We Are Our Family’s Keepers
The 14th Annual Decatur “Bucky” Trotter Humanitarian Awards Honored Leading Philanthropists And Launches A New Level of Growth
Story & Photography By Prince George's Suite Magazine & Media
There was something different about the annual Decatur “Bucky” Trotter Humanitarian Awards this year it wasn’t just the young Bolivian Folklore Dancers.
In keeping with 14 years of tradition, five county leaders who have made extraordinary humanitarian contributions to residents were honored May 3.
Arthur J. Horne Jr. President and Managing Partner, Shipley & Horne, P.A, received the Bucky Trotter Humanitarian Award. Recipients of the Candle Of Service Award included the Hon. Steny Hoyer Congressman (D-Md), County Councilmember Derrick Leon Davis (D-District 6), Geoffrey Pohanka, President of Pohanka Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen and Mr. Philip Down, Jr. Chief Executive Officer, Doctors Community Health System.
News4 Anchor Pat Lawson Muse served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening. As Cinco De Mayo was just two days away, Mexican-influenced Mariachi Nacional performed. they were led by Caporales Universitarios San Simon Filial Virginia, a youth Bolivian Folklore dance group.
The honorees shared exceptional stories of personal growth and commitment to the communities to which they continue to give support.
Horne has been a fighter for the disadvantaged for over 20 years in his personal and professional work. According to MOLC leaders, the decision to give him the Trotter award was clear and unanimous.
Councilman Derrick Leon Davis thanked his mother and family as he accepted the Candle of Service Award. He reminded guests of a time when children were raised under the watchful eye of the entire community as he learned that lesson and carries it forward in his work today.
Philip Down noted the changes in the medical profession that required Doctors Community Health System to be more than a single-centered health facility on a hill. “We are now many dots on the map,” he said of the over 12 facilities and locations providing care – including mobile wellness unit and another to come soon.
But there have been changes – both under the spotlight and behind the scenes.
“Everything is going to be different,” said MOLC Chief Executive Officer Ana Paola Bueno a month before the awards night. “I will surprise everyone with some part of my culture and share it with a community of the county that has welcomed me.” Bueno was born in Bolivia, South America. “All will be different,” she promised. “We will show that there is a different direction.”
Since opening its doors in 1991, the Mission Of Love Charities, founded by Dr. Douglas E. Edwards, has aided thousands of people and hundreds of families per year fight the drain of poverty and homelessness and get back on their feet in life.
And when the local and national economies shifted – for better or worse – Edwards and MOLC made the adjustments necessary to adapt to the times, partner with the right people and keep the doors open.
With the hiring of the then-Executive Director Ana Paola Bueno in May 2017 (who was promoted to CEO in less than a year), it looks like the MOLC is making another major adjustment.
Since Bueno came on board in May of 2017, Mission of Love Charities, Inc. has opened a new food pantry, a new Day Center for individuals experiencing homelessness (opened on February 14 which provides a mailing address, charging stations, ADA/Handicap accessible showers, laundry services, computers to apply for services/jobs and free haircuts), a new Training and Education Center (opened on April 19, it provides Workforce Development) and expanded hours of operation to the public (the doors are open Mondays – Thursdays 8:30- 4:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). It has increased its number of operational partners by reaching out to agencies within the county with parallel agendas. And MOLC is preparing to provide more services to a new wave of clients including mature residents who are retiring from the work force but who simply do not have enough to retire on.
It’s a whirlwind of activity and growth that Bueno attributes to the MOLC board and the welcome that she’s received from other organization leaders. “I have a strong board,” she says. “When they are committed and willing to support your vision as a leader, you can have strong growth.”
“Everyone welcomed me,” Bueno continues. “They accepted my invitations to work together and it has helped us to grow. Here non-profits are willing to collaborate. Not all counties understand that. For my first year it has been welcoming and a great year. People have opened their doors and that says a lot about the county. It is a busy job but I approach it with passion and when you have a passion, it’s not a job,” she says.