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900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

For Immediate Release (01-64)
Date: November 19, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952; Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970
Montgomery College Employee Wins Prestigious 
County Award for Efforts to Close Digital Divide

To keep pace with changing technology, Montgomery College replaces its instructional computers about every two years, which results in a significant number of dated, but usable computers. What happens to them?

That’s precisely the question Derwood resident Ann Warner asked when she joined the College’s Office of Information Technology as an asset management specialist back in 1999. 

Now, her questionR014and the prodigious amount of work that would followR014have earned her a Montgomery’s Best 2001 Award. 

This prestigious, highly competitive award from the Office of the County Executive recognizes exceptional efforts on the part of individuals, teams, and organizations to support the county’s guiding principles and programs.

Warner won her award in the category of “partnerships,” which honors individuals who have developed a collaborative relationship with government or private partners, with noteworthy results or outcomes.

Warner began her mission by contacting the Montgomery County Volunteer Council to see if any of its contacts had computers on their wish lists. The response was overwhelming. She wound up working with about 100 different agencies over a two-year period. The result? Montgomery College donated about 3,500 of its older systems to nonprofit, church, school and county agencies. 

Many computers found homes at Scotland and Pleasantgate, two underprivileged communities in Potomac. “The students are at a serious disadvantage in relation to their peers,” said Alicia Beach Halverstadt, community resources coordinator for the school system’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Cluster. “I think the term ‘digital divide’ was coined with these students in mind. Your contribution makes a world of difference to these children and their future potential.”

In addition to Warner’s newest honor from the county, the Rockville Senior Center bestowed the Corporate Sponsor Award to Warner this past May.

“All of the recipients have been most grateful,” said Warner. “Even though donating the computers is physically difficult, the emotional gratification I feel is well worth it.  The recipients write to thank me for the donations and let me know specifically how they are being utilized. This warms my heart.”

The computers have been used to set up computer labs in several private schools, Sunday schools and child care centers. Some have been used for vocational rehabilitation training, drug rehabilitation training and work with disabled athletes.  Others have found new lives in job training programs, fire departments, nursing homes, Boy Scouts, humane societies and serving the deaf, blind and diabetic populations.

“I am honored to have the ability to make a difference in the community by simply doing my job,” said Warner.

Warner will receive her honor, along with other recipients, at the Montgomery’s Best 2001 Awards presentation ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 29 at Indian Spring Country Club in Silver Spring, Md. 

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