Rockefeller Twyman

Md.'s Most Beautiful People Award

Rockefeller Ludwig "Rocky" Twyman didn't plan on becoming a crusader for bone marrow donors. He started out trying to help a friend.

In 1992, Twyman was working at D.C. General Hospital, where a co-worker, Alicia Nelson, had been struggling with a rare form of leukemia and needed a lifesaving bone marrow transplant. When Twyman, of Rockville, learned of the severe shortage among minorities of registered marrow donors, he organized registration drives with the help of the National Marrow Donor Program.

Three years later, Twyman and the Capitol Hill Chorale assembled for a special concert in Nelson's hospital room to lift her spirits. No matching donor was found, and the chorale found itself again singing for Nelson--for her funeral. The experience brought things into focus for Twyman.

"I saw a great need for people to get tested, especially minorities," he said. "Very simple."

Twyman has been named Montgomery County's winner of Maryland's Most Beautiful People Award for his efforts. Twyman, 50, WHUR-FM community affairs coordinator and director of the Capitol Hill Chorale, has registered more than 7,000 potential bone marrow donors on behalf of cancer and sickle cell patients in need of transplants.

Testing is simple. The process takes 10 to 15 minutes and involves filling out a form and donating a tablespoon of blood. The blood is then classified by type and put into an international registry. If a match is found, the donor is called upon to donate bone marrow for transplantation to the recipient--a procedure which, at worst, may cause mild soreness at the back of the pelvis for several days.

"People are afraid of needles, but you really could save a life if you match somebody," Twyman said. "Show a little love. Roll up that sleeve."

At WHUR-FM since 1995, Twyman enlisted Triscina Grey, host of the "Cafe 96" program, to use some of her air time to interview people who are looking for matches, to promote registration drives and to donate prizes to those who bring the most people to a drive.

Twyman now is planning a trip to South Africa to spread the word about marrow registration, hoping its black-majority population can help people of African descent worldwide in need of lifesaving, matching bone marrow. "We need to explore outside of this area," he said, adding: "This thing has really been a mission of love. It's such a joy to see people helped from this."

To register your bone marrow type, call the National Marrow Donor Program at 301-496-0572.

Sharon Einbinder Friedman

Received ATHENA Award

Sharon Einbinder Friedman, of Silver Spring, has received the ATHENA Award in recognition of her professional excellence and community service. The award was presented by the Women Business Owners of Montgomery County, the Rockville Chamber of Commerce and the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development.

Friedman, executive director of the Mental Health Association, is one of the founders of the Montgomery Work/Life Alliance, formed in 1999 to help educate the business and professional community on how to attract and retain the best employees. In addition, she has worked professionally and as a volunteer on behalf of women with the Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, the Montgomery County chamber Work-Force Corporation and the Committee for Montgomery.

Pyramid Awards

Employers, individuals honored Pyramid Awards were presented last month to Maryland employers and individuals for their commitment to the employment and full inclusion of people with disabilities. The awards are sponsored by the Montgomery County executive, along with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Human Resources and the Commission on People with Disabilities.

Following is a list of the awards and this year's recipients:

Public Sector Employer Partnership Award With Over 15 Employees: Home Depot, Aspen Hill, Silver Spring; Public Sector Employment Partnership Award With Under 15 Employees: M{+2} Limited, Montgomery Village; Government Employer Partnership Award: National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, Bethesda; Supervisor of the Year Award: Susan L. Spencer, resource teacher, Paint Branch High School, Burtonsville; Margit Meissner Excellence in Transition Award: Steven P. Mathis, Marriott Foundation, Bridges From School to Work, Kensington.

Virginia C. Andary Fund Award: Joseph Knight, Bethesda, and Vikki Washington, Gaithersburg; Nonprofit Partnership Award: Montgomery County Career Transition Center, Rockville; Cory Moore Advocacy Award: Stuart Spielman, Rockville; Kermit Mohn Barrier-Free Design Award Nonprofit Sector: Montgomery Village Foundation, Montgomery Village; Kermit Mohn Barrier-Free Design Award Private Sector: Avery-Hess Realtors, Rockville.

Local Heroes

Five cabdrivers win honor

Five Montgomery County cabdrivers were presented with Local Heroes awards last month. Montgomery County and the Taxicab Services Advisory Committee selected the drivers for their outstanding customer service and for serving as exceptional resources for their companies.

Award winners are: Isaak Boateng, Troy Jones, Ernest Swann and Mohd Asghar Khan of Regency Cab and Michael Thomas of Barwood Cab.

If you wish to nominate a driver as a Local Hero, contact the cab company.

Jean Montgomery

Receives scholarship

Jean Montgomery of Montgomery Blair High School has received a $20,000 Scholarship for Leaders from Wells College in Aurora, N.Y. Wells College's 21st Century Leadership Awards is an annual program honoring young women leaders from the nation's schools based on nominations from their schools.

Erica Edwards

Awarded fellowship

Erica Edwards, a graduate of Springbrook High School in Silver Spring and a 1999 graduate of Spelman College, was selected from among 800 applicants to be a 1999 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Humanistic Studies. The fellowship, awarded by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, provides full tuition and fees and a $14,500 stipend for the first year of studies toward a doctorate. Edwards plans to study comparative literature at Duke University.

Eugene B. Fluckey

Medal of Distinguished Performance

The National Reconnaissance Office has honored retired Navy Rear Adm. Eugene B. Fluckey, of Annapolis, with a Medal of Distinguished Performance.

Fluckey's work with the organization, which designs, builds and operates the nation's spy satellites, was only recently declassified. From 1975 to 1977, he directed the organization's Program C satellite reconnaissance and technical operation group on the East Coast. According to a statement from the reconnaissance office, he was honored for "applying ceaseless energy to major objectives and contributing to the improvement of principal Naval Intelligence programs."

Jean W. Toomer

Humanitarian Award

Former Howard County human rights administrator Jean W. Toomer is the recipient of the 1999 Rev. John W. Holland Humanitarian Award, presented by the Community Action Council.

Toomer, of Columbia, was the first African American administrator of the county's Office of Human Rights, Department of Citizen Services, and served from 1979 to 1989. A member of the Columbia Association since 1972, she was its first African American department head when she served as community services director.

In these capacities, she was involved in numerous efforts promoting good community relations. She helped implement programs in Howard County such as the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday celebration, the Network of Neighbors program for victims of hate crimes and the Community Building in Howard County organization, which promotes good community relations through a series of programs and activities.

In a statement, County Executive James N. Robey (D) said: "Jean Toomer's contributions to this county continue. She served our government for a decade as a talented leader for the Office of Human Rights, and she is still at the forefront of county activities in civil rights, conflict resolution and prejudice reduction."

Larry I. Pekofsky

Recognized for teacher excellence

Larry I. Pekofsky, of Columbia, was selected as this year's recipient of the Middle School Teacher Excellence Award by the Technology Education Association of Maryland. Pekofsky teaches technology education at Elkridge Landing Middle School. The award recognizes the state's most outstanding technology educators.

Gabriel Aries and Ellsworth Jones

Honored for police work

Gabriel Aries has been named the 1998 Police Officer of the Year by the Howard County Police Officers' Association, and Ellsworth Jones is the 1998 Detective of the Year.

Aries was honored for his community service work among Spanish-speaking residents in Harpers Farm and Harpers Choice and for helping solve crimes there. Ellsworth was honored for his methodical work on high-profile, complicated cases, leading to the prosecutions of a computer theft ring and an "identity theft" ring, in which unwitting individuals' credit is ruined by the illegal use of their personal information.