Residents Win Golden Shovel Awards

Montgomery County Council Vice President Nancy Floreen is getting 20 shovels out, but not due to some freak spring storm.

She’s awarding the 2015 Golden Shovel awards to recognize residents who helped neighbors shovel out after snowfalls during the harsh winter of 2014-15.

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The awards will be presented at 9:30 a.m. on April 21 during the Council’s weekly session in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The ceremonies will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and will be streamed live via the Council web site at: .

Floreen initiated the Golden Shovel awards to honor residents who helped neighbors by shoveling walkways and driveways after a snowfall. The 2014-15 winter season in Montgomery County, according to the County Department of Transportation, had seasonal snow totals ranging from 34.4 inches (in the southern part of the county) to 46.6 inches (in northern areas of the county). In addition, there were 20 days when the high temperature for the day was 30 degrees or below.

Residents submitted 97 nominations for the awards this winter. Councilmember Floreen will present 20 Golden Shovel awards at the April 21 ceremonies.

“As I read through the nominations, I recognized how grateful people are for the kindness of their neighbors,” Floreen said in a news release. “Truly these nominees are unsung heroes, so it was difficult to select the winners. All those nominated are certainly deserving of our appreciation, and we thank them for their selflessness.”

The 2015 awardees (in alphabetical order) are as follows:

Bruce Bishop of Bethesda expanded his snow clearing this year to include sidewalks of six houses on Cheshire Drive and was out as late as 10 p.m. to finish the job.

David and Jim Carter of Rockville (brothers aged 72 and 74) unselfishly shoveled out the homes of two elderly, widowed neighbors including the driveways and a completed clearing the sidewalk down the street.

Carey (Gene) Cheek Sr. of Rockville used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks in front of many houses, the neighborhood common areas and more than a dozen driveways of neighbors.

Jeff Clare of Rockville, whom his neighbors refer to as “The Good Samaritan of Rockville,” shoveled his newly met neighbor’s driveway and unexpectedly provided first aid and called 911 when the neighbor collapsed during one storm.

“The Difference Makers” of Takoma Park, a group of Takoma Park Middle School students and advisors, helped many elderly neighbors clear their sidewalks and steps of snow and ice on school snow days and on weekends.

Mike Glasby of Silver Spring heroically shoveled a long, heavily traveled church sidewalk on University Boulevard, enabling safe passage for students of Eastern Middle School and Blair High School students and for many Ride On commuters.

 James Gutmann of Montgomery Village, who is sometimes referred to as “The Snow Angel” of Montgomery Village, received seven neighbor nominations for his tireless shoveling of many walkways, driveways, storm drains and fire hydrants.

Chris Hersman of Chevy Chase, who was called “the epitome of a good neighbor” by one nominator, received 10 Golden Shovel nominations. He diligently worked for hours in the dark snow blowing multiple sidewalks and driveways for neighbors.

Cheryl Leanza of Chevy Chase shoveled several blocks on Grubb Road so children could walk safely to and from school. She also encouraged members of the neighborhood listserv to “be good neighbor” and clear their sidewalks of ice and snow.

Bill McDowell of Silver Spring, who is retired, continued his annual assistance to his neighbors by regularly clearing snow from many of their driveways and went even further by clearing the snow off of their vehicles.

Michael Marshall of Gaithersburg cleared the car, sidewalk, steps and parking space of his neighbor, who has mobility issues, and also shoveled out additional parking spaces in the community so visitors would have a place to park.

John Mayhew, Philip Stack, Ron Kessler and Michael O’Neil of Olney continued their winter storm day ritual of rising early to clear snow for their entire cul-de-sac, including the roadway, and inspiring a spirit of camaraderie throughout the community.

Shannon Shaffer of Kensington, in spite of a bad back, cleared snow from sidewalks, bus stops and mailboxes and then broke up the tough snow packs that were left by snow plows in front of the driveways of his neighbors.

Mark Springuel of Glen Echo, who is an adult with a developmental disability, routinely shoveled the driveway and sidewalks of his elderly neighbor, providing one of the needed services that allows that neighbor to remain living in his long-time home.

Jeanette Steele of Germantown, who is 72 years old and a native of Milwaukee, said that helping her neighbors clear their sidewalks and driveways keeps her in touch with her Midwestern roots.

Tim Tehan of Bethesda regularly cleared the driveways and walkways for his neighbors, including some very grateful ones (on the aptly-named Snow Point Drive), who were recovering from medical problems.

Kurt Zimmerman of Bethesda cleared the sidewalks in his entire neighborhood so that children could get to their bus stops.



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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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