These awards honor some of our County’s most outstanding community leaders and dedicated volunteers. “Montgomery County is the very special place it is today in large part because many extraordinary public citizens work every day to make it special,” Leggett said in encouraging residents to submit award nominations of individuals, businesses, and community groups.
Roscoe R. Nix Award Winners
County Executive Ike Leggett has established the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award to honor the legacy of leadership of former School Board Member and NAACP Branch President Roscoe Nix. The award, the County’s equivalent of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is presented by the County Executive each year to honor an individual or individuals who over the course of their distinguished lives of community service have made extraordinary contributions to the quality of our community at the very highest levels of excellence.
Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award Winners
Jennie Forehand was a relentless advocate for public health and the rights of women and children during her thirty-six years of service to the people of Montgomery County as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and Maryuland Senate.
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Senator Forehand grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and earned a B.S. degree in industrial Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She and her husband moved to Rockville in 1961 to take jobs at NIH. Senator Forehand has been active in countless civic and community initiatives from Girl Scouts to the Rockville Senior Center. She played a major role in bringing Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and RICA to Montgomery County and keeping the Nuclear Regulatory Commission here.
Inez Zeigler McAbee
Inez Zeigler McAbee was a homemaker, caretaker, gardner, singer, and mover and shaker who used her personal grace and extraordinary skills and preserverance to serve those in need and push society forward. She believed that one voice singing in the darkness can light the world.
Born and raised on a farm in Damascus, she had to walk four miles to school each day even though there was a school just blocks from her house. She served as President of her class at Rockville High School in 1931 and served as President of the Montgomery County Homemakers’ Club, the fi rst Upcounty African American organization for women. As President of the Damascus Ecumenical Association, she integrated black and white members. She was among the first African Americans to serve on the Damascus Elementary School PTA, worked aggressively to integrate the county’s public schools, and integrated the United Methodist Church in Damascus. As a member of the NAACP, Ms. McAbee worked tirelessly to improve race relations. She was the first African American resident to dine in a previously “white-only” restaurant in Damascus, and she brought public transportation to the Damascus area. She provided nursing care at Bethany House and worked as a coordinator for Meals on Wheels. Ms. McAbee received countless public accolades, including induction in the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame in 2004.
Tom Perez is the very model of a servant leader. He has dedicated his life to his country, state, and county. The son of first generation immigrants, Secretary Perez has been a champion for equal opportunity.
Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, where his family located after speaking out against President Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic, Secretary Perez graduated from Brown University and earned a Master of Public Policy and law degree from Harvard University.
After serving as a U.S. District Court law clerk, Tom Perez worked in the Department of Justice as a prosecutor and Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. He served as Special Counselor for Senator Ted Kennedy before becoming Director of the Offi ce of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Tom Perez was elected to the Montgomery County Council in 2002 where he served as President. An advocate of access and opportunity, Secretary Perez fought predatory lending and led the planning for the Montgomery Coalition for Adult English Literacy (MCAEL) to support a thriving immigrant community and build an effective workforce. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley appointed Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in 2007.
President Barack Obama appointed Secretary Perez Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in 2009 and as the 26th United States Secretary of Labor in 2013.
Jean and Jack Brady moved to Silver Spring, MD in 1966 from Upstate New York when Jack took a job with the Department of the Navy. In 1969, they moved to Wilson Avenue, Rockville. Jack and Jean raised seven children— “All college graduates!” she says proudly—and have 14 lovely grandchildren.
The Bradys have been active members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville and St. Rose of Lima Parish for many years. Jean has been a volunteer and civic activist in Montgomery County for more than 40 years. She has devoted her energies and talents to address a broad range of social issues that include affordable senior housing, homelessness, mental health, disability rights, employment, prison ministry, anti-poverty initiatives and violence prevention.
When her husband was diagnosed with dementia a few years ago, Ms. Brady reduced her volunteer involvement to be his primary caregiver. Her beloved Jack died from complications related to this illness in 2013.
Jean Brady still continues to contribute signifi cantly to her community. She has received numerous accolades and awards for her community service commemorating her as an outstanding citizen, leader, and individual of community development. In 2014, she has served as a member of the St. Rose of Lima Social Concerns Committee; St. Rose of Lima Gun Safety Conference Chair (2014-2015); Rockville Village (2015); and City of Rockville Landlord-Tenant Affairs Commission (term expires May 2017).
In recalling Ms. Brady’s civic engagement, Doug Duncan, former Mayor of Rockville and three-term Montgomery County Executive, states, “Jean was instrumental in bringing Victory Housing to Montgomery County, beginning in Rockville with the development of Mary’s House at St. Mary’s Church. She worked tirelessly to get that housing open for seniors in Rockville.”
Karin Wilson was born in the Free City of Danzig, which became part of Germany at the time of Hitler’s occupation. Karin and her mother and sisters became refugees, ending up in Germany in January 1945. Her father had died in a prisoner of war camp in Russia and her mother wanted to make a new start so, in 1955, they migrated to the U.S. In order to learn English, Ms. Wilson took a job as a car hop at Hot Shoppes while attending Strayer’s Business College. She married, raised
two daughters and worked for 35 years in accounting at AFSCME. Her husband died in 1987.
Ms. Wilson connected with the Support Center through a member of her church. The Support Center’s day program serves adults with physical and/or medical disabilities or cognitive impairment who are not capable of full-time, independent living. Karin retired in December 1996 and began volunteering at the Support Center in January of 1997. Ms. Wilson brings a special sensitivity to working with the elderly, and inspires so many through her own story.
Ms. Wilson served for two terms on the Support Center’s Board of Directors, where her accounting expertise was invaluable.
At the age of 80, there is no sign of Karin Wilson slowing down after eighteen years and over 20,000 hours of volunteering. She leaves her house in Damascus at 6:30 AM and travels to Aspen Hill to send two of her grandchildren off to school so her daughter can go to her job as a high school teacher. She then comes to the Support Center four days a week where she does budget and billing work, then helps serve lunch to the clients.
Once a week, Ms. Wilson leads a reading group. The reading group is her favorite way to connect with the people at the Support Center. Many of the people there have vision or other problems, so Karin reads short stories, magazine articles, and poems.
These awards recognize those who have given extraordinary community service or volunteerism during 2014. The award is given in four categories. Winners either live, work, or serve in Montgomery County, service have been performed outside the context of the winner's paid employment, and recognizes service, rather than philanthropy.
Montgomery Serves Award Winners
Yidong Hu - Youth Award
Yidong “Dorothy” Hu is a junior at Winston Churchill High School. She has dedicated her years in middle and high school to volunteering. She leads several service-oriented clubs, adding to her growing list of more than 530 community service (SSL) hours. Founder and President of Children’s Corner club, which has 40 active members, she has led others through fundraisers such as bake sales, pizza sales, and restaurant fundraisers
to garner over $1,000 for the Children’s Inn at NIH, which will earn her club a spot on the Inn’s Hall of Donors for the 2015-2016 fi scal year. As the current Lieutenant Governor of her division of Key Club International (a worldwide service organization for high schoolers), which includes eleven high schools in Montgomery County, she is working to increase membership and volunteering in the county and focus on local institutions such as fi re departments and retirement homes. Her dedication to not only volunteering herself but to also growing a community of young service-minded people is what helps her create positive change in Montgomery County.
Washington Gas - Business Award
WGL/Washington Gas is committed to a sustainable future through the energy solutions they provide
– including clean natural gas and renewable solar and wind energy—and their leadership in the communities
they serve. Washington Gas—a flagship company—has been a fi xture in the Washington, D.C. region since 1848. Today, the WGL family of companies continues to be a partner with not only communities in
the D.C. region but as active and productive members of all the communities in which they operate throughout the country.
In 2014, WGL donated more than $863,000 to charities in the areas of health, education and the environment. The company ranked in Washington Business Journal’s (WBJ) top 25 for corporate giving. Employees volunteered more than 11,000 hours to help our neighbors in need. The WBJ also ranked WGL as a top 25 company for volunteerism in the greater Washington, D.C., region.
During the past year, volunteers completed more than 47 projects within their service area. In Montgomery County, Washington Gas volunteers served the homeless at Shepherd’s Table, worked with clients and received and sorted donations for families in need at A Wider Circle, served as timekeepers, moderators and judges at the Maryland Science Bowl at Montgomery College, directed traffi c and volunteered at the KID
Museum’s Mini Maker Faire and assisted clients and sorted donations at the Interfaith Clothing Center.
Washington Gas employee volunteers raised more than $120,300 for the 2014 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk, and the company contributed a $15,000 corporate sponsorship allowing the company to be the top performing corporate team for the National Capital Region once again this year. Since 2000, Washington Gas and our employees have reached a milestone and contributed more than $821,000 to
fight leukemia, lymphoma and related blood diseases.
Darren Duvall - Community Service Individual Award
Originally from Silver Spring, Darren Duvall is a long-term volunteer with Bethesda Cares, a community outreach program working to end homelessness throughout Montgomery County. Having once lived on the street, Mr. Duvall understands the physical suffering and emotional challenges inherent in living unsheltered. A daily volunteer at Bethesda Cares’ meal program, Mr. Duvall now fi nds meaning and structure in his life through service.
When looking for a place to help, he knew he wanted to serve people suffering through problems he well understood. In 1996, he started working at Bethesda Cares’ Lunch Program. Founded in 1988, Bethesda Cares serves a hot, nutritious meal to those in need every day of the year, right in downtown Bethesda. In 2014 alone, Mr. Duvall helped with the 15,251 meals Bethesda Cares served to the homeless and working poor.
Monday through Friday, without fail, he comes to the churches from which Bethesda Cares serves lunch, arriving by 10 and staying until 1:30 each day, for 650 hours per year. Mr. Duvall does whatever needs to be done to keep the program moving smoothly forward. He washes dishes, takes out the trash and keeps the space tidy.
“He helps me out, and he helps other people out,” says Lawrence Blake, Bethesda Cares’ Lunch Program Coordinator. “He understands what they’re going through. He doesn’t judge them. Frankly, he’s an excellent worker.”
Potomac Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. - Community Service Group Award
The Potomac Valley Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (PVAC) delivers innovative, award winning programs and services to promote the welfare of residents in the western and northern sectors of Montgomery County, Maryland. Chartered 30 years ago this April, the chapter began with 28 members and has grown to 160 members devoted to community service. True to the 102 year old mission of the national sorority, PVAC has been committed to improving the quality of life of Montgomery County citizens by creatin g and implementing programs in the areas of health, education, and social and economic development.
In 2014, the Delta Academy/Delta GEMS program was recognized by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) and distinguished with its Community Service Award. Committed to promoting the physical and mental health of the county’s residents, PVAC organized the 2014 “Be Health Empowered” Symposium focusing on enhancing health literacy. Participants learned how to navigate effectively the healthcare system, understand and take advantage of healthcare reform, and how to take care of their physical and mental well-being. In 2014, fifteen members of the Chapter walked and raised $1,500 to support research leading to ending premature births and support mothers and families with premature infants. The Chapter’s last health related event of 2014 took place in December when PVAC conducted its 2nd Annual World AIDS Day Symposium to inform the public of this increasingly serious disease and other health consequences related to HIV/AIDS that continue to impact county residents.
In addition, in 2014, PVAC continued its tradition of increasing the Montgomery County community’s fi nancial knowledge. The chapter focused on providing information about building wealth and fi nancial security by holding financial education sessions for young people, designing and implementing the “Financial Fortitude Friday” workshop presentation and virtual video workshops for adults, supporting the Montgomery County Affordable Housing Conference, by working the registration desk and hosting our annual Minerva Awards, which honors business leaders and young entrepreneurs.
World of Montgomery Public Citizen of the Year Award
World of Montgomery Public Citizen of the Year Winner
Former Congressman Michael Barnes
Michael Barnes was born in Washington, DC and moved to Montgomery County as a teenager. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, studied at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and received his law degree from George Washington University. Mr. Barnes served six years in the US Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve.
Mr. Barnes represented Montgomery County in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1987. He was named “one of the two dozen most powerful Members of Congress” by Almanac of American Politics. The Washington Post called him “the most influential Member of Congress from Maryland or Virginia.” He served as Assistant Majority Whip and chaired the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Metropolitan Affairs Subcommittee of the DC Committee. He co-authored the National Uniform 21 Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 and supported funding the 101 mile METRO and clean-up of Chesapeake Bay Watershed. President Reagan appointed him to the Kissinger Commission on Central America and the President’s Commission on Drunk Driving.
Mr. Barnes currently serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy. Subsequent to his congressional service, he practiced law and served as President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Chair of the Center for National Policy, Chair of the US-Panama Business Council, Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region, and a member of numerous boards of directors including the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, University of Maryland Foundation, Overseas Development Council, Center for International Policy, Public Voice, US Association of Former Members of Congress, US Committee for UNICEF, and Washington Gas. He serves on the National Advisory Boards of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the United Nations Association.