2013 Local Jefferson Award Winner Nominated for National Award - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

2013 Local Jefferson Award Winner Nominated for National Award

Clifton Harcum (Photo courtesy: UMES) Clifton Harcum (Photo courtesy: UMES)

SALISBURY, Md.- 2013 local Jefferson Award winner Clifton Harcum has been chosen as WBOC's nominee for a national-level Jefferson Award. Harcum, along with nine other local Jefferson Award winners, was honored at an awards ceremony held Thursday evening, March 21, at the WBOC NewsPlex in Salisbury.

Clifton's list of volunteer activities and accomplishments is impressive. For example, he helped organize an annual "Day of Thanksgiving," in which he works with various business and organizations to provide food baskets to hundreds of needy families on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore.

He was also instrumental in starting Generating Realistic Achievement of Success and Possibilities, more commonly known as G.R.A.S.P. This is a community outreach and development group that organizes college fairs promoting the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for parents and students at Somerset County's two public high schools: Washington High in Princess Anne and Crisfield High in Crisfield. Just recently, G.R.A.S.P. mobilized student-volunteers to participate in a town-gown community clean-up project.
In 2006, Harcum created a group called "Men of Distinction" for college males. In conjunction with that, he started a scholarship fund that provides an $3,000 annual scholarship to promising incoming high school students.

Harcum is also an active member of the Rotary Club of Salisbury, and is advisor to a new UMES chapter of Rotaract, a service club geared to young adults.

Amongst his other notable achievements, Harcum travels to area high schools to present life skills lessons to students. Some of the topics he focuses on include college preparation, the importance of goal setting and general life skills. The students he comes in contact with find Clifton inspirational and testify to the positive difference he makes to their lives.

Harcum also recently developed "Stepping Up," a community summit that invited middle and high school students to combat the effects of cyber-bullying and gang prevention. He also developed "Healthy Choices, Healthy Lifestyle," which partners UMES, the Maryland Food Bank, the Child and Family Development Center and G.R.A.S.P. to provide produce and health information for low-income families in the community.

Phillip Thomas, who nominated Clifton for a Jefferson Award, said, "It is my personal belief that this award must have been tailor-made for Mr. Harcum." According to Thomas, Harcum "inspires others to find their own strength, persevere through difficult times and provides assistance whenever he can to all the residents of Delmarva."

The judges who served on the nominating committee included Gage Thomas, a businessman who also serves as a member of the Dorchester County Commissioners; Beverley Thompson, a 2009 Jefferson Award winner, and John Hollis, director of community relations for Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

Harcum is now a nominee for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefiting the Local Community. Nominees from around the country will travel to Washington, D.C., in June for the national ceremony. Five nominees will be selected as Onassis Award winners.

The Jefferson Awards for Public Service are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America.

The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels: national and local. The mission of the Jefferson Awards is to encourage and honor individuals for their achievements and contributions through public and community service.

WBOC TV is proud to be a local partner of the Jefferson Awards. The awards are given annually to volunteers on Delmarva who provide extraordinary public service.

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