Have you ever met someone that you just really like from the “git go”? Annette Bourne and her husband Chester are just those kind of people. Great smiles, charming wit, and enjoyable conversations! We met them recently for the first time for a dinner date in Solomons and from the moment we greeted, it was the best evening I have spent in months. We planned to talk for an hour or so while breaking bread, but honestly over three hours later we were still chatting away and, had it not been for another appointment I had to get to, I believe we still would have been there talking and carrying on like a bunch of lifelong friends who had not been together in years!
And the funny thing about Annette, she is very shy and reluctant to speak of her wonderful volunteer efforts on behalf of the needy citizens of the area. I had to coax, maybe even cajole her into wanting to do this interview for me. She says her volunteer work is her way of giving it back for all the benefits of her training and education that permit her to have a good and rewarding life. Besides, she knows her work doesn’t go unnoticed as “her God knows it all”! She had these ideals instilled in her by her grandmother and her mother who always made it a point to help others, no matter how great their own personal needs were. They continually helped others without ever looking for anything in return. Annette feels this has been a blessing for her.
Annette and Chester are both native Calvert Countians having been born and raised here their entire lives. They love this community and I believe they would make excellent “Ambassadors” should the Board of County Commissioners ever adopt a program to help promote our wonderful way of life here along the shores of Bay. Annette finished high school and college. It turns out she and my wife knew each other years ago when they both worked at Calvert Memorial Hospital. She went on and received her Master’s additional training and certifications and is currently working for Johns Hopkins. It is quite apparent to me Annette is a natural when it comes to taking care of others! She shows a refreshing exuberance and nurturing style that makes others comfortable in her presence. I would love the opportunity to speak with one of her patients as she just gives a sense of joy and happiness to others with whom she comes into contact. Her attitude is just perfect for working in the stressful world of medical care! I know full well as you know I have been married to a RN for more than 46 years.
She is most grateful for many things in her life, none more important than her family of ten siblings, all alive and well! Her dad was a soldier in the Army and travelled extensively during his career. He was previously married prior to meeting her mother. Later, as a single mother, mom had to raise Annette and her two brothers and sister on her own. She worked hard to feed the five of them, but strived to ensure there was always enough food on the table for them and anyone else who needed a meal. She made sure Annette and her siblings understood the value of a good education and absolutely saw to it that they made the most of this opportunity. Her mom is now 90 years young and is still inspiring her to do well, for she constantly reminds the family, “no matter what, the Lord will provide”. This is still as important to her today as it was back during the time her mom struggled to keep her family safe and properly prepared for their later lives.
When I asked her more about her volunteer work, she opened up about her contributions to the County’s “Safe Nights” initiatives. This is a great program that is getting more acknowledgement each year for the efforts of many dedicated individuals who give their time and energy to seek out our homeless citizens each winter and provide them the means to get out of the cold, get a warm meal, and transportation as necessary. She has been intimately involved with this group for years. This is a significant problem for which many of our friends and neighbors have not a clue. The numbers grow each year and it is really an eye opener to learn how many people are out there each winter, too proud to beg while having to cope without even the barest of essentials to sustain life. The work accomplished by volunteer people such as Annette is nothing short of heroic and goes mostly unnoticed each year. Thank God we have the number of unselfish citizens that give of themselves to help these poorest of God’s children. I am truly in awe of you all.
Through my own work as a Board Member with the County’s Core Agency, a committee of Department Heads, staffers and volunteers within the Departments of Health and Social Services headed up by Director Mr. David Gale with oversight provided by our County Health Officer Dr. Lawrence Polsky, I have become even more acquainted with the plight of vast numbers of our poor who are unable to put a roof over their heads. It is astonishing for me to think we live in one of the most affluent counties in one of the most affluent states in our Nation and have so many folks who exist among us yet remain below our radar. I know the County’s initiative will begin November 8th to plan for this winter’s preparation. If you wish to know more about how you might help Annette and others with this extremely important work, contact me at the address below and I will direct you to the people in charge.
Annette, I want to thank you for a great interview, but even more for being the great citizen you are! You, with the help of Chester and daughter Nina, have made our Calvert “Beautiful”! I know you did not seek any recognition with this story and I appreciate the fact you do what you do not looking for anything in return. Being bashful is a great trait! My wife wishes I could learn to be more like you!
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.