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The Arc Maryland to Honor Andrew Bandstra of the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, among others for work on behalf of people with disabilities

COLUMBIA, MD – The Arc Maryland, the largest statewide advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) has announced the award committee’s selections for The Arc Maryland Annual Statewide Leadership and Advocacy Awards. Honorees will be awarded in a virtual celebration on September 17th at 6:00 p.m.

Ande Kolp, executive director of the organization, shared, “This year was unusually challenging, but just as they have for the past 60 years since The Arc Maryland was born, people with disabilities, their families, and community volunteers and professionals stepped up in incredible ways to advance our mission.  I am so excited for the opportunity to recognize these champions this week.  It will be a night to remember!”

The Arc Maryland’s President’s Cup award winner this year is Shawn Kros, Chief Executive Officer, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region. This award is selected annually by The Arc Maryland’s board president and may be presented to an individual, group or organization that has contributed to the mission and vision of The Arc by providing exceptional commitment to improve the quality of life for people with I/DD.

Shawn has been a dedicated member of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region’s Team for 18 years, living and breathing the values of respect, self-determination, inclusion, and community. She has served as an incredible advocate for people with I/DD across Maryland through her constant testimony in Annapolis, and key input towards statewide initiatives through The Arc Maryland and the Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS).

The Legacy Award will be presented to Liz Burley from Prince George’s County. Liz spent over 40 years working for the Prince George’s County Public School System before retiring in 2018. She is known for her tireless advocacy for students and their families as a Transition Specialist, where she was grounded in the principles of self-determination as she guided students into their careers and lives post-graduation.


Other honorees who will receive awards from The Arc Maryland include:

Carol Custer (Frederick) Outstanding Advocate of the Year Award; Presented for leadership to ensure dignity and further the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Garrett A. Pfeifer, Maryland Brand Management, Inc. (Baltimore) Employer of the Year Award; Presented for exceptional commitment to competitive employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Christine Towne (Howard) Stanley S. Sidle/William Ohge, Jr. Memorial Citizenship Award; Presented for outstanding leadership, inspiration, and contributions to the community.

Christie Burnett (Charles) Professional of the Year Award; Presented for outstanding professional service benefiting the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Norma Dallas (Calvert) and Tracy Davis (Anne Arundel) The Arc Outstanding Employees of the Year: Administration/Program Management Award; Presented for outstanding professional work to support fully inclusive lives for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Chris Collins (Prince George’s) and Cecilia Warren (Baltimore) The Lorraine Sheehan/Bernard A. Gould Award for Governmental Affairs Service; Presented for outstanding work to support fully inclusive lives for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Chris Cook (Harford) and Caprice West (Anne Arundel) School Inclusion Award; Presented for providing quality educational opportunities and creating supportive, inclusive learning environments for students of all abilities.

Shelby Anderson (Harford), Rhonda Braswell (Howard), Dr. Michael Greenberg (Montgomery), and Rachel London (Howard) – Catalyst Award for Community Champions During the COVID-19 Pandemic; Presented for unprecedented, tireless work and creative solutions to prevent illness and encourage continued physical and emotional health of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families through the pandemic.

Senators Clarence Lam (Baltimore and Howard), Melony Griffith (Prince George’s), and Craig Zucker (Montgomery), and Delegates Geraldine Valentino-Smith (Prince George’s) and Joseline Peña-Melnyk (Anne Arundel and Prince George’s) – Legislators of the Year Award; Presented for dedication to protecting and furthering the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families through legislative service and action.

Each chapter of The Arc in Maryland selected one honoree to receive recognition as their Outstanding Direct Support Professional of the Year.


The Outstanding Employee of the Year: Gilbert John Zucchi Direct Support Professional Award is presented to those engaged in direct supports to people with I/DD who exemplify the qualities of Gil Zucchi: superior moral strength and integrity, devotion to individuals with developmental disabilities beyond the call of duty, warm personal relationships, respect, thoughtfulness, and fairness in relationships with persons with developmental disabilities. These employees in Direct Supports have made the greatest contribution to their organizations and the mission of The Arc through both personal and professional efforts.


Awardees for 2020 are:


Heather Edwards, The Arc Baltimore

Chanal Cason, The Arc Carroll County

Dwight Wilson, The Arc Central Chesapeake Region

John Michaels, The Arc of Frederick County

Sarah Moorefield, The Arc Howard County

Justina Nelson, The Arc Montgomery County

Michael Solis, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region

Habim Brown, The Arc Prince George’s County

LaFayette Booth, The Arc Southern Maryland

Hannah Leidig, The Arc Washington County

Deric Gross, The Arc Maryland (Creative Options, Inc.)


Chapter Volunteers of the Year are also selected by each chapter of The Arc to be honored for outstanding service and dedication to The Arc’s mission: to create a world where children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have and enjoy equal rights and opportunities.


Awardees for 2020 are:


Jennifer Balzano and Matt Spooner, The Arc Baltimore

Kristin Zihmer, The Arc Carroll County

Edward Worff, The Arc Central Chesapeake Region

Adriana Toro, The Arc of Frederick County

John Reasner, The Arc Howard County

Alex Barnes, The Arc Maryland

Natalie Wermers, The Arc Montgomery County

Bob Scott, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region

Dana Hinnant, The Arc Prince George’s County

Andrew Bandstra, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, The Arc Southern Maryland

Howard Bowen, The Arc Washington County

For more information about The Arc Maryland and to learn more about the Annual Awards and the honorees, please visit our website at


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