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Transcript: November 22 – Governor’s Service Awards

GOVERNOR HOGAN: Thank you.  Thank you very much, Steve.  Great job.

Good evening, everybody, it’s really an honor to be here for this 38th annual Governor Service Award.  I want to thank Steve McAdams and his entire team.  They do an amazing job.  I want to thank Nicki Fiocco.  A lot of members of our cabinet and administration are here.  I want to thank them and their teams as well.  I want to thank everyone who’s been involved in organizing this event and giving us this opportunity to recognize some truly outstanding individuals and organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary service to their communities and to the state of Maryland.  This annual celebration recognizes a year of long and often lifetime commitment of countless dedicated volunteers from the faith community, from businesses and nonprofits, along with first responders and other public servants.  We’re especially grateful for all of their efforts over this past year.

The COVID-19 emergency, as Steve mentioned, made serving the community more challenging and more important than ever.  And I want to sincerely thank all of those who worked hard to help us remain Maryland Strong during this difficult time for our state and for our nation.  And it’s thanks to your selflessness and your dedication that Maryland continues to be one of the top states in the nation in volunteering and in service and in charitable giving.  According to AmeriCorps, over 36% of Marylanders actively volunteered in their communities last year.  An incredible 1.7 million Marylanders volunteered nearly 200 million hours of their time helping others.  We’re so proud of the incredible work that is being done all across our state.  I’ve always said that Maryland has some of the kindest and most compassionate citizens in the country.  And we’re proving that once again here tonight.  I want to sincerely congratulate and thank all of our honorees.  I want to thank you for the hard work that you do, each and every day to help us change Maryland for the better.

But I get the honor at this time to present a very special award.  We created the Governor’s Champion of Service award to recognize an outstanding individual or organization that truly embodies the spirit of service.  And this year’s deserving recipient has made it his mission to reach those in need on the frontlines of food insecurity, to ensure that all Marylanders have access to nutritious food and to seek real solutions to address the root causes of hunger in Maryland.  In 2016, he stepped away from a successful 26-year career in the banking industry to join the Maryland Food Bank where he’s now the President and CEO.  Under his leadership, the food bank distributed an incredible 80 million pounds of food between March of 2020 and July of this year.  Which represents an 88% increase over the prior year.  As part of our Maryland Units initiative, food banks across our state stepped up during the COVID-19 energy in a truly inspiring way to help people in need.  And the Maryland Food Bank led that charge.  And it is thanks in large part to the dedication, the passion and the vision of this year’s honoree.

The 2021 Governor’s Champion of Service award goes to Carmen Del Guercio.

Congratulations, Carmen.

Let’s give him a big round of applause.