By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 16, 2018) Ocean Pines resident Joe Monteverde on Saturday was presented the annual Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award, recognizing outstanding volunteer service to the community through the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department.
Monteverde was born in central New Jersey and moved to Ocean Pines in 2012, according to Recreation and Parks Program Supervisor Debbie Donahue. He participates in adult recreation programs, including dodge ball, kickball and soccer, and volunteers with multiple children’s programs and during special events.
“He has an 11-year-old daughter, Alyssa, that keeps him very busy,” Donahue said, adding Monteverde’s volunteerism had also including being the Easter bunny.
“When I spoke him about the award he was extremely excited and honored,” she said. “He stated, ‘I am extremely honored and proud of this award that tells me that the work I’ve put in these past four years coaching these kids, either being a volunteer or being their coach, has made a difference in these kids’ lives as far as making them happy, having fun through the love of soccer … and being the Easter bunny is pretty cool too.’”
“I started doing this because of [Alyssa],” he said, accepting the award with his daughter during the annual meeting on Saturday. “I put her in the Ocean Pines soccer program when she was very, very little. I volunteered to help coaching, because I love soccer, I love little kids, I love working with them and I look forward to almost every day after work [seeing them].
“These kids just make me smile and make me happy,” Monteverde continued. “I just want to say thank you very much. I’m honored to receive this and I’m going to continue coaching soccer here as long as they let me.”
Donahue, in giving the award, said it was established in 2003 to honor an 8-year-old Ocean Pines boy who lost his life in an accident at Northside Park in Ocean City.
She said the honor was created “as a way of honoring his memory and his family.”
“This award was established to recognize other outstanding individuals who dedicate their time and talents to help others,” Donahue said. “Sam’s father, Bob Wilkinson, was a volunteer at the time for Ocean Pines’ Recreation Department, coaching soccer for many years.”
Sam Wilkinson played soccer and other sports in Ocean Pines, she added.
“Each year the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department honors one volunteer that stands out,” she said. “This year we’re honoring a gentleman that is one of the most pleasant, funny, hard-working people I know.”