ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball will honor individuals, businesses and organizations exemplifying outstanding service and sacrifice during the pandemic with a new “Rise to the Challenge” award. 
Nominations for award recipients are now being accepted electronically and via mail. The nearly 20 awards will be presented later this year in five categories: Public and Local Government; Business; Health Care; Nonprofits; and Individuals.  
The nomination period will be open through July 8th at 11:59 p.m. and submissions can be made online at https://www.howardcountymd.gov/riseawards

Our community has persevered through the pandemic with an outpouring of kindness, commitment and innovation from every corner of Howard County. It is time to reflect and recognize the extraordinary efforts of our local businesses, public employees, and residents – who truly went above and beyond to lend a helping hand, keep one another safe, and ensure our community was supported.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

For those without online access, the application form may be dropped off at:
-    Any of the Howard County 50+ Centers
-    Department of Community Resources and Services Office, 9830 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia
-    Multi-Service Center, 9900 Washington Boulevard, Suite I, Laurel

Here are the categories for Rise to the Challenge award nominations:

Public and Local Government Sector 

  • Public Health Hero: Honoring public health personnel who worked tirelessly to educate and inform the community and developed responses to the pandemic.   
  • County Crusader: Recognizing County employees who have gone above and beyond the call of duty since the beginning of 2020 to keep us safe and informed.   
  • Public Service Hero: This category recognizes front-line police officers, sheriff deputies, firefighters, park rangers, and other public service workers for their heroic work since the beginning of 2020 to keep us safe.  

Health Care 

  • Frontline Medical Response Award: Recognizing doctors, nurses, emergency medical responders, and other frontline medical personnel for their heroic work since the beginning of 2020 to aid the infected and save lives  
  • Healthcare Hero Award: Honoring researchers, pharmacists, lab technicians, dietary staff, custodians, and other non-patient facing medical personnel for their heroic work since the beginning of 2020 to aid the infected and save lives.  
  • Senior Care Service Award: This category will accept nominations of nurses, paraprofessionals, aides, rehabilitation specialists and others who cared for the elderly during the pandemic.  
  • Behavioral Health Support Award: Honoring counselors, social workers, therapists, psychologists, and others who provided essential behavioral health care during the pandemic.  


  • Service Award: This category will accept nominations of exemplary pandemic-specific responses by a non-profit organization that served their communities during this time. Please provide examples of the community service the non-profit engaged in within your write up.   
  • Nonprofit Innovation Award: Recognizing a pandemic-related innovative idea which provided beneficial results to the non-profit’s families or the community at large.   
  • Stand-out Representative Award: This category will accept nominations for individuals who represented their non-profit in connecting with both the County and other community groups to work best together as they responded to the pandemic. This individual brought partnerships together to better serve the Howard County Community at large during the pandemic.  


  • Business Perseverance Award: Recognizing exemplary responses by companies to the pandemic to ensure the well-being of their employees, customers and communities and adapt to changing conditions.   
  • Business Innovation Award: Honoring pandemic-related innovative ideas developed since the beginning of 2020 that assisted the business in its operations and/or benefitted the community.    
  • Customer Commitment Award: Recognizing local retail and food service businesses for their heroic work since the beginning of 2020 to keep us safely supplied and fed.  


  • Community Champion Award: Recognizes an outstanding individual(s) who have provided grassroots advocacy, leadership, and innovation to strengthen neighborhoods and initiatives in response to COVID-19.   
  • Essential Worker Award: This category will accept nominations for an individual or team working in an essential capacity in the private sector for their heroic work since the beginning of COVID.   
  • Education Hero Award: Recognizing teachers, school administrators, and staff in education – as either individuals or teams - for their extra efforts to keep the school community safe and students engaged and educated during the pandemic.   
  • Early Childhood Care Award: Honoring those who work in early childhood care, and who preserved to continue to provide services to our youngest residents during the pandemic, offering continuity of care and education and fostering a climate so that development could continue.  
  • Excellence in Remote or Hybrid instruction Award: This category will accept nominations for an individual or team who made technological changes to successfully transform educational offerings into engaging and accessible remote or hybrid teaching platforms.  
  • Data Hero Award: Recognizing those in the public, private, and non-profit sectors who have kept you informed and provided transparent and meaningful data and analysis about COVID-19. Including but not limited to cases, hospitalizations, deaths, testing, vaccinations, and more, to the public since the beginning of the pandemic.  

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