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Rec Sports Spotlight: George a jack-of-all-trades as top volunteer

Bob George has done a little bit of everything since he first volunteered to help out the Westminster Baseball Association seven years ago.

Since then, he has become a vital part of the association, which provides in-house and travel baseball for roughly 400 players in the Westminster area. However, over the last year and a half, the resident of Westminster has become virtually indispensable. During that time, George has brought in between $30,000 and $40,000 in financial aid though the county's "self-help" program.

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In recognition of that achievement, the Westminster Area Recreation Council named George as its Volunteer of the Year for 2016. He and 17 other individuals so honored by their respective councils were recognized for their accomplishments at a Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks ceremony Oct. 20.

His volunteerism began as a coach. He managed his daughter Marissa's soccer team when she was young. He also coached his son David's baseball teams, beginning with tee ball and continuing until the youngster, now 12, moved into travel baseball. Since then, George has done almost everything else but coach.

Early on, he took an interest in safety concerns and began working on programs that help coaches protect their players. He became and remains the Association's Safety Commissioner. This involves a number of different functions.

"Most of it is band-aid stuff. They learn some basic first aid. They learn to tell whether a leg bump is a strain or a serious fracture, and they also learn concussion protocol," George said.

He has also worked with those ordering uniforms and trophies for the players. In addition, he is the liaison between the group's umpire scheduler and the individual teams and divisions.

However, his big contribution of late is raising money.

Beginning in 2015, he took over efforts to get funding from the county for badly-needed improvements to two ball diamonds used by Westminster's youth baseball teams.

This involved completing the applications for monies under the county's "self-help" program. Under the program, the county puts up most of the money for projects and the recipients provide a small match plus the labor.

In 2015, he applied for and received the funding to build a fence along the third-base line of a diamond at Avondale Park which lies off Md. 31 between New Windsor and Westminster. The fence was needed to keep baseballs out of nearby yards.

George also had a big hand in the project to convert a small diamond located near Friendship Valley Elementary School into a 90-foot baseball field. Again, he got money from the Self Help program to upgrade the field. Work began last year, and WBA officials hope that teams can use the diamond for practice this spring.

But in both instances, George did more than simply apply for the money. He interviewed and selected the contractors who did the work. George also monitored to insure that the efforts were progressing smoothly in accordance with the projects' specifications which he also devised.

"Over the last two years [George] has been very valuable to these projects. We needed somebody to do this, and he has been huge," WBA president David Downs said.

This past November, George became the WBA's vice president, taking the place of Downs who now occupies the top spot. Downs said he greatly appreciates the efforts of his second-in-command.

"[George] is very detail-oriented and knowledgeable, and he's a very calm guy. He knows a lot of people, and with his contacts, we get a lot done. We make a very good team," Downs said.

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While George says he greatly appreciates the recognition, he notes that folks waited until the last minute to tell him to make it more of a surprise.

"I was totally surprised when I found out I had been named. But they didn't tell me a couple of weeks before. They waited until they absolutely had to tell me," George said.

However, Westminster rec's volunteer of the year stressed that his greatest satisfaction does not come from the things he himself has achieved. It comes from his involvement with a dedicated group of people who all work very hard together to provide recreation outlets for the community's youth.

"My greatest enjoyment has come from being part of this organization and having the support of my wife [Sherry]. It takes a lot of help from everybody to make things work, and I'm happy to be just a small part of it," George said.

410-857-7896

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