Wills honored as Edgemere Humanitarian
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:25

Community activist becomes second to be tapped for award

by Nicole Rodman

    When Edgemere resident Harold “Butch” Wills got word that he was being named the second annual recipient of the Edgemere Humanitarian of the Year Award last year, he was shocked.
    He probably should not have been. With a lengthy record of service across the community, Wills is one of the area’s busiest activists, working tirelessly to raise money and support organizations across Edgemere and beyond.

    As soon as last year’s Edgemere Humanitarian honoree Robert Zacherl saw Wills’ resume, he knew that Wills was a shoe-in for the award.
    First presented in April 2011, the Edgemere Humanitarian Award was created by a group led by Edgemere resident Jim Hassan.
    As Hassan devised, previous award recipients are responsible for voting for the next year’s Humanitarian.
    As Zacherl was the only honoree to date, the task of picking the second Edgemere Humanitarian fell entirely to him.
    After sending letters requesting nominations to every church, school and social group in Edgemere, Zacherl set to work sifting through the submissions.
    “We received eight nominees and I knew seven of them,” Zacherl told The Eagle last week, adding, “Butch was the only one I didn’t know but his resume was just too good to not give him the nod.”
    Looking at the sheer amount of volunteering Wills has done across the community, it is hard to argue with Zacherl.
    A recognized local athlete, Wills was inducted into the Greater Dundalk Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
    Playing baseball, basketball and soccer as a student at Sparrows Point High School, he helped lead his baseball team to a county championship in 1955.  
     After his retirement from Thompson Steel Co., Wills lent his passion for athletics to a variety of local teams.
    He was an umpire with the Edgemere Recreation Council baseball league for two years and managed The Citgo Cubs Little League baseball team for six years.
  In addition to his local sports contributions, Wills has also helped organize the North Point State Park Fishing Derby, neighborhood food pantry donations and summer camp programs for minority church groups.
    Currently, Wills is a board member of the Sparrows Point Recreation Council and the Back River Restoration Committee.
    He has also volunteered with community organizations such as the Baltimore County Association of Senior Citizens and Advocate for Seniors and the North Point Peninsula Council.
    In his limited spare time, Wills is also a member of the Sparrows Point Alumni Association, Wells-McComas VFW Post 2678, Patapsco Masonic Lodge 183, the Golden Age Club and the Lynch Point Social Club.
    Some of his most important work for the community of Edgemere has been as a member and volunteer at the Edgemere Senior Center.
    With eight years as president of the center’s council, four years as vice-president and two years as an advocate, Wills has worked on behalf of Edgemere’s seniors for well over a decade.
     In his work at the Edgemere Senior Center, Wills spearheaded many charity fundraising drives, including an effort to help raise money for a little girl in Edgemere who lost her limbs due to a MRSA infection.   
    With Wills’ invaluable help, the campaign raised more than $5,000 to go toward the girl’s medical bills.
    Recalling these efforts, Wills’ wife, Helen, noted her husband’s go-getter attitude.
    “If there is a need that he thinks he can help with, he just goes ahead and organizes something,” she explained.
    Shortly after receiving the Edgemere Humanitarian Award last year, Wills was also recognized by the Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame (MSCHF) last October.
    One of 43 inductees into the 26th annual Hall of Fame, Wills also received the Geri Award.
    MSCHF’s highest honor, the Geri Award was given to just five of the 43 Hall of Fame inductees.
    Wills was also previously honored by the Baltimore County Department of Aging in 2006 and 2008.
    As recipient of last year’s Edgemere Humanitarian Award, Wills was honored with a banquet and award ceremony held at Edgemere Senior Center.
    During the event, sponsored by Last Call Athletic Club, many of Wills’ friends, family and colleagues spoke of Wills and his contributions to Edgemere.
    Together, both Zacherl and  Wills will choose this year’s Edgemere Humanitarian next month.
    Nominations for the award can be sent to
edgemerehumanitarian@hotmail.com. All nominations are due by Thursday, Jan. 31.