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Greater Homewood honors volunteers 'who get things done'

Shortly after he began speaking Thursday night, on Nov. 8, City Councilman Bill Henry stopped, took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves.

Henry was the master of ceremonies at Greater Homewood Community Corp.' dinner and awards ceremony, "Roll Up Your Sleeves!"

Subtitled "Celebrating the People Who Get Things Done," the annual event drew close to 150 people to the student union at Loyola University Maryland to honor volunteers for Greater Homewood, a longtime organization that works to strengthen some 40 communities in north and central Baltimore.

The top award, Volunteer of the Year, went to attorney Sharon Guida, longtime chair of the Charles Village Civic Association's land use and public safety committees.

Guida is known as a strong advocate for that neighborhood at Baltimore City's liquor and zoning board hearings. She is also a member of a citizen's advisory task force on the 25th Street Station development that is planned at Howard and 25th streets.

Guida has lived in Charles Village since the early 1980s, but said she only became active in 1995, when she volunteered to be the first Quad 3 representative to the nascent Charles Village Community Benefits District.

Guida was chosen in May as one of Baltimore's "Top Neighborhood Moms."

The 60-year-old said she is proudest that she has been able to pull Charles Village's main community associations in Harwood, Abell, Old Goucher and Charles Village together to work on safety, sanitation and zoning issues, including comprehensive rezoning.

"We're dealing from a position of (greater) strength and influence," she said.

"If you want to get something done in Charles Village, you're likely going to end up working with Sharon Guida," Henry said.

"Every neighborhood needs an advocate like this, but only Charles Village has her."

Other Greater Homewood honorees include:

• Timothy Armbruster, outgoing president and chief executive officer of the philanthropic Goldsecker Foundation;

• Greater Remington Improvement Association President Judith Kunst;

• 99-year-old Esther Bonnet, of Roland Park, who founded Action in Maturity in Hampden and is still a volunteer at Barclay Elementary/Middle School in Charles Village.

Armbruster, 68, a former Guilford resident who now lives in Ruxton, is stepping down in June 2013. He helped start the 32nd Street Farmers Market in Waverly, as Goldsecker contributed $7,000 with the city as a partner.

Goldsecker, with $95 million in assets now, has given nearly $85 million in grants since Armbruster became CEO in 1979, including $4 million to Greater Homewood, Armbruster said.

Kunst, who has lived in Remington for five years, has been active in helping to beautify and promote economic development in the neighborhood.

Kunst is also active on the 25th Street Station advisory task force, and has worked with the Seawall Development Corp., which has built affordable housing for teachers in the area.

But Kunst is also active in events such as the annual Hauntingdon, a Halloween festival at which she hands out cupcakes.

Kunst told the audience an anecdote about a city liquor board hearing that she and Guida attended.

"Do you know why I love you?" Guida said during the hearing. "I love you because you have follow-through."

"I want you to know that that's what this is about — follow-through," Kunst told the audience.

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