In being presented the Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award, 2019 recipient Paul Weisengoff honored others for their service, including the children he coaches and the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department.
The annual award each year recognizes outstanding volunteer service to the community through the Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks Department.
It was presented during the Annual Meeting on Saturday by Recreation and Parks Program Supervisor Debbie Donahue.
“In August 2003, the Sam Wilkinson Volunteer Award was established here in Ocean Pines in honor of an 8-year-old young boy named Sam Wilkinson who lost his life in a tragic accident at Northside Park in Ocean City. As a way to honor the memory of Sam, and the Wilkinson family for their dedication to Ocean Pines Recreation and Parks, we felt the award would continue on in his name and pay tribute to Sam’s involvement here in the Recreation Department, as well as his father,” Donahue said.
Bob Wilkinson was a volunteer coach both for Ocean Pines and Ocean City recreation programs, she added.
“We’re honoring a gentleman that has been such a great help, not only to our youth programs, but also in the community,” Donahue said.
Originally from Baltimore, Weisengoff moved to the Eastern Shore in 1978 and became an Ocean Pines resident six years later. He retired from the Maryland Division of Corrections in 2016 “and has pretty much become a full-time volunteer in our community,” Donahue said.
Weisengoff is a volunteer coach for the OC Fast Breakers girls’ basketball team, which includes many players from Ocean Pines, according to Donahue. In 2017, he was inducted in the Washington Metropolitan Slow Pitch Softball Hall of Fame, as an umpire.
Donahue said Weisengoff schedules referees and umpires for Ocean Pines’ recreation programs and has helped to restructure recreation rules “to better our programs.”
“He and his Fast Breakers players have volunteered at many of our special events for the past three years,” she said. “He believes in giving back and having the girls learn the same philosophy.”
Weisengoff also referees Ocean Pines youth basketball games.
“As you can see, this gentleman has been and will hopefully continue to be a major asset not only to the Recreation Department, but the community as well. And I’m very lucky to call him my friend,” Donahue said. “He also is pretty handy at catching crabs – and he likes to share.”
Donahue handed Weisengoff the award as the two embraced.
“Thank you for everything!” Donahue said.
Weisengoff, taking the podium, thanked what he called old and new friends in attendance. He was quick to credit the young athletes he coaches for their own volunteerism.
“My kids are great. They help in everything I ask them to do … Fourth of July, Breakfast with Santa, [the] Easter Bunny, whatever,” Weisengoff said. “They come and they willingly give … I do some things, but I couldn’t do it without them.”
As president of the Manklin Meadows Association, Weisengoff said he also wanted to thank the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department for their recent service to the community.
“We had a fire in one of our condo units the other day, and the firemen and the auxiliary was fantastic to our owners,” he said.
Weisengoff said he receives a mailing from the fire department each year asking for contributions. Most years, he admitted, he doesn’t pay much attention to them.
“Guess what? It’s a great organization, so I’m going to ask everybody to please reach out to them and do what you can, because they were awesome,” he said.
To view a video of the award presentation, visit https://youtu.be/bG33ugso4eo?t=682.
Ocean Pines’ Annual Meeting of membership was scheduled on Saturday, Aug. 10. However, because no quorum was established, no official business was conducted.