In 2020, the Severna Park Community Center (SPCC) planned to honor Andy Borland, Mark Corneal, Carl Gutschick, Charlie Kreter, Lee Marston, Jeff Norris, Terry Schoener, John Strange and Joan Tiernan at the annual fundraising gala before it was canceled. These nine honorees are considered founding members of the SPCC and dedicated countless hours to establishing the community center that has served the community for over 25 years.
Two of these men, Borland and Gutschick, have made their commitment long term, serving on committees and as members of the board of directors since 1998.
Before the SPCC was founded, the building housed the YMCA. After falling on hard times, the YMCA closed its doors, leaving the land open for developers and no place for the community to gather, play, grow and thrive.
“What they were afraid of is that since it had zoning for townhouses on that corner, that if they had to put it up for sale, somebody would buy it and just build townhouses on that corner,” Gutschick said. “And the building that they had used as the YMCA would be gone, and the services they provided for the community would be gone.”
In 1995, a group of community members, affiliated with Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, arranged for the purchase of the land and established the SPCC, a nonprofit, outreach organization designed to serve the community, particularly the underserved community. While it is no longer directly affiliated with Woods Church, the SPCC still operates under that same mission, to create a recreational space for the community to gather.
“There are people that talk about wanting to make the center a club with dues, and then the place wouldn't be on hard times,” said Borland. “That's not the issue. The issue is that the underserved part of this community would not be able to go there.”
Borland is a retired physical education teacher and legendary Severna Park High School (SPHS) coach. He began working at SPHS in 1963 and coached track and field, wrestling and football. For nearly two decades, Borland was the athletic director and led the Falcons to 42 state titles.
“I know a lot of people, because I taught most of them,” said Borland. “I mean, I have students now that are 75 years old. I know a lot of people in this town.”
Borland, who Gutschick has nicknamed the “mayor of Severna Park,” assisted the SPCC in establishing important relationships. He chaired the capital campaign, a group that raises money for renovations. He also sat on the financial committee and oversaw the weight room. The Andy Borland Gymnasium was named for him, after many community members donated in his name.
Carl Gutschick is an engineer by trade and opened his own business, Gutschick, Little and Weber, P.A., in 1986. He volunteered time with the SPCC at first, but eventually joined the board and even served as the chair of the board.
“I first got involved with the community center before the big renovation took place,” said Gutschick. “I helped out designing a solution to some drainage problems around the old building.”
He has been consulted many times in his volunteer tenure, and according to Borland, has been a tremendous help in completing projects around the center grounds.
Both Borland and Gutschick were recruited by Charlie Kreter. Borland said it took many calls to convince him to come aboard. After saying no many times, Borland made the lifechanging decision to join. He has been all in ever since. The duo said they were happy to be honored, but that was never their intention.
“That's not why we did it, to get notoriety,” explained Gutschick. “So you do feel honored that people notice that we've made meaningful contributions to the center over time. But I guess the main thing is just feeling honored to be on that list, because there's a lot of people there that did a lot for the center over time.”
Although they are both humble, Gutschick and Borland are proud to see the SPCC operating under its original mission.
“It's a sense of pride,” said Borland. “But we're very humble about the whole deal. We don't take credit for it.”
Borland and Gutschick agree that the current staff, and staff members from the past, have worked hard to keep the mission of the founding members.
“We're very happy to have the staff that we do right now, particularly the executive director, Sarah Elder,” said Gutschick. “It's run by a very dedicated and energetic staff that really keep the place in good working order, but they really run the center to accomplish its mission.”