Volunteer: CAROLYN BRANNOCK
Ms. Brannock, who lives north of Westminster, has volunteered since 1986 with the Carroll County chapter of the Unity Group Inc., an organization that provides assistance to battered women and their children.
Unity Group volunteers accompany women to court, take them to the doctor, help them find housing, lend a listening ear and generally provide whatever support they can.
Organization's comments: "She's very compassionate, but also levelheaded," said Angela M. Lee, founder of the group. "She's done an awful lot."
Ms. Lee said Ms. Brannock has done a lot of research and investigation, following court cases and locating legal documents. She has handled news media inquiries for the Unity Group. She also used to work with a support group for battered female inmates of the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women.
Ms. Brannock is also knowledgeable about the needs of incest survivors, and she is "most helpful" in cases where women have been victims of incest, or where children have suffered sexual abuse, Ms. Lee said.
Ms. Lee described Ms. Brannock as "loyal." "She stands by people. She doesn't waver."
She said, "She's very committed to the cause, to seeing improvement in the system . . . In order to stay with it long-term, you've got to have an absolute commitment to bringing about change."
Volunteer's comments: "If you don't get out there and do something about it," Ms. Brannock said, "it won't change."
She said she has experienced abuse herself, and that has been helpful in her work. "Having been there and walked away from it in one piece," she said she has learned she is a better person than she had ever realized.
Helping battered women improve their self-esteem is a large part of the job, she said.
"You have to be there for these people," she said. If a battered woman reaches out for help and there is nobody there, it may be another six months before the woman will work up the courage to call again.
She receives phone calls at all hours. "Sometimes things get very trying," she said.
However, she said, there are several women, "I know, if I wouldn't have been there, they wouldn't be where they are."
Ms. Brannock has sons ages 17 and 24. She said one of the most rewarding aspects of her volunteer work is that they have started looking after troubled friends the same way she does.
"I think they've seen me do it," she said. "They just picked it up."
Volunteer's background: In addition to her work with the Unity Group, Ms. Brannock, 46, is a board member and a volunteer with Survivors of Incest Anonymous, where she staffs a survivors hot line and maintains a library.
She also runs an incest survivors support group in Hanover, Pa.
To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Week, call 751-7900 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Nominations may be faxed to the office at 751-7916.