At the risk of appearing too self-congratulatory, we at the Coastal Bays Program are truly thrilled about our win for best overall float in last Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Sure, it’s a bit silly that a group of adults could be positively exuberant over a parade float, but frankly such recognition means a lot to those of us who work in a non-profit sector as well as for the volunteers who help the cause.
A lot of time and effort went into our float, and we couldn’t have done it without the help of the many volunteers who donated items, services, money and energy of time to the project. A great group worked long hours to make our very first entry into the annual Delmarva Irish-American Club 29th St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 14 a success.
We started out with big plans, but quickly realized that not one of the staff or volunteers had ever worked on a parade float before, and the task seemed a bit daunting. Somehow what we envisioned was realized, and after hours of sawing, painting, nailing, gluing, stapling and whatever else needed to be done, we pulled it off. The result was a family oriented ocean and bay themed float, complete with larger than life size homemade starfish, horseshoe crab and octopus costumes.
The staff did our share, of course. Programs Manager Kate Diffenderfer, who wholeheartedly coordinated the project, worked tirelessly and never complained, but we truly couldn’t have done it without the help of a dedicated group of volunteers. A special thank you is in order for our queen of the bays, Ocean City’s own Vera McCullough, who was radiant in her homemade royal dress, seashell crown and clamshell “throne”. Mike Brian of Ocean City’s Surfrider Foundation, Morgan Kaumeyer of AmeriCorp, and Denny Sharp and Jamie Montgomery of High Tide Marine and Su Lane of Sun Signs – you really came through for us. Just as important to our success were Ryan Murphy and Shane Murphy of Go Green Painting & Home Improvements, Victor Bunting, Brian Tinkler, Karen Lukacs, Phyllis Brian, Christopher Johnson, Krystal Wilson, Ben Cheseldine, Morgan Squicciarini, Carolyn Cummins, Genie Blake, Maria Valdez, Malakhi Lucas, Keota Silaphone, Heather, Harley, Asher and Lucas Layton and little Ella Samis, our toddler mermaid.
A nonprofit organization cannot succeed without a strong core of volunteers, particularly in tough economic times. Those who selflessly commit their time and resources should be recognized because they are an integral part of the fuel that powers our engine and helps us keep going. It’s not a Nobel Prize, of course, but in some small way this recognition can serve as a reminder to residents and visitors that the Coastal Bays Program is always here, working to keep our bays healthy.
The trophy is proudly displayed it in our front office. It reminds us that together with our volunteers we can take on the next new project and make it a success.