After receiving a record number of nominations for the 2009 Community Quarterback Award, the Baltimore Ravens selected three deserving Maryland volunteers for recognition. The award, funded by NFL Charities and the Ravens All Community Team Foundation (RACTF), celebrates outstanding volunteers who demonstrate leadership, dedication and a commitment to bettering Maryland communities.
The Ravens will host these three additional "quarterbacks" when Baltimore takes on the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 22, with all of this year's honorees being recognized in a pre-game ceremony at M&T Bank Stadium. Each individual will receive tickets for themselves and a guest, as well as Ravens gifts and a $2,000 grant for their respective non-profit organization.
The 2009 Community Quarterbacks and their accomplishments are listed below:
*"One Smart Cookie"
*Matt Beck, The American Cancer Society
Like many people, Matt Beck's family was personally affected by cancer. The River Hill High School senior's reaction to his uncle and second cousin's diagnosis is what sets him apart. Using his grandmother's recipes for triple chocolate chip and mint cookies, Matt began his "Cookies for Cancer" project. His dedication and innovation allowed him to raise over $36,000 for cancer research and the effort to find a cure. Although Matt will be venturing on to college next fall, he's hoping to continue this "sweet" tradition.
*"Pajama Parties with a Purpose"
*Debi Katzenberger, Casey Cares Foundation
Debi Katzenberger knows how uncomfortable a hospital can be for a child; she saw it first hand while her granddaughter Kamryn fought leukemia. After Kamryn passed away, Debi wanted to spread a little bit of comfort to pediatric patients on extended hospital stays. Knowing that Kamryn always felt better when she replaced her scratchy hospital gown with a new pair of pajamas, Debi created "Kami's Jammies." Debi has organized p.j. drives, created care packages and fostered the growth of this program for the Casey Cares Foundation. Thanks to her tireless efforts, more than 1,500 children have been recipients of "Kami's Jammies."
*"A Green Thumb and a Heart of Gold"
*Lewis Sharpe, The Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, Inc. (HEBCAC)
What began as the site of an alley in extreme disrepair has now become a beautiful vegetable garden. This urban oasis known as the Duncan Street Miracle Garden is a reality thanks in large part to the diligent work of Lewis Sharpe. Over the past 18 years, Lewis has dedicated his time and gardening know-how to the community. According to those who nominated him for this award, "The Duncan Street Miracle Garden is an example of what is possible for a community to accomplish with dedicated people and a willingness to do better. Mr. Sharpe is to be commended for his dedication and hard work."
Due to the overwhelming response, the Ravens chose to recognize five additional individuals with $1,000 grants for the work they've done to improve Maryland communities:
Becki Hutchison Girl Scouts of Central Maryland – Troop 2422
Janice Jackson Women Embracing Abilities Now
Anne O'Brien The Tyanna Foundation
Frank Reinhart Alzheimer's Association – Greater Maryland Chapter
Gilbert Seibel Wheels for Prostate Cancer Research Inc.