Severna Park leaders gathered at Chartwell Golf & Country Club for the annual ASPIRE Leadership Dinner on March 27.
This year, seven community members were honored with Leadership Awards, and three groups were honored with Heritage Awards.
“The recipients of these awards often demonstrate leadership and a dedication to community service,” said Sandy Spadaro, president of the Association for Severna Park Improvement, Renewal and Enhancement (ASPIRE). “But what sets these awards apart is that their efforts have noticeably improved Severna Park.”
Burgers & Bands for Suicide Prevention
Ann Brennan is an Anne Arundel County entrepreneur with a passion for ending suicide. Five years ago while in a fight to save her child’s life from depression, Brennan started raising funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Her family wanted to bring the fight into their community, which has a high suicide rate. In 2017, Brennan created Burgers and Bands for Suicide Prevention and has since raised more than $60,000 for the AFSP and mental health programs in local schools. Brennan was nominated by the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber of Commerce.
Magothy River Association
Randy Bruns volunteered to oversee the stormwater committee for the Magothy River Association to monitor construction sites for stormwater protective compliance. A detailed approach was adopted using the county website to research new grading permits, and an Excel spreadsheet was created to keep track of findings. Under Bruns’ leadership, the stormwater committee has grown substantially since those early days, including the addition and invaluable support of John Peacock, former chief of inspections.
Greater Severna Park Council
Linda Curry heads the GSPC Airport Noise Committee. As a member of the BWI Roundtable, she has been working to get the Federal Aviation Administration, airport and airlines to understand the destructive effect of the FAA’s NextGen program, which has produced an increase in noise and residue in Severna Park. During construction of the new high school, Curry also successfully led the effort to require AACPS to place an 8-foot fence between her community and the high school property, and to replace trees removed during the construction process.
Severna Park Kiwanis
Alden Gross has been in the Kiwanis family for more than 20 years. He is currently the treasurer for the Severna Park club, and has served as treasurer in other Kiwanis clubs, Circle K and the Key Club since 1996. Gross’ favorite part of Kiwanis is the work of the service projects, because he gets to interact with local residents. He helps to organize park and stream clean-ups, apple sales and project Linus blanket making.
Partners In Care
Since joining PIC in 2017, Pechous has offered her time and talents to support Member Care Services. She contributes a keen ability to listen, empathize and to problem-solve, identifying critical resources that support the quality of life and independence of older adults in the PIC community, bringing patience, organization and a desire to be helpful. Since 2009, Pechous has served as a Stephen Minister at Harundale Presbyterian Church. She plays a key role in planning continuing education, delivers one-on-one Christian care and serves on the outreach committee.
Berrywood Community Association
Since 1979, Bob Royer has remained an active volunteer and advocate for the greater Severna Park and Berrywood communities. He has served on countless neighborhood boards and committees, and recently helped to write a successful grant that earned Berrywood almost $1 million in state and county money to restore Cattail Creek. Royer remains a volunteer for Cattail Caucus, Woods Church, the Severna Park Community Center and the Magothy River Association. He has testified before the Board of Appeals, helping to protect the larger community from overdevelopment.
Severna Park Elks Lodge 2482
Celine Wachter has been a member of the Severna Park Elks Lodge 2482 for seven years. She served the Elks Lodge as Tiler and Esquire, and is currently the Lecturing Knight. In addition, she chairs the Americanism Committee and is chairperson for the 50 Christmas and Easter food baskets that are distributed to needy families. In 2014-2015, she was named Officer of the Year in the lodge. Recently, she was elected Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge 2482 for 2019-2020.
ACAN – Asbury Church Assistance Network
Led by Executive Director Janet Pack, ACAN helps reduce food insecurity and increase the access to healthy, fresh and nutritious foods for both adults and children. The pantry is open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but volunteers work every day.
ACAN provides an average of 1,000 meals per month to people in need in and around Severna Park. In addition, ACAN delivers food to nearly 100 homeless people at BWI Airport. ACAN provides food to a variety of places in the county, such as Rita’s House, Lighthouse, the Stanton Center, Hope House, Chrysalis House and Senior Housing in Glen Burnie. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, meals are provided to an average of 300.
Families can request assistance once a year for help with court-ordered evictions and utility turn-off notices. These funds are sent directly to the landlord, Baltimore Gas & Electric, or the county. More donations are needed because the requests are greater than the funds available.
Lieutenant Wilbur L. Wells, Maryland State Police
Lieutenant Wilbur L. Wells spent 34 years as a state trooper. For 18 years, he was assigned to the Annapolis Barrack, an area of over 90 miles including Severna Park. Wells took great pride in Severna Park and seemed to be always on the job trying to keep the community safe. After dark on his way home, he checked behind buildings, always watching businesses, and even escorted the owners to after-hours “night bank deposits.”
Wells was a Blue and Gold officer for the United States Naval Academy and made history for having 10 students from one school, Severna Park High School, get appointments in one year. Wilbur and his wife, Betty Winkelmeyer Wells, set up the Parent and Sponsor Program for the U.S. Naval Academy, a program that has been successful and is still running today. He also assisted in planning efficient methods for emptying the stadium after football games.
He passed away on March 3, 2018.
The Cisco Center
Founded in 2008 by Cisco (Francis) Nochera and his wife, Carla, the Cisco Center started as a two-week summer camp that turned into a full-year business. Its mission is to provide positive learning experiences for young children with special needs and their families. They assist toddlers, preschoolers and older children who have autism, developmental disabilities, speech/language disorders and learning disabilities.
Cisco Nochero has been a special education pre-school teacher for 41 years and was also director of Camp Greentop, a residential camp for children and adults with special needs, for 22 years. He has received many awards for his teaching and his work with autism and other special needs. Carla Nochera has been a speech and language pathologist for 36 years. She retired from AACPS in 2011 and is now at the Cisco Center full time.