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GOCA names its 39th annual award winners
by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Bob McHale is the Greater Olney Civic Association’s Howard J. Garber Memorial Citizen of the Year award recipient.
Other winners of the civic association’s annual awards, which recognize individuals, groups and organizations that have made a noteworthy volunteer effort or have gone above and beyond to enhance the quality of life in the community, are Chris Centineo and Phil Wilk, Contribution to the Community; Maya Wolf, Youth Contribution to the Community; Kathy Curtis, GOCA Worker of the Year; and Marilyn Simonds and Matt Zaborsky, the Ronald Berger Memorial Heritage Award.
“Each year, it is fitting for GOCA to honor those among us who have given so much to enrich our lives,” said Greg Intoccia, the organization’s president. “By their deeds, they inspire us. By giving of themselves, they have helped to transform us into the vibrant, caring, and friendly community that Olney is today. We are grateful for their contributions in building a strong community.”
The 2016 winners were selected from a large pool of nominees submitted by the community and voted on by the organization’s membership.
“Olney is a unique place in the county because the people who live here care and get involved,” said Barbara Falcigno, GOCA Awards co-chairwoman. “The GOCA Awards ceremony is the community’s opportunity to recognize these special people.”
The award winners will be honored at the 39th annual Awards Ceremony on March 19 at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney.
A reception will begin at 2 p.m. and the awards will be presented at 3 p.m. Elected officials and community leaders will attend. The public is encouraged to attend to show support for the volunteer work the winners have done, GOCA officials said.
The following information was provided by GOCA:
Howard J. Garber Citizen of the Year Award — Bob McHale
In addition to being a father of eight children, a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church choir, a teacher and a safety/training manager, McHale has made a significant contribution to the Olney community as Scoutmaster of Troop 89. He inspires both youths and adults to reach not only for the highest levels of scouting knowledge, but also for personal growth and developing into future community leaders.
“Working with youth takes special talent and lots of patience,” Falcigno said. “Bob knows just how to inspire everyone around him.”
Contribution to the Community Awards — Chris Centineo and Phil Wilk
Centineo began his journey with Harris Teeter in 2012. He suffers from short-term memory loss due to an arterial venial malformation, which was undetected until it burst at age 19. He takes pride in serving his customers. He can regularly be seen holding his umbrella over a customer’s head on a rainy day while he pushes the shopping cart to the car or streaking across the parking lot to ensure a customer does not have to load his or her own groceries.
Wilk, after noticing anti-war supporters at the intersection of Routes 97/108 in Olney, organized another group, “Support the Troops,” to support the military. Each Saturday morning for the past 11 years, members of the group gathered at the corner, even after he moved from Olney to southern Maryland. Although the weekly rallies recently ended, Wilk plans to return to the corner occasionally to continue his support of U.S. troops.
Youth Contribution to the Community Award — Maya Wolf
Wolf exemplifies selfless giving to others, having earned over 400 Service Learning Hours. Her work includes helping children with mental and physical disabilities, shelter animals, the homeless and the environment. Some of her commitments include volunteering at a YMCA family rock climbing activity, as a companion for retired seniors, at Olney library, as a teen mentor for Project Change’s Student Learning Institute and as a camp counselor.
“Maya’s dedication to service is amazing,” Falcigno said.
GOCA Worker of the Year Award — Kathy Curtis
Over the years, Curtis has served GOCA as her homeowner’s association representative and as vice president and treasurer. She has chaired the by-laws committee twice. When she presented the most recent changes to the GOCA representatives, she presented all materials in a very clear and organized way, which led to unanimous approval.
Ron Berger Heritage Award Winners — Marilyn Simonds and Matt Zaborsky
Simonds recently turned 90 years old and has been involved with Olney Help for 25 years, serving as its director for more than 14 years. She recently spearheaded the near-completion of a new pantry, a project that will be celebrated publicly in May. She also volunteers at the MedStar Montgomery Medical Center gift shop through the Women’s Board, the Women’s Association of Oakdale Church, Manna Food Center, Suburban Hospital and the Homemakers Club.
Zaborsky is always willing to step up to do whatever is needed. He has held several offices in GOCA, including president, and as an officer of the Norbeck Meadows Civic Association. He has also served on the Mid-County Services Advisory Board and as the District 4 community representative for the Citizen Advisory Board for Traffic Issues. He has continued serving on GOCA’s nomination committee and has emceed the annual GOCA Awards Ceremony for many years.
Terri Hogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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