A retired educator and military leader whose name is synonymous with community service in Wicomico County, and an organization that provides end-of-life comfort and care for those needing it most are the 2015 recipients of the Salisbury University President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Awards.
Anthony “Tony” Sarbanes received the individual award, while Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care was recognized with the organizational honor. Their work was celebrated during SU’s 89th-year Spring Commencement at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.
“Anthony Sarbanes’ entire life has been one of service, following in the footsteps of his immigrant parents who embraced their adopted country and placed high value on giving back to the community,” said his nominator, Terrance Greenwood.
Many of Sarbanes’ positions underscore this belief: educator, U.S. Army officer, mentor, coach, church leader, businessman and elected official. He has held leadership positions within the National Conference on Christians and Jews and the Maryland Conference of Parents and Teachers, as
well as many local organizations that Greenwood very accurately described as “too numerous to mention.” These include the Wicomico County Council, Trinity United Methodist Church, Optimist Club of Salisbury, Salvation Army, Salisbury Little League, Wicomico County Tourism Commission, United Way, Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, Wicomico Historical Society and Tri-County Council of the Lower Shore, among dozens of others. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve with the rank of major general.
“Tony’s community service has touched most people who live here in some positive way,” Greenwood said, including working quietly behind the scenes to help people in need of jobs, and medical and financial assistance. These are “humanitarian acts for which he gets no public recognition, but which make a profound difference in the lives of so many people. Tony Sarbanes is the epitome of public service.”
Founded in 1980, Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care has a long history of providing traditional hospice services, palliative care, bereavement support, education and training to residents in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and Dorchester counties. In 2004, its Coastal Hospice at the Lake facility at Deer’s Head Hospital Center in Salisbury became the Eastern Shore’s first inpatient hospice unit.
In the past year, Coastal Hospice has launched two programs to meet new health care challenges in the region. The organization now offers the Coastal Kids Supportive Care team to help meet the complex needs of young patients and their families thanks to the Access for Affordable Care Act. The Compass program was founded in response to Medicare’s tightening of hospice eligibility, offering resources for patients who become ineligible for hospice care due to “extended prognoses.”
“Coastal Hospice not only cares for community members at their most vulnerable, at the end of life, but also provides counsel and support to the family members and loved ones who grieve for them,” said the organization’s nominator, Stephen Farrow. “Quietly, in private homes, at nursing home and assisted living bedsides, and at Coastal Hospice at the Lake, the physicians, nurses, hospice aides, social workers, chaplains, volunteers and therapists who make up the Coastal Hospice care teams guide more than 1,000 people each year on their final journey.
“It is the reputation for excellence and integrity, and for leading the way in providing for quality of life at its end that … qualifies Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care as a distinguished community leader.”
SU’s Community Leadership Awards are presented annually in two categories: individual and organization. Those in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Dorchester, Accomack, Northampton and Sussex counties are eligible.
Past winners include the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore; former Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Lewis Riley; Women Supporting Women and its founder, Sue Revelle; MAC Inc.; Henry Hanna, III; the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore; Dr. Peggy Naleppa; Dove Pointe, Inc.; Dr. Carolyn Stegman; Debbie Abbott; Dr. George Whitehead; Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County; the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce; Marty Neat; Lower Shore Enterprises, Inc.; Lee Whaley; and the Richard A. Henson Foundation.
Each of these individuals and organizations has been remarkably generous to this community and an exemplar of civic behavior for our students. It is our privilege to honor Mr. Sarbanes, Coastal Hospice and all the deserving individuals and organizations that help make our area a better place.