2009 Affair of the Heart Honors Prince George€s County Volunteers of the Year

Mary Wells | 4/30/2009, 12:24 p.m.

Prince George€s County Executive Jack B. Johnson extended his thanks in the program notes.

€We honor our citizens and residents who volunteer their tireless efforts and lend a hand to make a better Prince George€s County. These volunteers are recognized as heroes of our communities and remind us that we can all make a difference and touch the lives of others through volunteerism. I am grateful for all of your efforts to help make €Gorgeous Prince George€s€ a livable community.€

The Prince George€s Volunteer Center mobilizes volunteers to solve community problems. Created in1982 as a private, nonprofit organization, Prince George€s Volunteer Center provides volunteer recruitment and referral, volunteer recognition activities, and support for agencies and managers of volunteer programs. It also supports the Prince George€s County government in its emergency preparedness for residents and local businesses.

President Richard Nixon created National Volunteer Week in 1974 as a time to engage individuals in service, inspire a nation to join a movement for change, and recognize deserving volunteers. This year€s National Volunteer Week 2009 was April 19-25.

Teresa Gardner-Williams, Executive Director of the Prince George€s Volunteer Center, introduced ABC 7/WJLA-TV meteorologist Brian van de Graaff, who presented the volunteer awards. He said, €I look forward to my 6th year as the awards presenter for the Affair of the Heat Gala. I€m honored to be involved in an event that pays tribute to volunteer service. I am particularly happy to be taking part in an evening that recognizes students who are giving their time and energy to make a difference,€ he said.

This year the Volunteer of the Year honorees are:
  • All Shades of Pink Comfort Blanket Program Volunteers Group for their support of breast cancer patients going through the post-surgery recovery process;
  • Christopher Blegen (Youth) for his long-term and varied volunteer service with Progressive Equestrian Therapeutic Services (PETS), Inc.;
  • Terry Boykins (Individual) for his work with The City of District Heights€ Young Men of Power Program;
  • Hazel Cooper (senior) for her work with the SHABACK! Emergency Food and Clothing Pantry;
  • William Marci (Bernie Nees Unsung Hero) for his service with the Veterans Medical Center€s Volunteer Transportation Network;
  • Volunteer Tutor Corps of Literacy Council of Prince George€s County (Group) for improving the literacy rate in the County;
  • Jacqueline B. Woody (County Agency) for her advocacy and service to improve the quality of life for Prince George€s County residents through her leadership in various community initiatives, programs and projects through the Landover Educational Athletic & Recreationnal Nonprofit (LEARN); and
  • Graduating seniors Brandon Browne (Bowie High School) and Allison Baumgartner (Bishop McNamara High School) will receive the Bernice €Bunny€ LaCour Memorial Scholarship.

€The winners of this year€s awards exemplify what it is to be a volunteer in the Prince George€s community,€ said Vania McNeary, President of the Volunteer Center€s Board of Directors and AVP, Branch Sales Manager of The Washington Savings Bank. €All of our volunteers are phenomenal citizens who go beyond the call of duty. I cannot express enough admiration and thanks to these outstanding volunteers for their dedicated volunteerism.€

Linda P. Qualls, Chair of the Gala, said, €Whether it is an individual act or a group effort, it takes someone with a caring heart and a real spirit of dedication to reach beyond self to help others.€

Sponsors of this year€s Affair of the Heart Gala include Prince George€s County Office of the County Executive, The Washington Savings Bank, Enlightened, Inc., Doctors Community Hospital, PEPCO, ABC 7/WJLA-TV, Crescent Cities Jaycees Foundation, www.BeATravelPro.com and RFT Designs.

To volunteer, visit www.princegeorgesvolunteer.org or to learn more about the volunteer program at the Prince George€s Volunteer Center, call (301) 699-2800.