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Pines will celebrate incoming board and local philanthropists

BERLIN—As the Ocean Pines Chamber
of Commerce prepares to install its 2013/2014 board of directors it will also
take the opportunity during its Oct. 18 banquet to recognize major philanthropic
contributions of a local business, individual and non-profit organization.

The event will have a gangsters
and flappers theme and will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Ocean City/Ocean Pines
Lions club at 12534 Airport Rd, in West Ocean City. Tickets cost $55 each and
packets of tickets can be sponsored in increments of $200 (two tickets), $500
(four tickets) or $800 (eight tickets).

“Does so much for the community”
was how the trio of awardees was frequently described by OPCC Executive
Director Liz Kain-Bolen. It was easy to see why; each had made multi-faceted
giving their modus operandi. 
According to Kain-Bolen, the chamber has “Never had a hard time finding
people who go out of their way to help others in the (Ocean Pines) community.”

During the “Roaring 1920’s”-themed
gala, Kathy Jacobs will be honored in a sense for her way of using technology
and social media to bring much-needed support and awareness to individuals and
issues that need it in the community.

Apart from her day job, as director of
community relations for the upscale Brandywine Senior Living at Fenwick Island,
she has used her acumen on social media like Facebook to rally support for all
sorts of causes and emergencies.

Jacobs,
who was clearly uncomfortable talking about herself, became a virtual fountain
of information at the mention of any of her causes.

“It’s
not about me. It’s about a sense of community,” she said. She described her
role as helping others in the community reach out to those in need. Oftentimes
people want to help, she said, “They just don’t know what to do.”

Jacobs
seemed to prefer targeted, impromptu grassroots giving rather than the broad
fundraising drives of large nonprofit organizations.

When prompted she told of
organizing a Facebook card-writing campaign for a police officer who was
severely injured in a car accident, a meal drive for the loved ones of two
Ocean City police officers who were tragically killed in a helicopter accident
over the summer, a clothing drive for a local family who were displaced by a fire,
a dog food drive upon learning that a financial situation had left a Selbyville
pet resort unable to feed scores of dogs in its care, and coordinating not only
a clothing drive for storm victims in New Jersey who had been devastated by the
effects of Hurricane Sandy, but also following up with a toy drive that allowed
the still-struggling parents to pick gifts they deemed appropriate for their
own children at Christmastime.

Jacobs uses her technological
skills to aid and coordinate on projects that benefit police officers.

One point where her professional
and philanthropic lives co-mingle, she pointed out, is the battle against dementia,
including Alzheimer’s Disease. She says her role with the residents in the
Brandywine community has created a passion within to find ways to increase
awareness and funding in battling dementia-related diseases. It is one of the
few times when she said she aligns her philanthropy with large organizations.

“I normally get involved with
more immediate needs,” Jacobs said. “Those are the times when I sit back and
say ‘What can I do to make a difference?’”

The award for Business of the Year will go to
Atlantic Physical Therapy owner Robert Hammond, who is being honored for his
generous donations of bicycles for needy children during the holidays and
support for Stephen Decatur High School sports programs and the Berlin Little
League.

Hammond takes services he provides at his
facility to an additional level. The center may appear deceptively austere from
the outside, but inside it is divided into two distinctly different service
venues. One side is a physical therapy care center, with personal attendants
for everything from massage and rehabilitation stations to water therapy in one
of the county’s few endless pools, which is heated and allows patients to use
an artificial current as part of the therapy treatment.  The other side is a state of the art
fitness facility with a layout that can accommodate individual, buddy or group
workouts. The treadmills have individual video monitors as well as an
anti-gravity treadmill, which uses air pressure to provide a low-impact way for
users to exercise.

Hammond, no stranger to hard times himself, has
established a “loyalty program” designed to help his long-term patients ensure
their therapy does not end if a sudden inability to pay threatens to cut short
the services they need. He extends free services for patients who may need
additional care after they have maxed out their insurance.

Hammond’s son Robert “Bobby” Hammond III,
explained “We were real poor at one point,” after the family hit hard times when
the family restaurant at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club closed in the 1990’s. The
failed business venture cost the family of six their home, and a dispute with a
local gas company left them without heat for the winter.

Bobby, who has earned a doctorate in physical
therapy from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, recalled his father
telling him when they were chopping wood to heat the home, “Never forget this.
We will get back on top, but never forget.” His father apparently never has,
and shows it not only with the passion and ambition Hammond shows through his tenacious
business drive, but also through the way he has apparently attempted to help
others who are going through economic rough patches.

Hammond said his wife, Jessica is the budget
watcher of the operation and keeps a sharp eye on the spending. Nevertheless,
he said, “We try to never say ‘no.’”

The Atlantic General Hospital Foundation was
named Non-Profit of the Year. The organization is celebrating its 20-year
anniversary said Kain-Bolen, who noted that the efforts of events sponsored by
the foundation, such as its annual “Penguin Swim and gala, have helped with
needed fundraising. The award will be sponsored by the Community Foundation of
the Eastern Shore, she said.

Amid the gangsters and flappers, the incoming
OPCC board and officers will also be recognized. The officers include Gwen
Cordner, of Acquest Title Services, as incoming president; Imad Elali, of Long
& Foster Realtors, as outgoing president; Anna Giles, of Merrill Lynch, as vice
president; Larry Leese, of Larry Leese & Associates, PA,  as treasurer; and Amy Unger, of
Atlantic General Hospital, as Secretary. The board of directors will include Ted
Demetriou, of Demetriou Insurance; Lee Ann Gunning, of Wor-Wic Community
College; Celeste Dove, of Farmer’s Bank of Willards; Jennifer Antonelli, of
Comcast Spotlight; and Will Cathell, of Williams, Moore, Shockley &
Harrison, LLP.

For additional information about the Ocean
Pines Chamber of Commerce’s “Roaring 2013 Banquet,” or to make a reservation,
call 410-641-5306 or e-mail oceanpineschamber.org.