THE GREATEST GIFT you can give someone is often the gift of time. The 1998 Piney Run Volunteer of the Year is known for giving generously of his time.
Ernie Burkhart was recently named Volunteer of the Year by Piney Run Park and Nature Center Recreation and Conservation Council.
"Ernie is just one of those people who gives all the time," said Lynette Lenz, a naturalist at the park. "We know we can call on him at any time for anything."
Burkhart is serving as the council president. He has represented the council on the Carroll Association of Recreation Councils since its inception in 1995.
In being named Volunteer of the Year, Burkhart was recognized for his efforts in planning and building a playground for disabled children. He also was instrumental in preparations for a wildflower garden and plans for a new kayak storage building.
The Burkhart family is often at the park pitching in wherever needed, especially at the AppleFest, where their peeling and coring skills were put to the test.
"We don't just get Ernie, we get his whole family," said Lenz. "Ernie is here from the time a function starts and stays through cleanup. He is a good friend of the park."
Thanks to the generosity of students at Eldersburg Elementary School, many needy families in Carroll County will receive personal hygiene and laundry products.
Through the efforts of the school PTA and faculty volunteers, two dozen new laundry baskets were filled to overflowing with hygiene, cleaning and paper products for needy families. Nonfood items cannot be purchased with food stamps and are often overlooked in donations.
The baskets were donated to ESCAPE Ministries Inc., a coalition of 20 South Carroll churches dedicated to aiding county residents.
"I was just overwhelmed with the response," said Janet Boyd, executive director of ESCAPE Ministries Inc. "The baskets are filled with all kinds of things people really need -- bath towels, hats and mittens, in addition to all the laundry and cleaning supplies."
Many of the baskets were to be delivered to families during the holiday season while a number would be kept at ESCAPE to be given to individuals who come there to receive nonperishable food items.
"You look at this and say this really is the Christmas spirit," said Nancy Boldt, an office volunteer at ESCAPE. "They did a knockout job."
The Deer Park Recreation Council has lined up a super program for kids with an interest in computers.
Kids in grades three to five are invited to join Deer Park Computer Club, which meets 6: 30 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m. Wednesdays at Mechanicsville Elementary School.
The club will meet in the school's computer lab and will focus on such things as keyboarding skills, word processing, graphics and problem-solving skills.
Instructor Linda Nestor will lead the group in a series of hands-on courses that will be adapted to the skill level of the participants. The group will be limited to 15 students.
The cost is $25 for a six-week session. This session begins Jan. 6 and continues through Feb. 10. A formatted disk will be available at the first class for $1.
For more information or to register, call Nestor at 410-751-5258 or Linda Silfee at 410-876-6639.
Sherry Graham's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.
Pub Date: 12/29/98