BEL AIR — The selflessness of outstanding local volunteers brought the audience to tears and to its feet at the 29th Annual Harford’s Most Beautiful People Awards held Oct. 8 at the Bel Air Church of the Nazarene.
Each of the 31 nominees was celebrated at the inspirational event emceed by WJZ-TV’s Kristy Breslin and sponsored by the Harford County Department of Community Services under Director Amber Shrodes and County Executive Barry Glassman. Special recognition was given to the following award winners.
Eleven-year-old cancer survivor Grace Callwood was the recipient of this year’s Ripple Effect Award. Chosen for her remarkable commitment to public service, Callwood donated the toys that she received as gifts after her diagnosis to homeless children at Harford Family House. While in treatment, she founded the We Cancerve Movement to help children who are homeless, sick or in foster care. Furthering her efforts, she established a fund for donations through the Community Foundation of Harford County. Under her leadership, Cancerve has donated 140 back-to-school outfits and 65 winter coats to homeless children. Callwood also dedicated hours to collecting items and helping to decorate over 300 Easter baskets for children at Harford Family House. She has organized self-esteem workshops and other events for teen girls in foster care, working with Arrow Child and Family Ministries. She also finds time to volunteer with Anna’s House, helping to create a summer enrichment program for homeless children, and with Upper Chesapeake Medical Center Pediatric Hospital. Currently a fifth grade student at William S. James Elementary School, Callwood has completed her chemotherapy and remains cancer-free.
A special Shining Light Award was given to each of three couples who tragically lost a child to drug abuse, and have been sharing their devastating personal stories publicly to safeguard others. Nominated by Joe Ryan from the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy, Johnny and Jennilyn Landbeck, Pastor Craig and Lisa McLaughlin and Sandra and Nolan Gallion were called to the stage by the county executive and recognized for their determination to shine a light on the heroin epidemic.
Other nominees celebrated were: Carol Benck, Debra Bransky, Jeanne Colburn, Eileen Cox, Sandy Demczak, Samantha DiBastiani, Linda Russell Doobay, Anne Fullem, Joe and Kathy Hartka, Chriss Henn, Carla Howes, Nancy Jacobs, Ginny Leidig, Gina Miller, Sandy Millner, Earnestine Moorehead, Kim Nikitas, Reginal and Barbara Przybylski, Roberta Scoville, William Schwartzman, The Rev. Lisa Ward and Selena Hill-Watson.
A surprise award was given to Mary Chance for her dedication over three decades to the Harford’s Most Beautiful People Program. Mary is a former director of community services for Harford County government who created the Ripple Effect Award, naming it as such because of the ripples that spread from a pebble dropped into a pond, in much the same way that a selfless volunteer benefits the community at large.