Greg Wims Honored for 50 Years of Volunteer Service

On Sunday June 3, close to 200 people attended a celebration honoring Greg Wims for 50 years of volunteer service. Wims has clocked close to 39 thousand volunteer hours and served on over 40 non-profit boards during the five decades.

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett both presented proclamations to Wims at the celebration. Montgomery County Councilmembers Marc Elrich and Sidney Katz gave remarks. Police Chief Tom Manger and Sheriff Darren Popkin thanked Wims for founding the Victim Rights Foundation in 1996.

Wims was introduced with the following paraphrased remarks:

Wims started his volunteer career in 1968 by delivering Thanksgiving baskets to seniors at the Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg. In 1969, he was elected Vice President of the State of Maryland Youth Commission. The next year as President of that organization he played a pivotal role in lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. tn the 1970s, he served as the youngest person ever appointed by the County Executive as Commissioner of the Montgomery County Maryland Human Rights Commission. In this role, he worked with community officials to hire the first African American to the Montgomery County Police Department.

From 1974 to 1976, Wims was the first male Head Start teacher in Montgomery County. In the 1980s he led the Social Concern Committee at the Goshen United Methodist Church and set up a prison ministry program. He also founded United Brothers, Inc; organized the first “gun turn in” program in Montgomery County, and chaired the “Get Out to Vote” campaign.

In the early 1990s, Wims served as the membership chair for the NAACP recruiting more than one thousand new members. In 1994, he was elected president of the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP and one year later he was voted President of the NAACP’s Maryland State Chapter. As a result of his success, Wims was appointed by President Bush as Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration and Board Member of the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts where he personally initiated and chaired an initiative that raised $1 million for the Kennedy Center.

In 1996, in response to the senseless killing of three Washington, DC area women Wims founded and became the volunteer president of the Victim Rights Foundation (VRF), which raises funds to assist victims of crimes, their families and their communities. Wims was also instrumental in forming and supporting the Sniper Victim’s Fund in response to the 2002 sniper attacks in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Eighteen months ago, Wims and the Victim Rights Foundation opened its first preschool in Kenya for 30 students. Today they have 70 students and a waiting list.

Wims has received Hail of Fame awards from the Montgomery County Government, been declared leader of the year by Leadership Montgomery and profiled in the Hall of Fame of the prestigious History Makers initiative which is the largest single collection of prominent African American individuals in the world. He has quietly supported and mentored many young people whose positive contribution to society have yet to be seen but is inevitable.

Wims comes from very humble beginnings. His father left school after the third grade and his mother worked as a day worker cleaning houses. But they instilled in him a strong faith in God and a commitment to work hard and to serve his fellow man. Greg has been a lay reader in the Goshen Methodist Church for as long as he can remember. This 125-year old church was largely built by his grandfather.

Wims has served as President of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club and in numerous other capacities within the club. Four years ago Wims was nominated to serve as the District Governor for the 2017/18 Rotary year. He became the first African American Rotary District Governor in the 107-year history of Rotary in Central Maryland and Washington, D.C. Within the Rotary world the District Governor serves as the representative of the President of Rotary International. It is an extremely important and influential position and is given only to those who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, enthusiasm and sound judgement — qualities that Wims possesses in abundance. After several years in a preparatory role Wims formally assumed the District Governorship on July 1 of last year.

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