Sharon Britton

Red Cross Volunteer Award

For almost five years, Sharon Britton has dedicated her time to volunteering for the Red Cross. Locally, she helps feed and find homes for people who have been displaced by emergencies and helps with the administrative duties of the office.

On a national level, she serves as the national coordinator of Red Cross emergency response vehicles. The job of figuring out where the vehicles go has taken her to sites of national disasters such as tornadoes and floods throughout the country.

"I've never had a job that has been so physically demanding . . . mentally fatiguing, because you have long days in adverse weather conditions; emotionally draining or spiritually rewarding," the retired Bell Atlantic engineering assistant said. "You don't find all four qualities often in one job."

Britton, 55, recently received the Lewis B. Hershey Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, the highest award given each year by the Montgomery Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Before donating her time, Britton--a self-described Washingtonian who has lived in Montgomery County for half of her life and currently resides in Silver Spring--had no nursing background. However, she knew this is how she wanted to spend her retirement years.

"Back when I was in college I became intrigued with the logistics of disasters and how you get your supplies from point A to point B to M to Q to X," she said.

The award includes a plaque for Britton to keep, as well as her name inscribed on a larger plaque in the front lobby of Montgomery County office of the American Red Cross.

Anita Hilderbrand

Wireless Samaritan Award

Rockville resident Anita Hilderbrand, a D.C. police officer, received a 1999 VITA Wireless Samaritan Award from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. She was honored for luring a man who was threatening to jump off a bridge to use her wireless telephone to call a relative instead of leaping to his death, last August.

She formally received the award at a Washington ceremony last month honoring individuals from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who have used a wireless phone to save lives, reduce crime, help make their communities safer and give support in emergency situations.

Nancy Meyers

Teaching Award for Special Needs

Nancy Meyers, of Rockville, a teacher at the Inova Kellar Center in Fairfax, received the 1999 Margaret Shepherd Teaching Award, which recognizes a Virginia teacher each year who shows a commitment and excellence in teaching students with special needs. Myers received the award from the Virginia Association of Independent Special Education Facilities.

Natalya Balko

Science Fair winner

Natalya Balko, an eighth-grader at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, received first-place honors in the junior division at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Science Fair award ceremony held last month. Her project, "Electromagnetic Pollution: Isn't it Harmful?" also received third place in March at the Annual Montgomery County Science Fair, where she also received recognition from the Air Force, American Nuclear Society and League of Women Voters.

Creative Writing Awards

Nine Howard County students were awarded books with hand-inscribed bookplates from HoCoPoLitSo--the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society. The awards were for creative writing in three categories: personal essay, poetry and short story.

Sadia Iqbal and Ann Y. Lam of Mt. Hebron High School and Meredith Capps of Long Reach High School received honors for personal essay; Sondra Hellstrom of Mt. Hebron High School and Emily Timm and Alicia Beall of Wilde Lake High School received honors for poetry; and in the short story category, awards went to Ariella Cohen of Hammond High School, and Andrea Boyle and Alicia Williams, both of Mt. Hebron High School.

Teachers of the Year

At the end of the school year, the Maryland State Board of Education honored one teacher from each county throughout the state as "teachers of the year." Local teachers receiving these awards were: Diane C. Gerrior, an instrumental music teacher at Severn River Middle School in Anne Arundel County; Joanne Layton Mead, a vocal music teacher at Clarkesville Middle School in Howard County; Shelley S. Johnson, an art teacher at Judith A. Resnick Elementary School in Montgomery County; and Leslie M. Grah, a foreign language teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Center in Prince George's County.

Scholarships

Ari Lipman, of Chevy Chase, received a Truman Scholarship. The award, presented to 79 college juniors last May, includes $30,000 and a chance to attend a Leadership Week in Montana, featuring speakers and seminars in public service-related careers. Lipman, who will enter his senior year this fall, is a social studies major at Harvard College.

Solmaz Pirzadeh, a recent graduate of Springbrook High School, was named a 1999 Toyota Community Scholar and received a $10,000 college scholarship for her community service work.

Rachel Wisniewski, of Columbia, received the Barry Goldwater Award, a $7,500 scholarship for excellence in science, math and engineering established by Congress. She just completed her junior year at the University of Georgia, where she is co-captain of the lacrosse team, which recently won the 1999 Southern Women's Lacrosse League Championship.