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All I Want for Christmas

Bay Weekly’s Guide to Giving to the Generous

On your holiday giving list, the easiest people are the wanters. Their wish lists are long. We live in a material world where clever and determined shopping can satisfy just about any whim.
    Not so easy are the givers. Generosity is a hard act to follow. People used to doing for others never think of asking for themselves
    So what they want for Christmas, or for Chanukah, you’ll have to ask them.
    That’s just what we’ve done, asking a dozen people high on our generosity list to share a wish this giving season.
    Their wants may not be so easy to wrap. Some will surprise you. Some will just stump you.


Mary Beth Austin, of West River, ­volunteer and Watershed Steward

Named the 2015 Watershed Steward of the Year, Austin donates her time and energy to the land and the gardens at the Captain Avery Museum.
 

"Turn off the technology and talk to one another. Listen to each other and hear one another. A little goes a long way."


Dr. Azam Baig, Pediatrician: Dunkirk, Edgewater and Kent Island

With a soothing voice and a gentle hand, Dr. Azam Baig has been treating sick children and calming their worried parents since opening South River Pediatrics in 1983.
 

Dr. Baig with patient Terrance Thompson.

"My most important wish was answered when I was gifted the art of medicine and healing. Everything else is secondary. …
    Please give me a magic wand that I can wave over high school and college kids so they don’t worry so much. The anxiety levels for this age group is almost unbearable, and I need a way to help them.
    For myself, I’d like a better golf game."


Walter Boynton, of University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, Solomons

One of the Bay’s best friends, the professor and estuarine ecologist has for more than 40 years done the science to explain the Chesapeake’s failing health and support its restoration, shaping public policy through his clarity and vision. This year, he was honored with the Mathias Medal.
 

"The Bay has been showing signs of improvement: Sea grasses covering 14,000 acres in the Susquehanna Flats, the dead zone breaking up early, water clarity improving. What I want is more of the same, starting with more sea grasses in the mid-Bay from Annapolis to the Potomac River.
    Plus the new ski goggles promised by my daughter."


Patricia Caldwell of Pasadena

Inducted into the Maryland Senior Hall of Fame this year for her contribution to children and to keeping African American history alive, Patricia Caldwell is the foundational kind of person organizations pray for and thrive on: President of the Northern Arundel Cultural Preservation Society, working to preserve the African ­American legacy in Anne Arundel County; secretary of the Bates Class of 1956 and volunteer for the Bates Legacy Center Giving Tours; county secretary for the Bowie State University Alumni Association; volunteer for Partners in Care and the food pantry at Freetown Elementary School; active in her sorority, Phi Delta Kappa, and St. Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover.
 
Patricia Caldwell at ­Partners In Care’s upscale resale boutique.

"My husband always asks what I want, and I tell him I don’t need anything. I volunteer because I get gratification seeing the smiles and knowing I’m helping someone else. My gratification comes from giving to others. So I don’t need a plate of cookies, a coat or a pair of shoes. I wake up every morning. Everything I need, I have."


Jeff Franklin, Franklin’s Toys of Severna Park and Annapolis

The owner of Franklin’s Toys has guided us for 37 years to gifts that inspire and delight our children (and children’s children) — as well as tickling us buyers and refreshing our sense of play.
 

"Nobody ever asks me what I want — except my wife.    
    Being around toys for so many years, I’ve tried quite a few things, and when our children were younger, I always took home the toys I thought best for them — and got to play with them myself. A couple years ago I thought Slackline was kind of fun, and took one home. A cross between a balance beam and tightrope, it was thought up by climbers for when they couldn’t get to a mountain. You put it between two trees and learn to walk it. I did a little bit, though I was not nearly as good as my son, who then was in his 20s.
    I really feel I’m at a stage in life where there are no material things I want particularly. Every once in a while, I hear talk about something intriguing. A friend and engineer just bought himself a drone with GPS and a return-to-home button so it comes back, a good camera so it streams pictures of everything it’s seeing. That would be fun to have, I thought. Then I realized I’d never learn to use it.
    Of course I do need a couple pairs of jeans and certainly a new pair of sweat pants.
    For children, I always advise people to get fewer but better toys. Think about their interests and get them good-quality things that are tools for pursuing their interests. When you leave with something right for the right kid, I’m happy."


Bill Goldsborough, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Annapolis

When the history of Chesapeake Bay’s recovery is written, a whole chapter should be devoted to Bill Goldsborough, who led the charge to save rockfish, crabs, oysters and other Bay creatures. A son of the Chesapeake, he grew up on the Eastern Shore, then spent 33 years with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation advocating for science-based fisheries management. He retires this month for a life of year-round fishing in Florida.
 

"I hope for a continuation of the clear water we’ve had in the Bay for the last two years, which means continuing our efforts to implement the Clean Water Blueprint.
    This is just the beginning. We need to really push hard now for a healthy Bay. Hold our elected officials accountable for reducing nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment pollution to the Bay by following the science-based formula we have in the Clean Water Blueprint.
    One thing I want for me is Neil Young’s new CD Peace Trail, and that’s what I hope we’re able to accomplish between environmentalists and ­watermen."


Francis Gouin, The Bay Gardener, Deale

Don’t ask the Bay Gardener for the shirt off his back because you’re likely to get it. From Bay Weekly to the Annapolis Horticulture Society, to the nation and the world, he shares the wisdom he’s gained in a lifetime of horticultural research. Like what he knows, he’s glad to share what he grows. His spare time he devotes to charity, often through the Lothian Ruritans, and community culture, through the South County Concert Association. He’ll cook spaghetti, burn burgers, build floats, donate Christmas trees, pick up roadway litter — just about anything but sell citrus, to which he’s allergic.
 

"Parts for my Model A Ford Tudor sedan.    
    I’ve restored three tractors — a 1939 Allis Chalmers B, a 1942 Farmall B and a 1949 John Deere B. This is the first old car I’ve restored since my brother and I restored a 1937 Plymouth coupe when we were in high school.
    My Model A had been sitting in Wally Treiber’s garage in Harwood for 18 years. I’ve rebuilt the carburetor. I painted the wheels the original color, summer squash yellow. I’ve ordered tail lights; it only has one and it needs two. It also needs directional lights. All the parts are in the Mac’s Auto Parts ­catalog for Model A’s 1928 to 1931, the three years they were made."


Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland

Like Santa, our governor is used to receiving requests, long lists of them, from all of us Marylanders great and small. Reversing roles, we asked him to share the top of his Christmas wish list.
Maryland First Lady Yumi and Governor Larry Hogan.
 

"When I was diagnosed with cancer last year, I was overwhelmed by the support I received from Marylanders from all walks of life and in every corner of our state. This year, I am so grateful to be 100 percent cancer-free and would love nothing more this Christmas season than for you to make a donation to your favorite cancer-related charity. Please donate what you can — whether it’s $10 or $100 — as every penny brings us another step closer to finding a cure.
    Thank you, and happy holidays!"


Joanie Donovan ­Kilmon, Branch manager at Calvert Library Twin Beaches

For Twin Beach library’s branch manager Joan Kilmon, helping others is a family legacy. Kilmon’s grandfather ran the Chesapeake Beach Park, and her brothers own Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa. Kilmon spends much of her time helping library patrons and preserving Calvert County history by serving on the boards of many local organizations.
 

"Oh my goodness, I never ask for anything. But I would like for every child to go to bed well fed and well read.


Bruce Michalec, Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank, Crownsville

Since 1985, Bruce Michalec has been fighting hunger in Anne Arundel County. He is the force behind the Anne Arundel County Food & Resources Bank, which supplies human needs from fresh bread to walkers to couches and cribs.
Davidsonville Elementary School students and staff present a $7,000 donation  to Bruce Michalec for the Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank.
 

"Money! To do what I do does cost money. Anne Arundel citizens have been very generous, and food donations are tremendous — from the Board of Realtors, grocery stories, young children in schools, Maryland Live, which gave us 500 turkeys. And we have wonderful volunteers.
    But as we go down the road, we’re doing more, and that’s costing more. Because of the workload, I’m trying to increase payroll staff. So my life would be a little easier if we had a little more money. I’m writing receipts and thank you notes now for people who donate. Please join the list. It takes money to give all this free stuff away!
Donate at www.aafoodbank.org/how-to-donate-.html."


Sara Poldmae, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, Annapolis

Her everyday work for 11 years as owner of Meadow Hill Wellness is helping people get better without the use of drugs or surgery, if possible.

 

"I want time off. But really I want the peace of mind to be able to enjoy time off — guilt-free. I take time off, now, but then I worry. So if I’m on your Christmas list, you know what I want. Can you give it to me?"


Satyam, Renaissance Yoga, Lothian

Revered by his hundreds of yoga students as their guide in life balance, Satyam has devoted himself with monk-like singularity to meditation and the study and practice of yoga.

 

"The gifts I cherish most are homegrown fruits and vegetables nurtured with love from your garden or fresh organic produce from other well-tended fields. Another gift that brings great joy is when you set a sterling example in life that leads others along the path of benevolence. Keep up the great work; a bright new era is on the eastern horizon with the rise of the new crimson dawn.
    Thank you. Kindest wishes, and much love to all."