ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Office of Emergency Management today awarded the Emergency Management Volunteer of the Year to resident Andy Protigal. The award is presented to an individual who has volunteered time to assist Howard County in preparing for, responding to, mitigating from, or recovering from an emergency incident or disaster in Howard County. 

“Andy is no stranger to volunteering in Howard County, but this year he truly has gone above and beyond,” said Ball. “His hundreds of hours at vaccination clinics and consistent efforts to support and lead our COAD has had a significant impact on our community. Thank you, Andy, for all that you do day in and out for Howard County, and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”

Protigal is the Vice President of the Columbia Amateur Radio Association (CARA) and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Coordinator for Howard County, and volunteer of the Howard County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD).

Andy served over 215 volunteer hours in 2021 for COAD and COVID-19. Andy was a repeat volunteer at nearly every request for volunteers to support traffic directions at vaccination sites, totaling up to over 40 clinics served. Additionally, Andy serves as the COAD Disaster Preparedness Work Group Co-Chair. Andy regularly attends all COAD meetings and Disaster Preparedness Work Group meetings, in addition to developing and leading a tabletop exercise for COAD.

For CARA, Andy has led most public service events over many years, including running, biking, and equestrian events, and has undoubtedly aided in keeping numerous participants and spectators safe. Andy always strives to provide new ideas and input for projects which will aid the organizations and communities he served. Andy aided with the County’s “StayCOVIDSafe” initiative by placing awareness signs throughout the County and is working to develop preparedness playbooks for COAD members following emergencies.

“Andy is well-known to OEM as a volunteer through RACES for the past 10 years, so it was no surprise to us when he was one of the first to raise his hand to join the COAD,” said Maria Bernadzikowski, Deputy Director of the Office of Emergency Management. “Andy has volunteered countless hours working vaccine clinics throughout the pandemic and is a familiar face to the community and County departments alike. He brings a positive attitude, innovative ideas, and a willingness to go above and beyond. Andy’s dedication to the COAD and his willingness to serve his community, even in the most difficult of times, is something to be admired and we are very proud to name Andy OEM’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year!”

“Andy puts his entire heart and soul into RACES, CARA and COAD and any and all ways that he can serve and support OEM and our community,” said COAD Member Nancy McAllister. “Assisting these organizations is a priority for him and is an integral part of who he is."


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