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by Judith Hruz
The Greater Olney Civic Association might have been delayed in handing out its annual awards thanks to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not daunted.
In fact, the coronavirus put the spotlight on the good deeds of the community, giving the civic association (GOCA) some inspiration on who it should honor.
Many people stepped up to meet the needs of the community during the pandemic, said Carol Frankel, GOCA executive vice president and chair of the GOCA Awards Committee. Those honored by the civic association “are just some of those who made contributions this past year,”
One group that has made an abundance of contributions for 50 years is the Olney Lions Club, named the 2020 Harold J. Garber Citizen of the Year.
“The Olney Lions Club has made many contributions, both by volunteering time and finances, that helped many people and organizations in the Olney area during the past very difficult year,” according to GOCA.
The contributions included conducting an Olney Help Food Drive; delivering meals to the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department and the Fire and Rescue First Responders, providing scholarships, conducting a Holiday Toy Drive, maintaining and decorating the corner at Olney-Sandy Spring and Olney-Laytonsville roads (Route 108 and Georgia Avenue, collecting and donating school supplies, providing medical equipment for local residents, conducting blood drives and making contributions to local charities.
“They are a true asset to the Olney community,” Frankel said.
Lions Club President Wendy Hoover said all money raised by the club in the community goes back to the community.
“We are honored and proud,” Hoover said upon accepting the award.
She said the club will continue to work to help the community.
GOCA celebrated the Olney Lions Club and other award recipients during a Nov. 9 meeting on Zoom.
GOCA Award recipients are generally honored during an in-person celebration in March, but the pandemic has forced a change in those plans. The Lions Club will ride or march in the Olney Days Parade in April as the special grand marshal.
Other 2020 GOCA Award recipients include:
2020 Contribution to the Community Award – Marc Rosendorf — Rosendorf, principal attorney of the Rosendorf Group, has served two stints as a director on the board of the Olney Chamber of Commerce, totaling 15 years. He has contributed his time and expertise to numerous chamber events and functions, according to GOCA. Rosendorf serves as chair of the chamber’s Legislative Committee and is considered the driving force that secured a 15-year lease for the Olney Police Satellite Station.
2020 Contribution to the Community Award – Jay Feinberg — Feinberg was the longest serving member of the volunteer board of directors of Olney Oaks Single Family Homeowners Association (OOSFHOA), serving as board treasurer for 24 years. Feinberg exhibited foresight in co-creating OOSFHOA’s first master plan to set aside adequate capital reserves for maintaining and sustaining that community, GOCA said. He also has contributed to the broader Olney community. In addition to serving as his HOA representative to GOCA for many years, he also served as an officer in two different roles, helped develop the Olney Master Plan update, and served as an assistant scoutmaster for an Olney troop. Feinberg’s even demeanor, fairness and knack for bringing people together for the common good of Olney are the hallmarks of a citizen who deeply cares for and made significant contributions to our Olney community, GOCA said.
2020 Youth Contribution the Community Award – Evie and Aine Lynch — When the pandemic began, it became clear that there would be a great need for face masks. One family in Olney, spearheaded by the two daughters, Evie and Aine Lynch, started filling that need. The 10-year-old daughter started the endeavor and managed orders on Etsy. The 14-year-old daughter handled all social media. They donated masks to those over 65 years old and those in the health care field with every order. Evie and Aine showed great initiative and care for others by filling an important need during the pandemic, GOCA said.
2020 GOCA Worker of the Year – Carol Frenkel — Carol Frenkel has volunteered to serve the Olney community as a GOCA officer and general member for several years. For the past two years, she has taken on the role of managing the annual GOCA Awards. She has had to adapt the awards process to the challenges of the COVID pandemic. “We are grateful for her hard work and effort in making it possible to continue even though it was not possible to have an in-person awards ceremony for the past two years,” GOCA officials said. Her efforts allowed a very important Olney tradition of honoring its citizens for their positive contributions to the community to continue.
GOCA President Hilary Phillips said Frenkel epitomizes someone who works behind the scenes “doing the business people do not see.”
In accepting the award, Frenkel said she had to admit that it was “pretty strange” to accept the award as the chair of the awards committee.
And she laughed when she said, “I did not nominate myself.”
But she said she is honored to work to make sure GOCA celebrates the community.
“One of the greatest things we do is the GOCA Awards,” she said.
2020 Ron Berger Memorial Olney Heritage Award 2020 – Greater Olney Toastmasters — In December 2020, Greater Olney Toastmaster Club celebrated its 50th anniversary of continuous service to members in the Greater Olney area. But members provide so much more for each other than what can be observed in the structured meetings, GOCA said. They support one another through personal challenges as well as by offering professional advice. Members have an exponential impact on the Greater Olney community, serving in numerous roles on the board of Sandy Spring Museum, as an adjunct professor at Montgomery College’s Lifelong Learning Institute, bringing Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program to Farquhar Middle School, volunteering in church, local Boy Scouts and at schools, and serving as a chief election judge in Montgomery County. Greater Olney Toastmasters is, has been and will continue to be an asset to the Greater Olney community, GOCA said.
Karen Deppa, president of the organization, said she graciously accept4ed the award on behalf of the club’s members.
“Greater Olney Toastmasters is deeply honored to receive this recognition from the Greater Olney Civic Association,” she said. “Toastmasters meetings are a supportive and fun place to learn and practice speaking, communication and leadership skills. But the application of those skills in our everyday lives is how Greater Olney Toastmasters members have helped to make Olney a special place to live, work, play, worship and volunteer.”
Deppa added, “Both current and former members of Greater Olney Toastmasters proudly display the spirit of service and community that Ron Berger modeled throughout his life.”
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