HOWARD COUNTY, MD — The emergency management volunteer of the year award has been given to Andy Protigal. The award is presented to an individual who has volunteered time to assist Howard County in preparing for, responding to, mitigating from or recovering from an emergency incident or disaster in Howard County.
“Andy is no stranger to volunteering in Howard County, but this year he truly has gone above and beyond,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said. “His hundreds of hours at vaccination clinics and consistent efforts to support and lead our COAD has had a significant impact on our community. Thank you, Andy, for all that you do day in and out for Howard County, and congratulations on this well-deserved recognition.”
Protigal is the vice president of the Columbia Amateur Radio Association and Amateur Radio Emergency Service Coordinator for Howard County, and volunteer of the Howard County Community Organizations Active in Disaster.
He served more than 215 volunteer hours in 2021 for COAD and COVID-19, and was a repeat volunteer at nearly every request for volunteers to support traffic directions at vaccination sites, totaling up to more than 40 clinics served. Additionally, he serves as the COAD Disaster Preparedness Work Group co-chair. Protigal regularly attends all COAD meetings and Disaster Preparedness Work Group meetings, in addition to developing and leading a tabletop exercise for COAD.
For CARA, Protigal has led most public service events over many years, including running, biking and equestrian events, and has kept numerous participants and spectators safe.
“Andy is well known to OEM as a volunteer through RACES for the past 10 years, so it was no surprise to us when he was one of the first to raise his hand to join the COAD,” Maria Bernadzikowski, deputy director of the Office of Emergency Management, said. “Andy has volunteered countless hours working vaccine clinics throughout the pandemic and is a familiar face to the community and county departments alike. He brings a positive attitude, innovative ideas, and a willingness to go above and beyond. Andy’s dedication to the COAD and his willingness to serve his community, even in the most difficult of times, is something to be admired and we are very proud to name Andy OEM’s 2021 Volunteer of the Year.”