Celebrating the 42nd Annual Employee Milestone Luncheon

(Baltimore, MD., Sept. 28, 2018)

When John Matthews-Bey walked his little girl into her Baltimore City Head Start classroom 40 years ago, he had no idea that he’d remain at Head Start decades later as a much beloved and appreciated teacher.

“For me, it’s all about the children. You have to love the children,” said Matthews-Bey, who was one of 113 Catholic Charities colleagues honored during the 42nd Annual Employee Milestone Luncheon, which was held aboard the Spirit Cruise Ship on Sept. 28.

“When the children and the parents come to school, I always let them know they’re welcome here,” said Matthews-Bey. He beamed as Executive Director Bill McCarthy read letters from parents and students praising Matthews-Bey as a role model.

The milestone luncheon and cruise through Baltimore’s Inner Harbor toward the Francis Scott Key Bridge fell on a warm and sunny day, which was a welcome break from the rain. The employees ranged from St. Vincent’s Villa classroom aides to Esperanza Center case managers, public school therapists, and caregivers from Gallagher Services and Jenkins Senior Living.

“It is an honor to be here today with such a committed group of colleagues,” said McCarthy, who noted that the breadth of staff in attendance reflects the wide range of services offered by Catholic Charities throughout Central Maryland. “I’m so thankful for your dedication in successfully serving people in need each and every day!”

Ezra Buchdahl, a 35-year employee and the current administrator of St. Vincent’s Villa, echoed McCarthy’s sentiments. “Working with dedicated and committed people who share my passion for improving the lives of others is a joy. I’m also grateful to Catholic Charities for the opportunity to do what I love!”

For Jermin Laviera of Esperanza’s Client Services, her commitment to helping others is also what has kept her faithful to the Esperanza Center for three decades. “I love what we’re doing here at the center,” she said. “I come to work to help people, and I love what I do.”

Laviera ’s 30-year odyssey with the Catholic Charities began on her wedding day. “A few hours after getting married, my husband took me to the Esperanza Center to enroll in English as a second language class,” she said. “I had just arrived from Venezuela a week before and I spoke no English, but I thought I was going on my honeymoon.”

All honorees gathered in the ship’s dining room for a buffet lunch and the recognition ceremony, which was punctuated by enthusiastic applause. In addition to McCarthy, the staff was recognized by Assistant Director Mary Anne O’Donnell, Community Services Director Amy Collier, Senior Services Director Arnold Eppel, Family Services Director Kevin Keegan, Chief Development Officer Rita Walters and Finance Director Scott Becker. Becker also celebrated his 10th year of employment with Catholic Charities.

Later, staff enjoyed the warm breeze and sun from the upper deck of the ship. “This is so nice,” said Donita Green Blake, a 20-year employee at Gallagher Services in Timonium who sat with her colleague, Marsha Young, who has worked for Gallagher Services for 15 years.
FACTOID: Catholic Charities of Baltimore is the largest nonprofit service provider in the state of Maryland. Our organization has the fifth highest number of full-time employees out of the 167 diocesan Catholic Charities that are members of the Catholic Charities of USA. The top five Catholic Charities include: #1 – Seattle with 2,600 full-time employees, followed by Chicago, New York City, Brooklyn/Queens and in fifth place Baltimore.

Raymond Chase
John Matthews-Bey

Marian Hudgins
Kevin Mason
Betty Pearson
Joan Prodey

Ezra Buchdahl
Robert Canosa
Marsha Chandler
Phyllis Gillis
Shelley Harvey
Jermin Laviera
Rebecca Stein
Deborah Sterrett
Mary Toler

Edie Beard
Carl Fornoff
Elizabeth George
Lisa Gudavich
Christopher Kelly
Donnet Lawrence
Maryann Mccloskey
Kathleen Plocinik

Shelly Anderson
Gloria Bess
Genise Coney
Carlo Gizzi
Tonya Kitchen
Karen Kleeman-Jones
Mae Mack
Quelyn Mccoy
Lauren Porter
Alyscia Smith
Charles Thomas
Khin Yu

Mark Boston
Concetta Brindle
Randall Davis
Tamekia Durham
Trisha Ey
Josephine Fadiora
Deise Fernandez
Tina Flinchum
Michelle Geiger
Allen Graves
Deborah Jaquay
Wanda Lincoln
Mary Maahs
Richard Matthews
Valencia Moore
Karen Robinson
Eleanor Ross
Patricia Schumann
Diane Shannon
Karyna Smith
Melissa Sugar
Sadie Turner
Valerie Weems
Laura Woke
Marsha Young

Andrea Aduke
Nonyelum Amechi
Bonnie Baker
Scott Becker
Karen Bell
Alneatha Benbow
Doris Boehm
Edith Bouie
Ronnetta Carter
Jill Cole
Shanntal Collins
Phyllis Cooper
Montrae Davis
Phyllis Davis
Sharon Ditzel
Regina Douglas
Karen Eaddy
Devin Foster
Elias Gregory
Denetria Hannah
Robert Hoover
Abdulwahhab Idris
Marion Jolly
Trina Jones-Brown
Jenny Kushner
Ronald Means
Tara Miller
Anthony Moore
Melvina Morton
Patsy Paster
Amy Preston
Margarita Quashie
Jacqueline Rosas
Diana Siemer
Tamara Small
Michelle Smalls
Tierra Snipe
Isazetta Spikes
Lucretia Thompson
Jerry Toles
Ellen Vargo
Andrea Welch
Kesha Westbrook
Leslie Womack
Eddie Wright
Whitney Young