effect Award, so named because of the ripples that spread from a single pebble dropped in a pond, just as the efforts of a single volunteer benefit the broader community. Nominated by Elizabeth Stevens, Joyce was chosen for her long-time support of Harford County youth as part of Black Youth in Action Adults. She was the treasurer for more than 35 years and was the seamstress for the annual debutante ball, making both minor and major alterations. Joyce also was a founder of the Harford County Hispanic Community Association (HCHCA), formed to assist the underserved Hispanic community with health care, housing, and language interpretation. Her outreach with HCHCA crossed international borders when she raised over $10,000 to help a man, who passed away with no family in Harford County or the U.S., find his way home to San Salvador for burial. Additionally, Joyce was a member of the Harford County Human Relations Commission. Fluent in Spanish, she volunteers teaching Spanish in Aberdeen and provides services to non-native residents through LASOS. Joyce and her husband were foster parents for many years and were a host family for the Cal Ripken World Series in Aberdeen. Joyce is the treasurer of the Aberdeen Golden Age Club and member of the choir at Havre de Grace United Methodist Church.
When County Executive Glassman took office, he created the Shining Light Award 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, Mia Ellis was recognized for great strength after losing her sister to addiction. Mia shares her story through outreach with Rage Against Addiction and during Recovery Month events in September to end stigma and promote hope.
As County Executive Glassman’s tenure comes to an end, the recipients of the Shining Light award from 2015 to 2021 were recognized and thanked for their continued efforts in Harford County. They include George and Nina Evans; Nolan and Sandi Gallion; Denise Hannah; Debbie Hardy; Yvonne Harris; Marvin Huntley; Russ and Kim Hurd; Meg Kaiser; Johnny and Jennilyn Landbeck; Thomas Lantieri; Daniel McGhee; Craig and Lisa McLaughlin; Wendy Messner; Maddison Oswald; Elliott Slattery; and Tom Yingling. Audience members lit a candle to represent the many lives the Shining Lights have and continue to touch in the county.
All of this year’s Harford’s Most Beautiful People nominees were celebrated at the ceremony, including Jackie Amrhein; Michael Bennett; Nancy Brugh; Mary Cook; Rebekah Cugle; Drew Evans; Stephen Garey; Felicia Grant-Hopkins; Laura Hahn; Vicki Jones; Barbara Lash; Connor McGuire; Sue Nappi; Christopher Providence; and Essie Washington-Bennett.
A photo gallery including all nominees is available online at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/796/Harfords-Most-Beautiful-People.
This year’s sponsors were Richardson’s Flowers and Gifts; the Ladies Auxiliary of the Level Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.; Party Party; A Capella Journey; Natasha Jackson; Harford TV; Jim Lockard Photography; TriState Trophy; Kristy Breslin, WJZ-TV; and the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene.
Attendees at the ceremony were treated to entertainment from A Capella Journey and Natasha Jackson. HarfordTV recorded the one-hour ceremony, which is being broadcast every Friday in November at 7 p.m. on Comcast Channel 21 and HD 1084, Verizon Channel 31 and Armstrong Channel 7. Or you can watch it anytime here.