Comptroller presents Coats for Kids cam­paign with award

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

ELK­TON

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— When Ki­wa­nis Club of Elk­ton Pres­i­dent Bill McQuis­ton ac­cepted the 2016 Wil­liam Don­ald Schae­fer Help­ing Peo­ple Award for the Coats for Kids cam­paign on Mon­day, he was quick to note that the award doesn’t be­long to his or­ga­ni­za­tion alone.

While the Ki­wa­nis Club has run the cam­paign for the past 10 years, McQuis­ton said the cam­paign wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out the many lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vid­u­als who help out each year. The cam­paign, which col­lects and dis­trib­utes used win­ter coats to chil­dren and adults in need, was started by for­mer Del­e­gate David Ru­dolph in 1986 while he was an as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Elk­ton High School as a com­mu­nity ser­vice project for stu­dents

“On be­half of all of these won­der­ful peo­ple, Ki­wa­nis Club of Elk­ton gra­ciously ac­cepts this award,” McQuis­ton said. “Re­al­iz­ing that we are just the care­tak­ers of that award; that it goes to a lot of dif­fer­ent places around this county.”

Comptroller Peter Fran­chot pre­sented the cam­paign with the award dur­ing a cer­e­mony on Mon­day in Elk­ton.

Es­tab­lished in 2012 to honor Schae­fer, a for­mer gov­er­nor, comptroller and Baltimore mayor, the award is pre­sented in each of Mary­land’s 23 coun­ties and Baltimore City to in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions with an un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to help­ing peo­ple.

“The Coats for Kids cam­paign em­bod­ies what I be­lieve Schae­fer rep­re­sented dur­ing his 50 years in pub­lic life,” Fran­chot said. “Over the last three decades, the Coats for Kids cam­paign has pos­i­tively im­pacted the com­mu­nity, touched the lives of thou­sands of kids and adults and count­less fam­i­lies who have ex­pe­ri­enced the warmth, love and gen­eros­ity of com­plete strangers and neigh­bors across the county.”

Fran­chot said Schae­fer, who was also a World War II vet­eran, rep­re­sented “the lit­tle guy” and con­trib­uted to those in need. Schae­fer’s grave­stone states “he cared” but does not men­tion his ac­com­plish­ments, Fran­chot noted.

“He was known for his leg­endary ‘do it now’ ap­proach and he firmly be­lieved the gov­ern­ment had to be re­spon­sive to its cit­i­zens,” he said. “And per­haps most im­por­tantly that every­one had a re­spon­si­bil­ity and a duty to make a con­tri­bu­tion.”

The cam­paign goes be­yond the club, McQuis­ton said, and re­ceives help from many busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions in the county, such as the YMCA and the Bayside Com­mu­nity Net­work who do­nate coats, hold coat drives and even hold coats for them. He also thanked Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools and the Tome School for dis­tribut­ing in­for­ma­tion about the cam­paign in their schools, which helps drum up par­tic­i­pa­tion.

“But I’d also like to give spe­cial thanks to the cit­i­zens of Ce­cil County be­cause they’re the ones who pro­vide the coats. With­out their gen­eros­ity, we wouldn’t go any­where,” McQuis­ton said.

He noted that once the club col­lects the coats, they are given to Roger Owens, owner of O-Kleen Laun­dry and Dry Clean­ing and Vil­lage Laun­dry, to be cleaned. The coats are then given to the Ce­cil County Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices’s Help Cen­ter, which dis­trib­utes them.

Fran­chot pre­sented Owens with a medal­lion for his help and con­tri­bu­tions to the club since 1986, not­ing he dry-cleaned over 80,000 coats free of charge.

Owens said they are cur­rently pre­par­ing for do­na­tions and some­times re­ceive coats all year, not­ing he’s al­ready made de­liv­er­ies to the Help Cen­ter this year. Other busi­nesses in the county, such as the YMCA, have held their own coat drives as well, he said.

“We don’t turn down any­body that brings in coats,” Owens said. “We’ll take care of it and get them pro­cessed through the sys­tem.”

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, sev­eral speeches were given by county of­fi­fi­fi­cials in­clud­ing County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore and Kelly Kee­ton, spokesper­son for Ce­cil County Pub­lic Schools, among oth­ers.

“In Ce­cil County, I think one of the things to be most proud of are our part­ner­ships that we have,” Kee­ton said. “We truly are a com- mu­nity in ev­ery sense of the word — we work to­gether to do what is needed. The Ki­wa­nis and Roger (Owens) are per­fect ex­am­ples of what we stand for in Ce­cil County: to take on the chal­lenges and to take care of our kids.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Comptroller Peter Fran­chot and Bill McQuis­ton pose for a photo with county of­fi­cials after the cer­e­mony on Mon­day.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Comptroller Peter Fran­chot, cen­ter, gives Bill McQuis­ton, pres­i­dent of the Ki­wa­nis Club of Elk­ton, the award and procla­ma­tion on Mon­day while Roger Owens looks on.

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