The couple was one of 10 local Jefferson Award winners honored Wednesday evening at an awards ceremony held at the WBOC NewsPlex in Salisbury. A panel of two judges selected Eric as a nominee for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community. Five nominees will be selected as Onassis Award winners at the national ceremony.
About Mary and Ernie Prince
Mary and Ernie Prince, who live in the small community of Quantico in western Wicomico County, were nominated and selected for a 2018 national Jefferson Award for their tireless work helping veterans and senior citizens on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
“What causes me to nominate this retired couple for a Jefferson Award is that their entire lives are dedicated to volunteering,” said Jim Ford, who submitted a letter of nomination for Mary and Ernie. “These two people epitomize the idea of giving back and service.”
That they were nominated for a Jefferson Award isn’t surprising to anyone who knows the couple.
“If you’ve got to include people for volunteerism, that’s a perfect pair. They go together like milk and honey,” said Mike Powers, commander of American Legion Post 64 in Salisbury, Maryland.
Mary and Ernie spend the bulk of their week volunteering at Post 64.
“Ernie is back there washing dishes, catering the tables and Mary makes sure that our buffet line is full,” Powers said. Ernie also does handyman work at the post, whether it be plumbing repairs or mowing the lawn.
In addition, Ernie organizes fishing trips for recovering warriors from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
Mary also volunteers with Mac Inc., Area Agency on Agency, a Salisbury area nonprofit devoted to helping seniors, by working in its healing garden and its Meals on Wheels program, which provides nutritious food to homebound seniors. And if that wasn’t enough, Mary also volunteers with Women Supporting Women, a nonprofit organization
that provides free services and support to all those who are affected by breast cancer. As a breast cancer survivor herself, Mary ensures those fighting the disease know they’re not alone.
Penny Bradford of Women Supporting Women said of Mary, “She’s done everything from pack survivor bags to helping at the walk and giving out T-shirts.”
With all of the volunteer work that they do, all who know Mary and Ernie say there’s no way to recognize just one of them.
“If you see Mary, you’re going to see Ernie. If not right then, five minutes later. They’re
just sort of a joint effort,” said Heather Griswold of Mac.
WBOC’s nine other 2018 Jefferson Awards winners included:
- Bonnie Butt of Deal Island, Md.
- Jay Disharoon of Salisbury, Md.
- Desiree Downs of Milton, Del.
- Richard Henderson of Laurel, Del.
- Larry Kovacs of Dagsboro, Del.
- Brian Laird of Princess Anne, Md.
- Tommy Mason of Pocomoke, Md.
- Ethan Scheiber of Berlin, Md.
- Dominic Stimola of Millsboro, Del.
About the Judges
The judges who served on the nominating committee included Gage Thomas, a businessman who also serves as a member of the Cambridge City Commissioners, and Beverley Thompson, a 2009 Jefferson Award winner and WBOC’s nominee for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community. Beverley announced that this is her last year as a Jefferson Awards judge. We thank her for her years of service.
About the Jefferson Awards
The Jefferson Awards for Public Service are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.
The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.
WBOC TV is proud to be a local partner of the Jefferson Awards. The awards are given annually to volunteers on Delmarva who provide extraordinary public service.