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Along with Paula Langmead, four other local residents earned distinction as Person of the Year finalists for 2008, and will also be recognized at the Tuesday, Feb. 24 banquet. They are:

Ken Holniker » A longtime Eldersburg resident, activist and philanthropist, Ken Holniker has been involved with local and county organizations for more than 35 years.

He and his late wife, Peggy, have been tremendous backers of the Eldersburg Branch Library, and in fact are credited as being the driving forces behind getting the library built in the 1980s.

Ken maintains a passion for the library to this day -- in large part as a tribute to his beloved late wife. In fact, in 2008, he turned his 80th birthday celebration into a community fundraiser that raised some $2,000 for the library.

But even beyond that gesture of this past year, the Holnikers' legacy includes creation of the M. Peggy Holniker Early Education Fund at Carroll Community College; serving as one of the founders of Beth Shalom in Carroll County; and working on the board of trustees of Carroll Hospice and the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity, among many other efforts.

This past year's celebration accentuates Ken Holniker's body of work, and reminds us of the power that one person -- or one couple -- can have to influence a community for the better.

Craig & Charlie Taylor » After 14 years as the guiding force behind the Sykesville Business Association, Craig Taylor stepped down after the 2008 term and passed the reins of the association over to a new president and board. But the impact of Taylor and his wife and partner, Charlie, will continue to be felt in the community for years to come. Under their leadership, the SBA has become a focal point and champion for merchants on Main Street, serving as an advocate within the town for services and improvements; and a rallying force to help create special events and festivals that bring people to downtown Sykesville.

The annual Sykesville Fall Festival is one of the most anticipated and well-attended events in Carroll County, and the Spring Flower and Artisan Festival is rapidly becoming an event of equal prominence.

Through their leadership and personal toil, the Taylors have helped remind residents throughout South Carroll of the importance of keeping local merchants, and local community spirit, always in mind.

Kari Greenwalt » The longtime director of Sykesville's Gatehouse Museum of History, Greenwalt has been at the center of the museum's regular operation and its special events.

But in recent years, she has also led the effort to create and maintain the annual World War II-era Dinner and Dance, held every Veterans Day at the Sykesville Fire Hall. The dance honors local service men and women of all military eras, inviting them to attend for free and be recognized by the community for their service.

A native of the Sykesville area who once aspired to be a schoolteacher, Greenwalt has helped to teach the importance of being involved with community organizations as well. The year 2008 saw her complete a term as president of the Sykesville-South Carroll Rotary Club, which quietly serves to aid people in need throughout the community and also promotes literacy and service. Greenwalt's effort with the Rotary, and in creating the WWII dinner and dance, are appropriate extensions of her work as museum director, but go further in serving as focal points for community service and remembrance.

Tony Shermeyer » In just his fourth year as head coach of the Century High School football team Tony Shermeyer coached the Knights to a 12-1 season that included Carroll County's first undefeated regular season in 30 years, a first-ever Century football playoff appearance and a Class 2A West Region crown. Century advanced to the state semifinals against nationally-ranked River Hill, and battled the top public school team in the state for three quarters before losing to the Hawks, the two-time Class 2A state titlist.

Shermeyer came to Century High School when the school opened in the fall of 2001. A social studies teacher at the school, he was the defensive coordinator for the Knights' varsity football team from 2001-04 before being promoted to head coach.

Following Century's outstanding 2008 season, Shermeyer was named the 2008 High School Coach of the Year by the Baltimore Ravens.

Get tickets now ...

The 2008 Eldersburg Eagle Person of the Year, Paula Langmead, along with the four finalists, will be honored at a banquet on Tuesday, Feb. 24, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Dept. hall, Route 32 at Freedom Avenue.

Tickets are $27.50 per person, or $200 for a table of eight, with proceeds benefiting a local charity. Ticket reservations are available by calling The Eagle at 410-549-2806, ext. 5004, or 410-795-1992. Reservations should be made by Friday, Feb. 20.

About this award

The Eldersburg Eagle Person of the Year Award originated in 2003, and its first recipient was Ken Whalen of the Freedom Area Recreation Council.

In 2004, the late Harry Haight of Haight Funeral Home was honored for his lifetime of service to the community.

In 2005, Virginia Harrison of the Carroll County Human Relations Commission was honored, and in 2006, the recipient was Patricia Greenwald of the Sykesville Historic Colored Schoolhouse.

Last year's recipient was Kathy Schnorr, drama teacher at Liberty High School.


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