Talbot County Honors Community Impact Leaders

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Talbot County business leaders gathered on Friday, May 3 for the 11th Annual Talbot County Business Appreciation Breakfast, an event that celebrates the strength and resiliency of the area’s businesses.

Hosted by the Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism in partnership with the Talbot County Economic Development Commission, the program included comments by Councilwoman Laura Price and a keynote address by Maryland Secretary of Commerce Kelly M. Schulz.

A total of six Community Impact Awards were presented to businesses, organizations, and individuals who positively impacted the Talbot County community over the past year. Each award recipient received an engraved pewter tray, handcrafted in Easton by Salisbury Pewter. Winners included:

Frederick Douglass 200 Committee: Talbot County found itself in the spotlight in 2018 when the world marked the 200th birthday of the great abolitionist, orator, and writer Frederick Douglass. Harriette Lowry of the Frederick Douglass Honor Society pulled together more than 45 local organizations to form the Frederick Douglass 200 Committee. The group created a year-long series of events designed to honor the life and legacy of Talbot County’s most famous native son.

Events included a wreath laying at Douglass statue at the County Courthouse, a February 14 birthday celebration on the banks of the Tuckahoe, a speaker series at the Talbot County Free Library, performances by reenactors throughout the year, and the annual Frederick Douglass Day celebration. These events laid the groundwork for future efforts to create tourism products to tell the story of Douglass’ youth and to attract visitors looking for Frederick Douglass.

Kelley Phillips Cox: A native of Tilghman Island, Cox is the founder and executive director of Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, a non-profit organization that provides hands-on experiences and education with the animals and plants that inhabit the Chesapeake Bay region. She launched her own aquaculture farm and oyster brand, appropriately named Fisherman’s Daughter. She also operates an aquaculture training program to educate a new generation of watermen.

Kelley is actively involved with numerous regional organizations, including the Maryland Association of Outdoor and Environmental Educators, Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association, National Marine Educators Association, National Science Teachers Association, and Maryland Oyster Advisory Commission. She is the recipient of the 2014 Robert Finton Maryland Environmental Educator of the Year Award from Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education.

Out of the Fire Restaurant: For 19 years. Restaurateur Amy Haines has brought not only fine food, but jobs to Talbot County. High school students get their first work experience at Out of the Fire. Gifted chefs show their talents with food locally sourced food. Haines has created an oasis of excellent, locally sourced food in a congenial atmosphere. Her support of farmers, artists, and community projects is a source of inspiration, as is the excellent work environment she has created for employees. The business motto at Out of the Fire is “Eat well. Be well. Give back.”

RAUCH inc.: This engineering company has provided innovative development concepts and cost-effective design services to its clients for more than 30 years. Local projects include the ongoing renovation of the Historic Avalon Theatre, the current expansion of Easton Premier Cinemas, the renovation of the Tred Avon Shopping Center, and the development of The Easton Club and Chesapeake del Webb. Rauch inc. recently announced that it will begin development of the Lakeside Community in Trappe that will feature a range of housing options.

The company has also partnered with Talbot County Public Schools and Junior Achievement to provide internship and career path programs and has been active in the ACE mentoring program for both engineering and architecture.  RAUCH inc. is currently partnering with Chesapeake College to develop coursework for paths in skilled trades. In 2018, it partnered with the Bryan Foundation to raise $20,000 for their “Building Dreams for Youth” campaign.

Talbot Mentors: Executive Director Gerson Martinez believes that one-on-one mentoring can change lives. The non-profit organization connects young people with adult role models who reinforce the positive values and standards that will help them achieve their full potential. Over the years, hundreds of Talbot County youth have been mentored and more than 100 Talbot County kids are paired with mentors this year.

Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island: Opened in April 2018, this property is the rebirth of an original 1898 boarding house where waterman ran the docks and crabs were piled high on picnic tables. The hotel sits on 9 acres and features 54 newly designed guest rooms, a restaurant, a crab shack, two bars,1,100 feet of waterfront, 25 boat slips on two docks, and a state-of-the-art saltwater heated pool with a pool deck. A New Yorker by birth, owner John Flannigan visited Tilghman often during his college days and fell in love with the island’s rustic beauty and charm.

Photography by Tom McCall

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