Comptroller Franchot today virtually presented the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award to honorees in Anne Arundel, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.
“Whether assisting vulnerable residents, protecting against a natural disaster, comforting sick patients or providing young people with unique opportunities, all four honorees share a desire to help others,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Now more than ever, we need leaders who recognize that there is no ‘I’ in team.”
Monica Alvarado, founder of the nonprofit Feed Anne Arundel, is the Anne Arundel County recipient. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked tirelessly to feed more than 120,000 struggling families and helped more than 100 local businesses keep the lights on. Alvarado, who is also owner and chef of Bread and Butter Kitchen in Eastport, has earned the apt title “Saint Monica” for her efforts.
In Howard County, Ronald Peters was selected for his work to record water levels and help locate flood victims in historic Ellicott City, which was the site of deadly floods in 2016 and 2018. Through his well-placed system of cameras, Peters, an Ellicott City native, saved numerous lives by creating an early warning system to trigger mobile alerts evacuating residents and visitors.
Dr. Marissa Watts was chosen as the Montgomery County recipient for her unwavering, heroic dedication to care for her patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Watts regularly worked well beyond the end of her shift at Shady Grove Medical Center, using her cell phone to help terrified, isolated patients connect with their families and inspiring them to keep fighting. Dr. Watts represents the many selfless medical professionals who truly earned the title “hero” during the past 15 months.
In Prince George’s County, Alexandria Briggs-Blake received the nod for her unyielding efforts on behalf of young minority hockey players. The Washington Capitals fan was instrumental in founding the Tucker Road Ducks, a predominantly African-American youth hockey team. When the ice rink burned down, she went to work building partnerships and leveraging relationships to rebuild the facility and negotiated ice time for the Ducks while the $28 million rink is being completed.
Since 2012, Comptroller Franchot has presented Schaefer Awards to individuals or organizations serving their community in each of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.