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Charlie Riley Foundation awards $27,000 in scholarships, passes several milestones

The Charlie Riley Community Service Scholarship Foundation celebrated several milestones at its recent annual awards ceremony, where it awarded $27,000 in scholarships.

This year the foundation surpassed the $230,000 mark in scholarships awarded over the past 11 years. Also in those 11 years, 229 scholarships have been awarded to Harford County students and fire/EMS personnel.

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The foundation awarded 23 scholarships at this year's awards event held Nov. 14 at the Level Volunteer Fire Company.

The scholarship program honors the memory of the late Charles W. Riley, a 52-year member and chief of Abingdon Volunteer Fire Company and a member of the Harford-Cecil Volunteer Fireman's Association and Maryland State Fireman's Association Halls of Fame. He was also a past president of the Maryland State Fireman's Association and served under four different governors as chairman of the state's training commission.

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Organizers of this year's banquet and awards ceremony said it was a great night to award scholarships honoring young men and women in the local community who have volunteered their services.

Harford County officials have increased the amount of money the county will allocate to fire and EMS services in fiscal 2017, but representatives of both groups have said more money is needed to provide an adequate number of first responders, and keep vehicles and equipment up to date to meet the growing demand for firefighting and medical services.

This year's total of 23 scholarships out of a possible 24 were presented to 12 to seniors from Harford County high schools and 11 Harford County Fire and EMS Service volunteers.

These honorees have served their neighbors through community service, extracurricular activities and leadership. They are all "doers of the word" (the foundation's motto).

The high school honorees, each receiving a $1,000 scholarship to be applied toward higher education, were Shelby Lewis, Joppatowne; Caroline Collins, C. Milton Wright; Tiahna Mitchell, Harford Technical: Nicole Hondrogiannis, Fallston; Mary Olsen, John Carroll; Natalie Salib, Bel Air; Hannah Serrell, Harford Christian School; Alyssa Forero, Havre de Grace; Abigail Brosh, North Harford; Kayla Conklin, Patterson Mill; and Sara Decker, Aberdeen.

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The grand prize award winner, receiving an additional $2,000 scholarship, was Amanda Dorsey from Edgewood High School. Dorsey currently serves as the student member of the Harford County Board of Education.

The members of the Abingdon Fire Company celebrated more than 90 years of serving the community dating back to a time when Abingdon was a mostly agricultural community and did not even had electric service.

The fire and EMS honorees, each receiving $1,000 scholarship to be applied toward higher education, were Donyella Bell, Darlington; Thomas Crites, Aberdeen; Robert Griffith, Fallston; Cristy Polk, Level; Brian Minutoli, Susquehanna Hose; Kaitlan Porter, Jarrettsville; Christina Sides, Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps; Delaney Miller, Bel Air; Elise Joyce, Norrisville; and Bryan Dailey, Joppa-Magnolia.

The grand prize award winner, receiving an additional $2,000 scholarship, was Jaeyoung Yang from Abingdon fire company.

The foundation's directors said they are very proud of all the scholarship winners, and the banquet was a huge success. Among those attending were Mr. Riley's widow, Phoebe V. "Sis" Riley, and his sons, Charles A. "Chip" Riley and Bruce Riley.

Two additional awards were presented at this year's banquet. The foundation's support award was given to Mary and Jim Elliott and the foundation's service award was given to Richard Brooks III, the voice of the foundation.

The foundation also honored its honorary board of director members for 2016: Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, Director of Administration Billy Boniface, Howard McComas, Tony Meoli, Eileen Rehrmann, Bill Seccurro, Pat Skebeck and Libby Parris.

The foundation directors said they would like to thank the Level fire company, Level Ladies Auxiliary, Tri-state Trophies, guest speakers Lauren Hawkins and Samantha Harris, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, Harford County Council members Chad Shrodes, Patrick Vincenti, Curtis Beulah, Joe Woods and Mike Perrone, state Sen. Wayne Norman, Del. Teresa Reilly and her husband, Jim, Harford County Firemen's Association President Rusty Eyre and a special thanks Johnny Valentini.

They also thanked all of the table sponsors and supporters. They couldn't do what they do without their generosity and assistance.

Tim Reca of Harford Cable Network taped the event; see the HCN schedule for viewing times.

For more information about the Charlie Riley Community Service Scholarship Foundation and how to help honor deserving Harford County young people, visit the foundation's web site, www.crcssf.com.

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