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Erickson residents make it to Hall of Fame!

Created date

December 31st, 2008

Giving is second nature to retired art teacher Virginia Niccolai. So she was surprised to learn that she was receiving an award for it a spot in the 2008 Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. "My parents always taught me it s better to give to others than to wait for them to do something for you," says Niccolai. "So when I found out I was being nominated, I was overwhelmed and on cloud nine. Receiving this honor has been the most important thing that has ever happened to me." A former teacher, Niccolai brought her love of education from Charleroi, Pa., with her when she moved to Charlestown in 2000. Now she serves on the Community College of Baltimore County Resident Committee, which supports a continuing education program offering noncredit courses to Charlestown residents; teaches craft classes at Charlestown; and organizes social events for her neighbors. She also uses her art skills to make welcome home signs for U.S. troops, which are displayed in BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport as part of Maryland s Operation Welcome Home. "Virginia does so much volunteering here at Charlestown, we thought she really deserved it," says Margaret Wareheim, one of 50 neighbors who nominated Niccolai for induction into the Hall of Fame.

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Each year, only 50 people are inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. Candidates must be age 60 or better and have made outstanding contributions that improve the lives of others in the community. Niccolai, along with fellow Charlestown residents William Engel, Karline Tierney, and Barbara Walker, was part of the elite class of 2008. Oak Crest residents Price Ransone and Joan Roberts were also inducted. Roberts, a retired pediatric nurse, was honored to be among the Erickson inductees. "There are so many people here at Oak Crest who volunteer and help others that to be picked out was just stunning," says Roberts. She serves on the Oak Crest Parish Council and is very active within the Catholic community, regularly taking communion to neighbors unable to get to church. She also serves on the Community College of Baltimore County Resident Committee, leads a weekly watercolor class, and volunteers at special community events. Like her fellow inductees, Roberts says that volunteering was ingrained in her since childhood. "[Growing up] I had a cousin who had polio, and I remember the visiting nurse coming and helping to take care of him. That made a big impression on me," recalls Roberts. "From then on, I wanted to do something where I would be helping people. I guess that s why I went into nursing. My philosophy is, if you see someone who needs help, see what you can do to help them." For more information or to obtain a nomination form for the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, call 410-828-5852.