The Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners honored two local men Monday for their work with the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation, a nearly 15-year-old nonprofit which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for community projects in Bel Air and the surrounding area.
"They're very reluctant to get the praise heaped on them that they're about to get," Commissioner David Carey said as Bill Cox, the chairman of the foundation, and Don Young, the founding chairman, made their way to the podium to receive town proclamations.
Carey listed a number of projects the foundation has raised money for since it was founded in April 1998. Those projects include nearly $300,000 raised for construction of bleachers at Bel Air High School, $50,000 for improvements to the William A. Humbert Amphitheater in Shamrock Park, $30,000 for restrooms at the Lyn Stacie Getz Creative Playground off Route 24, $10,000 toward construction of Annie's Playground and a climbing wall in Fallston, among others.
Carey said the foundation leaders work "year round" to put on fundraising events and all money raised "goes right back into our community."
Cox, the chairman and a founding member of the foundation, said "it's been a labor of love, really; we have a great group here." Cox is a former state delegate and a real estate broker in town.
"The bottom line is, it's a team effort," he continued. "[If] you don't have a team, you don't get anything accomplished."
Young, the founding chairman and a retired banker, spoke briefly and, along with Cox, acknowledged his fellow foundation members who attended Monday's town meeting.
"We appreciate the community's support, and obviously your support has been tremendous," Young said. "It isn't the two of us, it's the whole team and we have one heck of a team sitting back there."
Bel Air Mayor Eddie Hopkins also received a proclamation Monday.
Hopkins served on the Maryland Municipal League's Hometown Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2012 and was co-chairman in 2010 and 2011.
The HEPAC brings together elected officials, law enforcement officials, emergency managers and other representatives of the state's more than 150 cities and towns to "educate and raise awareness, and help municipalities be prepared for any emergency or catastrophic event," Hopkins said.
Marty Flemion, emergency manager for the City of Laurel and Hopkins' co-chairman of HEPAC, and Aberdeen Police Chief Henry Trabert, who is a law enforcement representative on the committee, presented the proclamation to Hopkins.
"We miss him dearly," Flemion said.
Hopkins told the audience: "When you're recognized by your colleagues and friends in an industry you have a passion for, it really touches home."
In addition to serving as a town elected official, Hopkins is chief of the Bel Air Volunteer Company and a longtime fire and ambulance service member in the county. He is also a former top administrator with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, or MEMA.
Mid-year budget approved
The town commissioners unanimously approved an amendment Monday to increase the town's budget for the 2013 fiscal year by more than $44,000 after hearing a presentation by Finance Director Lisa Moody on the mid-year status of the budget.
The change was needed because of a variety of increases and decreases in expenses and revenues during the first half of the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
A decrease of about $50,000 in health insurance costs was highlighted during the meeting. Moody attributed it to some new employees not electing health coverage for dependents, plus efforts by town officials to promote employee wellness and reduce the number of on-the-job accidents.