When Edwin F. Dosek, president of the Crofton Civic Association, told residents that Sharon Titcomb was the community's citizen of the year, he said she had overcome "great adversity" while continuing her work with youth athletics.
That may have been an understatement.
Six years ago, Mrs. Titcomb was with her husband, Michael, when he suffered a heart attack on the same athletic field she stood on Saturday to receive her award. He died when he arrived at the hospital.
Three years ago, Mrs. Titcomb herself was stricken; she collapsed at a friend's house from an aneurysm that leaked into her brain. She spent three weeks at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
Today, five months after becoming a grandmother for the first time, the 45-year-old award winner is still active in youth athletics through the Kiwanis Club. Recently, she helped lobby the county for more park land and money to build a new concession stand.
"Just ask, and with enthusiasm she will say, 'Sure, of course, yes,' " Mr. Dosek said while introducing her during the community's annual July 4 celebration. "She devotes endless hours to so many organizations in Crofton.
"She selflessly provides comfort to the older members of our community at the Convalescent Center and at the same time is involved in youth programs," Mr. Dosek said. "She exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism in Crofton."
Mrs. Titcomb was overcome by surprise. She had been asked to come to the field behind the Crofton Elementary School to flip hamburgers and sing "God Bless America" during the Independence Day festivities; only the association members and her family shared the secret.
"I'm overwhelmed," is all she could muster on the stage.
But later, she said giving her time to help the community is the right thing to do. "I feel it is important," she said. "Everybody needs to do their part."
Her family joined her at the field Saturday. They included her son Jim, 23, and her grandson, 5-month-old Michael -- named after his grandfather. Also present was her son Jim, 19, and her twin boys, John and Jason, 12.
Mrs. Titcomb's mother, Francis Oliver, even drove up from Loudon County, Va. "I knew about the well-kept secret," she said.
Also receiving awards in Crofton Saturday were three of the community's police officers, including Officer David Muhl, who unsuccessfully tried to prevent a man from committing suicide last year in front of the Crofton Post Office, and Officer Art Saclolo, for his dedication to the community.
Dave Haller won the 1993 Cardinal of the Year award, for his work on the Crofton Athletic Council. The Cardinal is the council's mascot, and Mr. Haller's son Kevin dressed up in the bird costume to give his father the plaque.
Mr. Dosek received an award from the athletic council recognizing his work and the civic association's dedication to secure funding from the county for new fields. The athletic council started 25 years ago serving 87 boys and now has more than 2,000 youths participating in a variety of sports.