Banner honors volunteers, public servants

CAMBRIDGE — On March 27, the Dorchester Banner once again honored local figures who have made extraordinary contributions to community life, whether through their volunteer work or their professions. Hometown Heroes 2019 was held in the newly renovated American Legion Post 91, before a full room of family, friends and admirers.

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
Hosts of Hometown Heroes 2019 presented certificates to this year’s winners. From the left, they are Banner Advertising Director Dave Cannon, Ollie Jones Jr., Joseph Schulte, Laurie Dean Foster, Dave Bromwell, Calvin Stack Jr., Raymond H. Simmons Jr., Cindy Smith, Dozhia Rahilly, Steve Garvin, Gage Weber, Dr. Steven White, Ben Shannon, and Banner Publisher Darel LaPrade.

“This is the Dorchester Banner’s seventh year of celebrating Dorchester County’s Hometown Heroes,” this newspaper’s special section announced last week. “Since 1897, the Banner’s mission has been to educate and celebrate the Heart of Chesapeake Country, and to fulfill that mission, we have published countless stories about the people who make this community what it is.”

Banner Publisher Darel LaPrade welcomed the award winners and audience, saying that events such as this are particularly valuable in today’s society, which often rewards individuals for relatively unimportant accomplishments. But real heroes, he said, make significant contributions, when and where they are truly needed.

“Heroes are never a day late,” Mr. LaPrade said, adding that their example inspires others. “It seems to me that heroism breeds heroism.”

This year’s winners were:
• Lifetime Achievement – Calvin Stack Jr. was honored for 50 years of active service with Rescue Fire Company (RFC), as well as many related state posts.
• Community Volunteer – Cindy Smith is a founding member of Snip Tuck, Inc., a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats. She also serves on city and county boards, and numerous other local groups.
• Business Volunteer – Laurie Dean Foster is well known for her sunny personality as she serves customers at the Post Office in Cambridge. She also gives her time to many charities and non-profit groups.
• Veteran Leader – Col. Raymond H. Simmons Jr. (U.S. Army Retired) served in Vietnam as a rifle platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division. He has since been active in veterans’ causes.
• Emergency Response – The staff of the Dorchester County Department of Emergency Services were nominated as a group, for their service and dedication.
• Faith/Spiritual – Joseph Schulte started the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Cambridge to help the poor of Dorchester County. The group’s pantry now serves more than 300 families each month. Mr. Schulte also gives his time to the Cambridge Cold Weather Shelter.
• Educator – Cambridge-South Dorchester High School Principal Dave Bromwell has guided local youth for many years, both as an educator and a volunteer coach. He is known for his professionalism and integrity as he serves Dorchester’s students.
• Mentor/Coach – Ollie Jones Jr. has been coaching basketball and football in the county for more than 15 years. He teaches his players not only about sports, but also about the value of education, as well as safe and healthy choices.
• Youth Volunteer – Lee Rose has worked quietly behind the scenes of Cambridge Little League. Known as a problem solver, he is a committed to his activities, while not seeking recognition.

The evening began on a somber note, as host and Banner Advertising Director Dave Cannon asked for a moment of silence in honor of Gerry Boyle, who had died two days previously. Mr. Boyle was involved in a number of local causes, most notably the Ironman triathlons and the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.

When Ms. Foster accepted her award, she remembered her friend. In a voice filled with emotion, she said, “I want to dedicate this to my Hometown Hero, Gerry Boyle.”

Mr. Stack accepted on behalf of his colleagues in the RFC. “This community, there’s nothing better,” he said. “Cambridge is the place.”

“The selection process was an inspiration, and we at the Banner enjoyed learning more about a few of our outstanding citizens,” this newspaper’s statement said. “Dorchester County is full of unsung heroes.”

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