A Bel Air Middle School student, a leader of the local police Explorer post, a business owner and a resident were honored for various achievements at the Bel Air town meeting Monday evening.
The Board of Town Commissioners presented a Student Achievement Award to Joshua Rozmiarek, described in his proclamation as “an exceptional young man who always has a smile on his face.”
The Town Board presented a Certificate of Recognition to Jake Stewart, who achieved the highest Explorer rank of captain during his five years with the Bel Air Police Department Explorer Post. Stewart also received a Certificate of Outstanding Service from the police department.
The town Appearance and Beautification Committee bestowed awards for property restoration and appearance to Charles Johnson of Bel Air Assisted Living, 144 N. Hickory Ave., and to Deana Perry for her residence in the 400 block of Catherine Street.
The Town Board also approved a resolution in recognition of Municipal Government Workers Month and honored Planning Director Kevin Small who leads the town goverment’s sustainable efforts.
The town was recently recertified as a Sustainable Maryland Certified community by the Environmental Finance Center of the University of Maryland and recognized by the Maryland Municipal League last month.
Small organized and implemented the town’s sustainability program, often working on his own time with the assistance of several other town employees, many who volunteered their time as well, Mayor Susan Burdette said.
“This has been Kevin’s passion,” she said, while pointing out Bel Air was among the first, if not the first, of the state’s 157 incorporated municipalities to seek and attain sustainable certified status. Currently, just 39 municipalities have received certification or recertification, according to the Environmental Finance Center.
“Why is sustainability important,” the mayor continued. “Our global future depends on it...this has nothing to do with politics.”
At Bel Air Middle School, Joshua Rozmiarek is the student representative to the school-wide Panther Pride Program and maintains a 4.0 grade average, while participating in the History Day Club. He is also a member of the Junior National Honor Society.
Outside of school, he is a volunteer counselor for children at the Makin’ Music Camp in Philadelphia each summer, regularly visits veterans at a VA medical center in West Virginia and volunteers as a child care assistant at Overbook Presbyterian Church, according to the award he was presented with by the Town Board.
He helped coordinate assembling food for the Feed My Starving Children campaign and hand-made get well cards for students to give to a BAMS teacher battling cancer.
“Joshua is a stellar example of what it means to be an outstanding student but, more importantly, what it means to be a leader both in and out of school,” his award states. “He defines what it means to show compassion and empathy for others in need and is always putting other people first.”
Jake Stewart was honored for his “dedication and commitment” to both the Explorer program and his community, as he prepares to leave the program and enter the U.S. Army, where he wants to become a military policeman and eventually enter civilian law enforcement.
“It is that same dedication and commitment which established you as a leader among our youth and your achievement of the highest ranking position of Explorer Captain to which all young men and women should aspire.”
Town Commissioner Brendan Hopkins, who works with the Explorer Program, said Stewart gave more than 750 volunteer hours to the program and the town, an extraordinary commitment of community service.
Town resident French Poole spoke briefly about his admiration of the service to the town of Commissioner Robert Preston, who is stepping down later this month after 15 years of service on the Town Board.
Several of his fellow commissioners also lauded Preston, who received a standing ovation, even though he won’t officially leave the board until the next town meeting on Nov. 20.
“We certainly appreciate all he has done,” Commissioner Philip Einhorn said.
“We’ve never had a meeting or work session that he [Preston] hasn’t attended,” said Burdette, who has been on the board for six years.
The board also approved contracts for chemicals to control tree roots that get into the sewer lines, police department ammunition purchases and police body armor purchases.
The board also agreed to finance up to $459,000 through PNC Bank to purchase vehicles during the current fiscal year.
The 12th annual Chesapeake Cancer Alliance Festival of Trees will be Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-25, at the Bel Air Armory. Times are 4–8 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday.
This holiday tradition features more than 50 decorated everlasting trees and wreaths, gift boutique with 15 vendors, gingerbread houses, children's crafts and activities, bake table and cafe and local entertainment. All proceeds help cancer patients in the community through Cancer LifeNet at the Kaufman Cancer Center in Bel Air.
Small Business Saturday will be observed in Bel Air on Saturday, Nov. 25 from 8 p.m. until closing (hours vary). The event is hosted by the Bel Air Downtown Alliance. For information, visit belairmaryland.org.