And the winner is, Maryland!

Maryland is a really great state.  I know it gets some bad press every once in a while, but it has so much to offer.  From the mountain vistas of Western Maryland; the vibrant urban setting of Baltimore City; the Chesapeake Bay; our rural heritage on display on the Eastern Shore, and the beaches of Ocean City, we have it all.  Beyond just the loveliness of our state, we also have another treasured resource, volunteers.  Each year Maryland celebrates and honors its volunteers at the highest level with the Governor’s Service Awards.

These awards recognize Maryland citizens for their significant volunteer contributions to the life and health of the State and its people.  This year was the 30th year that volunteers were honored for their not so simple acts of giving to the place we call home.  I attended this ceremony to support my fellow volunteer supporters in arms, the Governor’s Office of Service and Volunteerism (GOSV).  If you have never heard of the GOSV, let me fill you in.  The GOSV was founded in 1993; and the office supports 600 AmeriCorps members each year through its grant-making program. In addition, the GOSV advocates for effective volunteer program management and recognizes volunteer service across the state on behalf of the Governor of Maryland.  Each year, over 10,000 Maryland volunteers are recognized by the Governor’s Office through activities and services provided by the GOSV.  Twenty seven Maryland residents were selected to receive Governor’s Service Awards at a ceremony held in Annapolis on November 4.  The recipients were selected in 11 different categories including individual, organizational, and group volunteers. In addition, special recognition was given to individuals and groups celebrating significant accomplishments.  To learn more about the recipients, visit here

Maryland really is the winner in this.  Through the efforts of volunteers, our natural world heals a little more each year.  Volunteers provide countless hours of help to students seeking to improve.  Critically ill Marylanders are provided extra comfort.  Veterans regain their pride as they move towards self sufficiency.  Miles of trails are maintained.  Legal help is offered.   Blood drives are held.  All from folks that value Maryland and the people within it.  Maryland totally wins.  As the holidays roll around once more, maybe you are thinking about volunteering in your community.  Do it!  The GOSV website has links to Volunteer Centers in Maryland, that can offer a place to connect with great volunteer opportunities.  I am going to bet that the folks honored did not start volunteering with any grandiose ideas of awards or recognition; they just wanted to make a difference in Maryland, just like you might be thinking now.  Do it.   Maryland is a great state, and your service will only make it better.

Thank you for connecting with Volunteer Maryland.  Talk to you soon.

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