Alumni couple named Carroll County Family of the Year

September 21, 2009

In decades of service, Pat and Arnold “Skip” Amass have logged countless hours and raised millions of dollars for the causes they have championed around Carroll County and across Maryland.

The couple – both alumni of the Class of 1957 – recently were named Family of the Year at the Community Foundation of Carroll County’s Philanthropists of the Year Awards event.

“Both of us were raised with the idea of community service,” Skip Amass said last week after receiving the award with his wife. “You give back to the community, and you help others. That’s the way we’ve always been.”

Skip said that he and his wife were honored to receive the recognition from the Community Foundation of Carroll County. But he stressed that the award was more a testament to the good that people can do when they come together for a worthy cause.

“As we both said to the more than 250 people who were present at the awards ceremony, it was only because of the help of the many people we have worked with over the years that any of this has been possible,” Skip said. “Very seldom has anyone turned us down.”

The two are longtime Rotary Club members. Skip has belonged to the Westminster Rotary Club for 40 years and has held various leadership roles, including president. Pat is a charter member of the Bonds Meadow Rotary Club in Westminster, founded 15 years ago, and has served as its president.

About four years ago, Pat launched a local outlet of the Safe Motherhood project, which donates birthing kits – filled with such essentials as plastic sheets, scalpels, gloves, knit caps and wool blankets – to expectant mothers in Africa and Haiti, who otherwise give birth with no medical assistance.

A longtime member of the national Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society, Skip is also a past chairman and has lobbied extensively in Annapolis and Washington, D.C., for the group.

Several years ago, Skip helped raise $2.5 million to help build Hope Lodge for the American Cancer Society on West Lexington Street in Baltimore. Cancer patients from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital may stay, free of charge, at Hope Lodge with a relative or companion during their treatment.

“There’s hardly a good activity over the years that we have not been involved in,” Skip said.

In addition, the two have worked tirelessly for many other local organizations, including the Junior Woman’s Club of Westminster, the American Cancer Society, United Methodist Women, the Boy Scouts, the Westminster Fire Department, Shepherd’s Staff, and the boards of Carroll Community College, Carroll Hospital Center and Carroll Hospice.

Skip earned his bachelor’s degree in Biology from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel, and Pat earned hers in History.

Skip – who completed pharmacy school in 1961 and later earned his Pharm. D. degree in 1993 from the University of Maryland – began his career in retail pharmacy and later became director of biomedical services for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Pat, who also earned a master’s degree in Educational Administration in 1983 from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel, began her career as an elementary school teacher. She later became supervisor of administration of federal and state programs for elementary and pre-school for the Carroll County public school system.

Both, who are now retired from their careers, have also been eager fundraisers for their alma mater, pitching in for alumni fund drives and serving on committees.

“We just believe in the things we raise funds for,” Skip said. “We’re very passionate about the things we get involved in and we put our whole hearts and souls into doing it.”