Local HCVFA Volunteers Receive Community Services Scholarships
Harford County, Md. – The Charlie Riley Community Services Scholarship Foundation held its 17th annual awards ceremony at the Level Volunteer Fire Company on Wednesday, November 9, 2022.
A crowd of nearly 200 was in attendance to share the evening with the scholarship nominees from the 12 member companies of the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association. Also in attendance were nominees from the 12 Harford County high schools along with their school administrators.
The foundation annually recognizes fire department members and high school seniors serving their neighbors through community service, extracurricular activities, and leadership, by providing scholarships to help fund each honoree’s pursuit of higher education.
This year’s nominees who serve at HCVFA fire companies are, Cailey Etchison – Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Company; Abbey Huneke – Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company; Alyssa Johnson – Level Volunteer Fire Company; William Lawder – Susquehanna Hose Company; Benjamin Leo – Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps; Sean Mohr – Whiteford Volunteer Fire Company; Seth Panowitz – Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company; and Zachary Shilling – Abingdon Fire Company. Each received a $1,000 scholarship, with Cailey Etchison receiving an additional $2,000 as the grand prize winner.
Each year’s nominees are required to complete a written application to answer questions about their fire department activities, community service activities, career plans and goals for the future, how they can make a positive impact on the community, and their financial need.
Fire department leaders make the final decision on which applications to submit, and the foundation reviews and scores the applications to select its winners.
Wednesday’s awards program began with welcome remarks from Foundation Director and Association Past President Gene Worthington, followed by the invocation. Master of ceremonies duties were conducted by Richard Brooks. Guest speakers this year included Mr. Colin Carr, Director of Secondary Instruction and Performance, and Dr. Sherwood from Harford Community College.
As the honorees were introduced, each was given some time to interact via questions and answers with the MC. Also at that time, recognitions and certificates were given to them by the County Executive, County Council, State Senate and State Delegation. The program concluded with dessert by the Level Ladies Auxiliary. The entire ceremony was recorded by Harford TV, to be shown on their channel.
“The Charlie Riley Community Service Scholarship Foundation is honored to continue the awarding of scholarships to the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association high school cadet program,” the foundation announced. “This funding will provide college level education and career training for the cadets who desire to further their education.”
Students in the program enroll in their school’s Work-Based Learning course by which they leave school for half a day to complete training and other requirements at the Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute. MFRI, under the University of Maryland, is the state’s comprehensive training and education system for emergency services. The program has an exemplary volunteer retention rate and many of its alumni move on to careers in fire, emergency medical services or other public safety professions.
The Charlie Riley Community Service Scholarship Foundation, a 501c non-profit organization, has awarded more than 325 scholarships totaling $430,000 since its inception in 2006. “The foundation gratefully acknowledges its tremendous partnership with the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association,” the foundation stated. “Your support to the foundation has greatly helped to the success to date.”
Each year the foundation conducts fundraising activities to support the scholarship program, putting every dollar into the fund with zero administrative costs. These activities include an annual golf tournament held each May at Geneva Farms Golf Club, a 5K run on Father’s Day weekend, bingo in the fall, a Ravens tailgate party to watch the game on a giant screen, and private donations.
The foundation also annually recognizes someone from the community with its Jerry Anderson, Sr. service award and a support award.
The HCVFA is comprised of 100 percent volunteer fire departments and includes more than 1,500 firefighters, emergency medical personnel and administrative members that serve the community’s fire and life safety needs. To join or learn more about the volunteer fire service in Harford County, visit harfordvolunteer.com or follow Harford Volunteer on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.