Fuller is named to phi­lan­thropy hall of fame

Fuller among four peo­ple hon­ored for sup­port­ing non­profit agen­cies

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By PAUL LAGASSE pla­gasse@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @PaulIndyNews

The Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion of South­ern Mary­land in­ducted four lo­cal phi­lan­thropists — two vol­un­teers, a pas­tor and a CEO — into its Phi­lan­thropy Hall of Fame dur­ing a cer­e­mony Fri­day at the Greater Wal­dorf Jaycees Com­mu­nity Cen­ter.

This year’s hall of fame in­ductees were Grace Fuller, a vol­un­teer with St. Mary’s Car­ing Soup Kitchen, Sum­merseat Farm and the Port of Leonard­town Win­ery; Dar­lene Breck, founder and pres­i­dent of the South­ern Mary­land Busi­ness Cen­ter in White Plains; Mike Hil­son, lead pas­tor at New Life Church in La Plata; and Austin J. “Joe” Slater Jr., pres­i­dent and CEO of the South­ern Mary­land Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive.

Friends and col­leagues lauded the con­tri­bu­tions of the in­ductees at a lun­cheon cer­e­mony at­tended by elected of­fi­cials and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land’s Non­profit In­sti­tute, the Charles County Com­mu­nity Trust and other or­ga­ni­za­tions. South­ern Mary­land News­pa­pers, of which the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent is a part, was one of the event’s spon­sors.

The theme of this year’s event was “Look­ing For­ward, Giv­ing Back.”

Fuller has been ac­tive in the non­profit com­mu­nity in St. Mary’s County for nearly 20 years. As Tues­day crew leader of St. Mary’s Car­ing for 13 years, she planned meals for 60 to 80 peo­ple ev­ery day and helped the or­ga­ni­za­tion feed over 25,000 peo­ple an­nu­ally through the soup kitchen in Lex­ing­ton Park.

Two years ago, Fuller cre­ated a dis­tri­bu­tion net­work with lo­cal food stores to pro­vide ex­cess food that would oth­er­wise be dis­carded to soup kitchens and food pantries around the county.

Fuller, who said that she and her hus­band moved to South­ern Mary­land 38 years ago to find a good place to raise their chil­dren, char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally down­played her con­tri­bu­tions.

“South­ern Mary­land has lots and lots of good-hearted peo­ple,” she said. “I just like to help, help, help.”

Breck, chief judge of the or­phans court for Charles County, is a past pres­i­dent of the Charles County Cham­ber of Com­merce, past board chair of the Univer­sity of Mary­land Charles Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter Foun­da­tion and mem­ber of the Mary­land Com­mis­sion for Women.

In ad­di­tion, she has for years vol­un­teered with Life­Styles of Mary­land Inc., a La Plata-based non­profit that pro­vides ser­vices to the county’s home­less and hous­ing in­se­cure pop­u­la­tions, and served as a grief coun­selor at New Life Church in La Plata.

Anne Reese of Life- Styles in­tro­duced Breck as “an un­sung hero. She’s an in­vis­i­ble en­gine that keeps the wheels turn­ing in lo­cal non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

Breck, how­ever, en­cour­aged the au­di­ence to turn their praise to­ward the staff of Life­Styles with whom she has worked.

“To­gether we’ve come up with some good ideas,” Breck said. “Every­body knows that giv­ing … is a per­sonal de­ci­sion. It nor­mally has to do with some­thing that ei­ther tugs at our heart strings or some­thing we’re aware of in the com­mu­nity or a need that needs to be filled.”

Hil­son, who was un­able to at­tend the lun­cheon, has lived in La Plata with his wife, Tina, since 1999. Un­der Hil­son’s lead­er­ship, New Life Church has sup­ported a num­ber of com­mu­nity non­profit groups and min­istries through­out South­ern Mary­land in­clud­ing Life­Styles, the Mary­land Food Bank, the Charles County Chil­dren’s Aid So­ci­ety, Farm­ing for Hunger and oth­ers.

Un­der the lead­er­ship of Slater, who was also un­able to at­tend, SMECO has con­tin­ued to sup­port lo­cal char­i­ties through mech­a­nisms such as grants, staff vol­un­teer­ing and fundrais­ers like its an­nual golf tour­na­ment and bike ride.


Grace Fuller, a long­time vol­un­teer with char­i­ties in St. Mary’s County, of­fers a few words af­ter her in­duc­tion.

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