Montgomery Region Raiser Receives Humanitarian Award
Each year the King Farm Community Association of Rockville, MD recognizes individuals living in the community for contributions they have made. On December 27, Margie Coccodrilli was presented with the 2007 Humanitarian Award for her volunteer activities as a GEB puppy raiser.
Lou, Margie and Napa celebrating the award
The following is an excerpt from the article of award winners featured in the December issue of the King Farm Chronicle.
The King Farm Humanitarian Award is presented to an individual who has volunteered their time to help others in social service,” said King Farm President Andy Gordon. “Anyone who walks a dog in King Farm knows Margie and her dogs. Her dedication to her dogs and Guiding Eyes make her a truly remarkable neighbor, and we are proud to name her this year’s Humanitarian.”
Coccodrilli became an active volunteer puppy raiser in September 1999 following a fortuitous encounter when she came across a vendor table set up outside the Safeway store in Gaithersburg. “Dogs have always been a part of our household, so stopping at a table two pet two little puppies was nothing unusual for me.” As it turned out, the table that Coccodrilli stopped at was advertising and recruiting for the newly established Montgomery Region chapter of GEB.
“I knew within ten minutes of hearing about this non-profit’s mission and goals – to enrich the lives of blind and visually impaired persons – was something that I wanted to help out with,” says Coccodrilli. “I could certainly commit one year to loving, nurturing and teaching one dog, and I didn’t want to look back on life and think “would of, could of, should of.”
The one year commitment that Coccodrilli intended to serve has since turned into an eight year passionate obsession, as she likes to call it. In addition to being a puppy raiser, she helps as an instructor for new volunteer raisers, writes the region’s monthly newsletter, participates in fundraising and coordinates local vendor table activities to promote awareness about the need for more volunteers.
She admits that “none of this could be successfully accomplished without the help of my husband, Lou, and his commitment to my commitment.”
While 2007 has been a busy year for Coccodrilli, 2008 will see the same with her continuation of volunteer activities with GEB. Perhaps the King Farm residents might see yet another dog in training as she strolls through the community. She anticipates seeing her fourth dog, Cindy, graduate in 2008, saying good-by to her fifth dog, Napa, in March, and in April will help with some meeting plans for a Guide Dog Consortium Meeting being hosted by Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc., and taking place at the King Farm Community Center.
When asked what she enjoys most about her time volunteering, Coccodrilli simply says, “The greatest accomplishment that can be gleaned from this volunteer service is the knowledge of knowing that I have helped, in some small way, to nurture, love and teach these wonderful dogs in reaching their potential as they embark on their journey to becoming a future guide dog.”
Coccodrilli said that she is honored to have been nominated as one of this year’s award recipients. “It is truly wonderful that the King Farm community has taken the time to recognize the significance of my volunteer services with Guiding Eyes for the Blind. The dogs in training, however, are truly the unsung heroes in this journey.”