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Montgomery Council President Floreen to present Golden Shovel Awards on Tuesday, April 19

For Immediate Release: Monday, April 18, 2016

Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19, will present the 2016 Golden Shovel awards to recognize Montgomery residents who helped neighbors shovel out after snowfalls during the harsh winter of 2015-16. 


The awards will be presented 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 .

Council President Floreen initiated the Golden Shovel awards to honor residents who helped neighbors by shoveling walkways and driveways after a snowfall. According to the County Department of Transportation, the County had an average total snow and ice accumulation of 40.35 inches and snow and ice totals ranging from 32.4 inches (in the southern part of the County) to 53.5 inches (in northern areas of the County) this past winter.


Residents submitted more than 75 nominations for this year’s awards. Council President Floreen will recognize 18 nominees as Golden Shovel award winners at the April 19 ceremonies.


“As I read through the nominations, I recognized how grateful people are for the kindness of their neighbors,” said Council President Floreen. “These nominees are truly 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 2016 awardees (in alphabetical order) are as follows:


Rich Castillo and Family of Olney unselfishly shoveled out the homes and driveways of elderly neighbors.


Tom Cheplo of Bethesda enthusiastically used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks on both sides of the street, driveways and even part of the road. His neighbor said, “He is always helpful and a fine example of a good neighbor and citizen.”


Jeffrey Cohen of Rockville worked tirelessly with only a shovel and manual ice breaker to clear several snow piles allowing safe passage for school children and other neighbors.


Marcus Colyer and his 9-year-old son of Kensington cleared nine driveways, making his neighbors extremely grateful.


Roger Deshaies of Silver Spring used his snowblower to clear the sidewalks and driveways of seven houses on his block. He also cleared the crosswalk entrances at the end of the sidewalk multiple times, enabling children to walk safely to the local middle school.


Moe Gazafroudi of Gaithersburg cleared the driveways in his cul-de-sac. He also cleared a trail path of snow because many in the community use the path to walk their dogs.


Richard Hoye of Bethesda is a previous Golden Shovel Award winner. He continues to clear sidewalks in Bethesda and has invested his own money to purchase snow removal equipment so that he can better help his community.


Christine Kim of Olney, referred to as the “energizer bunny,” shoveled her senior-citizen neighbors’ driveways, walkways, steps and mailbox areas.


John Lee of Wheaton received four neighbor nominations. He cleared almost his entire block of snow, including driveways, walkways and sidewalks.


Andrea McCarren of WUSA Channel 9, while searching for those in need of shoveling in the Storm Tracker 9 vehicle, spotted a Bethesda woman and her young daughter with their snow-buried car. Beyond just worrying about the video she set out to get, Andrea mobilized an “all women shoveling flash mob” to clear and free the car after 20 minutes of rugged digging.


John Malone of Silver Spring organized neighbors to purchase a snow blower and then, when the major storm came in January, he cleared several pathways on his street—including one leading to the local elementary school so the students did not have to walk in the street.


Amy and Brian Palmer of Rockville gave Herculean efforts to clear snow from their neighborhood using shovels, salt and snowblowers. And after street plows left massive ice packs, they broke them up to further make sure the road was passable.


Earl Pfeiffer of Montgomery Village is 82 and shows no sign of slowing down. He tirelessly shoveled walkways and paths to the neighborhood school and with safety in mind, he cleared snow from buried fire hydrants.


Phelps Rogovoy and Casey Scufca of Germantown are neighbors who combined efforts during the major two-day storm to help another neighbor several times clear her driveway and walkway while her husband was away, serving in Afghanistan.


Larry Solomon of Olney assisted approximately 15 homeowners remove snow from their properties, sidewalks and streets. He also cleared sidewalks along both sides of the streets.


Mark Ujczo of Olney worked long hours and used his snow blower to clear his entire block and then went on to clear the public paths in and around the neighborhood common area. He also assisted shoveling out the sidewalks and driveways of several elderly neighbors.


Sofia and Nevan West of Rockville are 12-year-old twin siblings. They not only helped their mother shovel mountains of snow from their property, they also went to help a disabled neighbor shovel their driveway and sidewalk. And when a snow plow became stuck, they helped the driver shovel out the truck and even brought him a soda.


Thom Wolf of Takoma Park regularly cleared the sidewalks after every snowfall. All of his neighbors value his help, especially the elderly, the single mothers and those with physical injuries who could not clear the snow themselves.

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Release ID: 16-121
Media Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939, Delphine Harriston 240-777-7931