Four Carroll countians are among the newest honorees in the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
Donald Champ, of Eldersburg; Hazel Rectanus and Frances Kane, both of Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster; and Ellen Constantine, of Fairhaven in Sykesville, joined other seniors inducted during the hall of fame's banquet Oct. 23 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.
Nearly 600 people attended the banquet, with 45 inductees from all parts of Maryland.
The Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, incorporated in January 1987, recognizes, acknowledges and honors the volunteer, civic and humanitarian work of individual Maryland senior citizens annually, according to its website.
"My first love is my hospice work," Rectanus said.
Her nomination to the Hall of Fame was based on the eight and a half years she has volunteered for Carroll Hospice's Dove House in Westminster. "It is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done," she said.
Rectanus said she sits with patients at Dove House. "Many patients don't have family, or their family can't be there because they are working. We also help in the kitchen or do whatever is needed," she said of hospice volunteers.
Rectanus also visits folks in the Carroll Lutheran Village Health Care Center and serves on several committees on the Village campus.
Rectanus is an active member of St. Luke's "Winter's" Lutheran Church in New Windsor, where she is a frequent acolyte at services. She volunteers through her church for The Shepherd's Table, which is held every Friday at Westminster United Methodist Church, serving free dinners for the needy. Churches in the area take turns volunteering for The Shepherd's Table.
"You get more out of it than you put in," Rectanus said of volunteerism.
Kane said she believes in being proactive. "Last year I got a petition of 345 signatures together for a bill to go before Congress," she said.
The bill is related to how hospital stays are classified, for the purpose of Medicare coverage.
As a retired medical programmer for the Center for Medicare Services and current chairman of the Residents Health Care Committee at Carroll Lutheran Village, Kane said she is concerned with the rise of Village residents whose hospital stays are being classified as observation rather than inpatient admission, and the impact that can have on patients' out-of-pocket expenses.
Kane said when someone is admitted to the hospital and put on a floor for observation, the care is covered under Medicare Part B but the stay is not considered inpatient. Three consecutive days of inpatient hospitalization, covered under Part A, are required for the patient to be eligible for Medicare coverage if he or she is sent to a nursing home or rehabilitation center.
Kane said the bill would make those observation stays eligible under Part A and therefore save patients thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket expenses.
As a member of the Carroll County chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Kane recently received the Distinguished Annuitant Award from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Federal Employees Program for her contribution to the chapter and the community. Her volunteer service has included working with groups at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, where she is a member. She's served as president of its Wisdom group; been a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, working with the poor; and was a longtime member of the church's Mary Martha Ministry, helping prepare lunches after funeral services.
Eldersburg resident Champ said he thinks people doing things for other people is important.
Champ is active in his church, Wesley Freedom United Methodist in Eldersburg. He said he "has served on just about every committee and board there." He's been chairman of the administration board, chairman of the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, an usher and a liturgist. He's headed five financial campaigns and helps with mailings from the church. He also works once a month in the soup kitchen the church hosts.
Champ is a member of the Freedom District Lions Club. He's served as president twice and is currently the club chaplain and head of the Greeter and Sick Committee. He's chaired the Health Services Committee, lending out medical equipment; chaired the French Fry Committee for 18 years; works on the Pancake Breakfast Committee and the Diabetes Awareness Committee; and has chaired the Citrus Fruit Sales Committee.
Champ has been on Carroll County's Big Band Merry Christmas Committee for three years, raising funds for Access Carroll. He was a longtime scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 110 in Eldersburg, and volunteers with the South Carroll Food Pantry once a month, distributing food to the needy. He's served on the county's Commission on Aging for four years, including as chairman, and has served on the Family Self-Sufficiency Committee through the Carroll County Department of Citizen Services.
Champ is a four-time president of the Carroll County chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and participated in its Walk to End Alzheimer's team 11 times. He's also served on the board of directors for Maryland Federation of NARFE.
Constantine has been a resident at Fairhaven for almost five years. "A couple of years ago, I realized we were missing an opportunity here by not having a thrift shop of some type, so I made the suggestion," she said.
That suggestion turned into The Treasure Shop, a thrift store at Fairhaven that opened in September 2012.
Constantine said she had the idea for the shop while volunteering for Fairhaven's Search and Rescue Committee, cleaning out vacated cottages at the retirement community and packing up glassware and items for the campus Treasure Sale. She said, at the time, "The Treasure Sale was the only fundraiser held to help pay for teachers for classes, gas for the bus and activities that enrich the lives of people that live here."
"We've raised about $24,000 this year," Constantine said of the shop. "But that number includes the Treasure Sale, which raised about $7,000. The employees can now buy furniture and dinnerware and things that are difficult to buy due to their cost."
Constantine works with about 30 volunteers keeping The Treasure Shop open alternating Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shop, located on the ground floor of the Beasman Center at Fairhaven, will open next on Friday, Nov. 7.
She said she spends between 20 and 40 hours a week packing items, organizing and working in the shop, and even more hours with the Search and Rescue Committee.
"I have great volunteers that help me in the shop and help me pack up items," she said. "The public is invited to our Treasure Shop. It is open to everyone."
A journey of service
Lisa Albin, director of Church and Public Relations for Carroll Lutheran Village, attended the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame banquet with the Village inductees. "It's neat to see the depth and breadth of the experience they have and the ways they are involved and making a difference in their community," Albin said of the statewide honorees. "They are being recognized for the good they are doing in their community."
Champ said it was "neat to be at the banquet and hear what others across the state have done. They are our volunteers. What would we do without them?"
"It is quite an honor," Kane said of the award. "You never know where this journey of life will take you."