Special recognition for SPAN Inc. volunteers, ASPIRE
Special recognition for SPAN Inc. volunteers, ASPIRE
Joann McKnab was first drawn to SPAN with a desire to make a difference; and she has!! For over five years, Joann has been on SPAN’s Board of Directors, representing St. Andrews by the Bay Catholic Church, involved with several fundraisers, including SPAN’s 5K walk run and the Holiday Caring Program and most recently training to be a SPAN interviewer.
Having had her own insurance agency for over 22 years, Joann is no stranger to helping people through difficult times. She saw firsthand how it is necessary for the community to work together to help our neighbors. “SPAN is truly a team effort with churches of all denominations, community and businesses working together to help those in need. Many people want to help but don’t know how, SPAN is an excellent starting point as it helps those in need in our neighborhood and communities”.
Staying busy, Joann takes care of a family of 5, along with 2 dogs, 2 fish and a gerbil, and still finds time to help others. “I was taught that charity begins at home and SPAN helps is a way for us to help those in our own neighborhood and nearby community”.
Being a part of SPAN’s elite team of volunteers; Joann McKnab is Making a Difference Everyday A Difference Today That Will Last for Many Tomorrows.
SPAN’s volunteer, Fran Seaman was recognized by the Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal and Enhancement (ASPIRE) at the organization’s annual Community Leadership Awards banquet.
In July of 2009, Fran walked through the doors of SPAN with the desire to make a positive difference in our community. Fran immediately became an intricate part of SPAN’s total operation. She is a client interviewer and assists clients on a one to one basis to determine how we can help, is on SPAN’s Board of Directors representing our partner church, Severna Park United Methodist, and also a member of SPAN’S review committee.
Whether working directly or indirectly with our clients, Fran faces unique and sometimes overwhelming challenges in responding to the needs of our neighbors. Her devotion in helping families through critical situations never falters, and her compassion has no boundaries. From assisting our neighbors, to clearing the entry way after a storm, creating and maintaining a data base, to assisting with the Holiday and Easter Caring programs, or encouraging others to do whatever they can, her passion to help our community remains strong.
When asked why you volunteer at SPAN, Fran said “because I really am touched by the significant challenges many people experience in our community just to stay warm or to feed their family. It makes me a passionate supporter of SPAN; it makes me want to be there and volunteer in different ways.”
Because of her endless energy, dedication, and love for her neighbors, Francie Seaman is making a difference every day – and together – we are making a difference today that will last for many tomorrows.
Alice Kirwan’s ability to help people is matched only by her humility. A pantry helper at SPAN, Kirwan credits much of her volunteer journey to the people around her, although she carries with her an amazing track record of service.
Kirwan began her service in Pennsylvania after a move from her hometown of Severn. She began volunteering at a food pantry in 1998. Kirwan worked with the clients in the front end of the pantry, distributing food and supplies to those who came seeking help.
In 2006, Kirwan returned to her birth state, making a move from Pennsylvania to Severna Park. After some time, Kirwan had the urge to volunteer again. A friend, who has since moved away, volunteered with SPAN at the time. Kirwan described her involvement process simply by stating, “I went with her one Tuesday morning and stayed.”
Kirwan now volunteers in the back of the food pantry, accepting donations, sorting them into appropriate categories, marking expiration dates and putting everything into its proper place. While she certainly enjoyed her service in Pennsylvania, Kirwan said she prefers the responsibilities of her current position with SPAN. “I’m an organizer, so I like getting in there and getting it all squared away,” Kirwan said about her sorting and stacking duties.
Her most recent accomplishment at SPAN was helping during a delivery from Severn School. Kirwan, along with other volunteers, were responsible for sorting and stacking what she called “thousands” of donations that ranged from food to toiletries. Her work thus far at SPAN has not sheltered her from such challenges. During the remodel of the SPAN building, the county required that all cans located in the basement be moved into a 53-foot carrier truck behind the building. Baring the summer heat, Kirwan and fellow volunteers moved the countless cans onto the truck. “That was crazy, said Kirwan. “That whole process of the remodeling was a bit of a challenge, but we got through it.” Despite the challenge of the remodel, Kirwan said she enjoys the space that it now allows, as her Pennsylvania pantry was a single room attached to a church.
Kirwan, who occasionally straightens the pews and provides Sunday doughnuts for her own church, is ready for her next SPAN challenge. “I’m perfectly happy in the pantry,” she said, adding that she can’t see herself doing anything else.
Kirwan stressed the importance of doing volunteer work that brings enjoyment, and she certainly follows her own rule. The number of years Kirwan has been serving with SPAN is a memory lost to great experiences and passionate work. SPAN receives Kirwan’s lively spirit and fervent attitude for service on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, days that she always seems to look forward to. “I like the people I work with,” she said to summarize her experience thus far. “I like what I do there, and we’re doing a good thing.”
On February 26, ASPIRE (Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal, and Enhancement, Inc.) presented Ted Mathison with an ASPIRE Community Leadership Award for his “sustained, positive and visionary leadership” within SPAN “with the goal of serving the larger Severna Park Community.”
Ted fits this description perfectly. He came to SPAN as a pantry worker in 2005, but in 2006 stepped in as President of the Board of Directors because of his well-known administrative ability (He had been CEO of the Baltimore-Washington International Airport for 14 years). During his four-years as President, Ted guided SPAN into the 21st century. Responding to the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act and drawing from resources such as the Maryland Association of Non-Profits, Ted and his committee tied loose ends together, updating and formalizing SPAN’s structure, policies, and procedures. One product of his labors was the Board of Directors’ Handbook and Governance Manual, an important collection of SPAN’s credentials, Bylaws, policies, and procedures for Board members.
After his time as president, Ted took on another challenging and complex mission: management of the reinvention of SPAN’s building—construction of a new addition along with renovations to bring the building up to commercial code. It all started when a SPAN volunteer (who wishes to remain anonymous) had suggested that SPAN’s small porch be enclosed to provide more space for food storage; she donated over $22,000 for the project. According to Ted, “It took 11 months to get the building permit,” dated October 31, 2011. That marked the beginning of an increasingly complicated project that was not for the faint of heart. “Once we started building, we had to bring the building up to code, including a ramp for the handicapped and fireproof wallboard and heavy fire doors, along with many other modifications.” Ted’s expertise, persistence, and dedication guided the process step by step, finally resulting in an Occupancy Permit secured in February 2014. Congratulations and a big thank you to Ted, a wonderful SPAN leader and volunteer.
On February 25, 2015, the Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal and Enhancement (ASPIRE) recognized Judy Harris for given generously of her time in serving the community. For almost two decades Judy has had the vision of helping our neighbors in need. She has been serving on SPAN’s Board of Directors, representing Our Lady of the Fields Catholic Church, and numerous committees, for over 16 years. Judy leads by example, and without expectation of any recognition, she is always ready to go above and beyond to make our community a better place to live. Judy Harris’ endless dedication enables SPAN to make a difference every day – a difference today that will last for many tomorrows.
Former SPAN Board of Directors Member and Board Secretary Debbie Tocknell, was also a recipient of the ASPIRE Award for her service to the community.