Two From FSU AmeriCorps Programs Honored with Governor’s Service Award

Nov 7, 2019 8:50 AM

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan honored two volunteers from Frostburg State University-affiliated AmeriCorps program – FSU senior Mekhi Jones and AmeriCorps alumnus Robert Zellner -- during the 36th Annual Governor’s Service Awards Ceremony, which was hosted by the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism in October.

Jones was presented the National Service Award for his outstanding volunteer service in the A STAR! in Western Maryland AmeriCorps program during the 2018-19 term. As a first-year student, Jones joined the ECHOSTARS living, learning and serving community, completing 300 hours of community service. He continued to serve 300 hours in both his sophomore and junior years as a RisingSTARS mentor. As a senior, Jones is now Alumni Leader of the ECHOSTARS program, and he organizes transportation for all service members. Jones also is a member of the executive board for Alpha Phi Omega, a national coeducational service fraternity.

“Mekhi has become a role model for not only the children he serves, but also the AmeriCorps members he serves alongside,” said Patrick O’Brien, director of Civic Engagement at Frostburg.

Zellner received the AmeriCorps Alum Award for his commitment to volunteerism after his term of service. Zellner was the first full-time AmeriCorps member for the inaugural year of the Conquering Opioid Abuse Together (C.O.A.T.) program. As a recovering addict, Zellner worked to educate the community and combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. Through his service, Zellner initiated the first annual recovery walk in Hagerstown, now heading into its third year, and became a much sought-after guest speaker about helping individuals find treatment. After his term of service with AmeriCorps, Zellner went on to use his experience to successfully pass the Certified Peer Recovery Specialist exam for the state of Maryland. He now holds a paid position working on the front lines of the opioid crisis at the Washington County Health Department.

“Rob Zellner represents what can be possible for individuals in recovery when they commit themselves to sobriety and national service and are then given the opportunity to shine,” said Stephanie Hutter-Thomas, program manager for the C.O.A.T. program.

Recipients of the Governor’s Service Awards are chosen based on their outstanding service in 2018, demonstrating a continued commitment to volunteerism and having a measurable impact on Maryland’s most pressing needs.

For more information about FSU-affiliated AmeriCorps programs, visit the ASTAR page on the Student Engagement web site.