From the Harford County Bar Foundation:
Harford County Bar Foundation presented several awards at its annual Beam of Light event held the evening of January 22 at MaGerk’s in Bel Air.
Debbie Bliss, administrative assistant to The Honorable Judge Yolanda L. Curtin of the Circuit Court of Harford County, received the 2015 Deborah J. Hall Beam of Light Award. The award, established in 1998, is presented to someone who reflects the characteristics and compassion of the late Debi Hall, who was known for being a “beam of light” within the Harford County court community.
The award is presented to an individual, other than an attorney, who deals with the public and clients concerning legal matters. Criteria include doing more than expected in the course of his/her duties; supporting the work of all co-workers on behalf of the client/customer; promoting a non-sexist, non-elitist, non-racist environment; empowering clients/customers/co-workers through dignity, respect, service or mentoring; and being a wiling worker who brightens the day.
Bliss has worked for the court for more than 20 years. She began as an administrative assistant to The Honorable Judge Emory A. Plitt, Jr., of the Circuit Court of Harford County, and then worked for retired judges before being asked to join Judge Curtin’s staff in 2013. She has also served as director of the Harford County Bar Foundation, helping many with pro-bono or reduced-fee representation. Bliss has also been involved in the Maryland State Bar Association High School Moot Court Program and the Circuit Court’s New Admitee Ceremony.
In presenting the award to Bliss, Judge Curtin said, “There is simply no end to the assistance she is willing to give anyone who calls upon her. No matter the task or the amount of time or effort involved, she does it all with a kind heart and generous spirit. She is truly a beam of light.”
Also honored at the event with a service award was Shobita Dubois, managing attorney of Love, Fleming & Bearsch, LLC, for 12 years of service as a Harford County Bar Foundation board member.
Laura Bechtel, an associate at Snee, Mahoney, Lutche and Helmlinger, P.A., was presented with the Community Service Award, for promoting access to justice through her outreach and legal assistance to women, children and nonprofits in Harford County.
Brenden Hodge, an attorney at Karas, Bradford & Donlick, was presented with the Judicare and Pro Bono Award, for promoting access to justice through his service to the Judicare and Pro Bono programs offered by the Harford County Bar Foundation.
Each of the honorees received proclamations from Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and the State Senate. Bliss also received a Harford County proclamation.
The event’s sponsors were Zest Media Solutions, MaGerk’s and foundation board members The Honorable Judge David Carey of the District Court of Harford County, and Diane Adkins Tobin, deputy state’s attorney for Harford County.
“The Harford County Bar Foundation is honored to recognize members of the law community who go above and beyond to bring justice to all,” said Nancy Mahoney, executive director of the foundation. “Our office typically receives 20 calls a day from folks looking for legal assistance. We have 130 volunteers, including nine from Cecil County, who help us help the community. I can’t thank our volunteers enough for their dedicated efforts.”
The Harford County Bar Foundation was established in 1991 to increase pro bono services and to provide educational resources to low-income individuals in need of legal assistance in family law, housing, bankruptcy, consumer, foreclosure, and estates and trust.
For more information, visit www.harfordcountybarfoundation.org.