For their many years of volunteer service toward furthering youth athletics in the Anne Arundel community, Charlie Becker of Severna Park and Mike Sutphin of Cape St. Claire were recognized by the Department of Recreation and Parks in late January.
Becker And Sutphin Among Locals Honored For Volunteerism By Recreation And Parks
In recognition of their volunteer efforts, nine people and two organizations were honored by the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks in an awards ceremony at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis on January 18. Among those receiving awards were Charlie Becker, longtime president of the Green Hornets, and Mike Sutphin, president of the Cape St. Claire Recreation Council.
Becker was given the Director’s Commitment to Excellence Award, and Sutphin received the Ron Blake Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks director Rick Anthony presented the Director’s Commitment to Excellence Award to Becker to “recognize the efforts of one hardworking individual who stands out as an example of exceptional dedication to the department.”
As president and chairman of the board of the Greater Severna Park Athletic Association, Becker has supported the development of resources, facilities and opportunities for youth athletes in Anne Arundel County through his work with the Green Hornets for more than 30 years. He was influential in implementing initiatives to upgrade the Kinder Park facilities — such as the creation of the turf fields, Bermuda grass fields and lights — and his efforts with the county’s adaptive baseball program known as Challenger Baseball have enhanced opportunities for the county’s disabled youth athletes. His involvement with Severna Park baseball and Green Hornets baseball since the 1980s previously garnered him a Ron Blake Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2003.
Becker gave a straightforward assessment of his volunteer efforts in the county over the years.
“I’m most proud of helping the boys and girls in the community and surrounding area play sports on the fields that have been upgraded,” said Becker, who, as president of Green Hornets, oversees the county’s largest youth sports organization, serving thousands of kids in every sport. Becker specifically cited the work of Green Hornets executive director Josh Banks, executive vice president Drew Larkin and board member Louise Gilmore with helping make the Green Hornets the most efficient youth sports organization in terms of allocating resources and funds.
“We have a lot of volunteers,” said Becker. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without Drew, Josh, Louise and all the volunteers, because they really help so much. I just take care of problems when they arise. I enjoy doing it because I know it helps the boys and girls in the area.”
Said Banks, “Charlie is a very caring person and very meticulous, and he always wants to make sure things are being done the right way. He basically feels that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right. He’s done a ton for this community, but he doesn’t do it for the accolades or to have people tell him he’s done a good job. As much time and effort that he puts into it, it’s a well-deserved award.”
Sutphin received one of the county’s annual Ron Blake Outstanding Volunteer Awards, named for the former recreation advisory board member and community volunteer. The award has been given every year since 1985 to a total of 154 people. It is the county’s top award for volunteers who have dedicated their time, effort and energy to advance the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Sutphin has volunteered with the Cape St. Claire Recreation Council for more than 12 years as a football coach and board member. He has been the Cape football commissioner for nine years and the president of the council for three years, and among other accomplishments, he spearheaded fundraising efforts to improve Bay Head Park by providing a press box, scoreboard and concession stand.
Broadneck football coach Rob Harris said of Sutphin, “Mike is a great guy who has been helping kids fulfill their dreams of playing football. He has given countless hours to give back to the Cape and Broadneck community. He has created a great environment at Bay Head Park on Saturdays. Kids of all ages love the atmosphere and family feel to Cape football.”
Sutphin recognized the contributions of others in helping to make Cape football and the Cape St. Claire recreation organization successful. “It takes a village to make it run,” said Sutphin. “I do it because I love to coach and love the kids. I am most proud of how many kids I’ve coached through the program and what great people they have become on top of good players … I think it’s rewarding to give something back. It’s amazing the tight bonds and lifelong friendships you make with players and parents and other volunteers.”
In addition to Becker and Sutphin, recipients of county awards this year included father-son tandem Charles E. Grey and Charles F. Grey, who clean and maintain Fort Smallwood Park in Pasadena; Dinah Little, event planner and chair of the fine arts committee at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis; and Dave Marcus, a longtime volunteer with Anne Arundel Youth Football Association, Brooklyn Park Athletics, Severn Athletic Club and Glen Burnie Rebels.
The Department of Recreation and Parks also recognized three outstanding youth volunteers: Dylan Craft, a resident of Crownsville who has played in and volunteered with the county’s adaptive sports programs for more than 10 years; Erica Jacobson, a participant in the Volunteer Summer Serve Leadership Challenge at Mayo Beach who assisted with adaptive summer camps; and Matthew Payne, who has promoted wildlife conservation through his myriad efforts at the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary in Lothian.
The department also recognized the Annapolis Bicycle Club and Severn Athletic Club with Organization of the Year awards for the clubs’ varied positive impacts on community building, volunteer coordination and youth opportunity in Anne Arundel County.