In gratitude for more than 45 years of combined exemplary and humble service to neighbors in need, Catholic Charities will recognize three exemplary area servants the week of November 8.
Mary Anne O’Donnell will receive the Msgr. Arthur F. Valenzano Joyful Servant Award. Commissioned to recognize a joyful life and spirit in service, the award honors the spirit of the late rector of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who served on the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees until his passing in 2015. O’Donnell recently retired after six years as the assistant director and chief administrative officer for Catholic Charities of Baltimore. During her nearly 25-year career with the agency, she has worked tirelessly for the people of Maryland, beginning as director of Sarah’s House, then director of Community Services, and initiating, overseeing and implementing countless initiatives and outreaches.
Chesapeake Employers’ Insurance Company Manager of Community Relations Carolyn Gutermuth will receive the Distinguished Service Award. This award is given to an individual or group who exemplifies and significantly supports compassionate caregiving and service through personal commitment to Catholic Charities’ work. Gutermuth personifies these qualities in her volunteer work at My Sister’s Place Women’s Center. For years, Gutermuth has served the women at the center through donation drives, personal gifts, financial support, committee service, and more. She has tirelessly encouraged her circle of professional and personal contacts to become donors and volunteers.
The Anne Lindsey Otenasek Youth Service Award goes to Vinay Khosla. The Dulaney High School has organized members of the Dulaney Key Club to volunteer at Our Daily Bread Employment Center to serve meals. He has also volunteered at St. Vincent’s Villa for the annual Season of Wonder, which includes wrapping presents and decorating various parts of the residential treatment center for children as young as 5 who have significant behavioral or emotional challenges. When the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, Khosla helped organize Baltimore County Mask Makers to provide masks at a time when there was a dire need. This award is in memory of Lindsey Otenasek, who was an energetic teenaged Catholic Charities volunteer when she died in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. The youth service award in her name honors and perpetuates her spirit and personal commitment to helping others. It is given to a high school or college individual or group that shows outstanding volunteer commitment to Catholic Charities.
“It is my esteemed privilege to recognize Mary Anne, Carolyn and Vinay for their contributions to our mission,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Bill McCarthy. “When people like this offer their selfless acts of kindness, they are part of the reason our agency is able to continue to do the works in communities and make an impact throughout Maryland.”
A weeklong celebration of service
#AMovementToServe is a virtual week-long shared celebration recognizing those who serve and those who are served as individuals of value and dignity, with special thanks to those who support the organization’s work. In addition to our three awardees, Catholic Charities will also honor five employees with its Mission in Action Award for extraordinary examples of commitment: Edwina Bell, director of nursing at St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation & Nursing Center; Joyce Brunson, housekeeper at St. Vincent’s Villa; Johanna Miller, program supervisor at Villa Maria Community Resources Behavioral Health Clinics; Michika Karim, child care at Sarah’s House; and Tamara Williams, case manager at My Sister’s Place.
The awardees will all be recognized in video as part of the week-long virtual #AMovementToServe event. The week will also feature podcast conversations with experts discussing senior care, homelessness & poverty prevention, workforce development, immigration, behavioral health, and intellectual & developmental disabilities. Find all content, beginning Nov. 8, at catholiccharities-md.org and on the Catholic Charities Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.