A retired Crownsville Hospital Center nurse who describes her extensive volunteer work as her "blessings basket" will be honored today at the annual "Maryland's Most Beautiful People" awards.
Delores Hawkins, a 66-year-old Annapolis resident, will be one of 24 people receiving honors from the state program, "Maryland You are Beautiful," for their volunteer efforts -- one from each of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City. Hawkins said that her "blessings basket" philosophy stems from an experience in her preteen years growing up in New Jersey: She was waiting in line at a store and offered a small sum to a woman in front of her who did not have enough to pay for her purchases.
Hawkins said she then discovered she did not have enough money for her items. Outside the store, she said, a "gentleman" handed her the items she had had to leave behind, saying how impressed he was by her good deed.
"My grandmother told me that was my blessing," she said, "because whenever you do something for someone else, God always makes sure you get it back."
Hawkins, retired after 30 years at Crownsville and a widow since 1992, raised three children and has been raising three grandchildren, now teen-agers, "since they were babies." But she still finds time for volunteer work -- efforts that a family member said in a nomination letter are "a part of her normal everyday life."
"I feel like every time I do something for someone, no matter how small it is, it comes back to me," Hawkins said. "Sometimes it's just a smile you give somebody, or a 'Hello, how do you feel?' "
Among her most satisfying activities, Hawkins said, are her outreach work with Mount Tabor United Methodist Church in Crownsville, helping to coordinate the packaging of food in the Linthicum warehouse of SHARE, a nonprofit, self-help food coop, and helping to promote the Banneker-Douglass Museum in Annapolis. Her activities also have included telling Bible and black history stories at churches and events, and making visits in the "Adopt-a-Friend" program.
Gov. Parris N. Glendening and his wife, Frances Hughes Glendening, are scheduled to present the awards at 7 p.m. in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium of St. John's College in Annapolis. The program is open to the public.