EASTON - Rabbi Peter Hyman of Temple B'nai Israel was the Talbot County recipient of Comptroller Peter Franchot's William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award on Tuesday for his work in the community.
"Today is a truly special day. We're always proud of our rabbi, not just today, but today we're exceptionally proud that he's being recognized for one of the many things he does well - helping people," said Elaine Friedman, president of Temple B'nai Israel.
Friedman said Hyman does a lot throughout the community that people might not be aware of.
For starters, apart from being the rabbi of Temple B'nai Israel and being involved in the Boy Scouts of America and the organization's Messengers of Peace Program, Friedman said Hyman often counsels those in need of guidance and makes hospital visits, among other things.
Franchot said the award was started last year in memory of William Donald Schaefer, the former governor and comptroller of Maryland.
He said Schaefer took an "old-fashioned" approach to connecting with people and everything was "person-to-person" with Schaefer.
"If someone asked him for a dollar on the street, he would stand there, take out his wallet and give him a dollar," Franchot said. "He had that very personal connection to helping people."
On awarding Hyman, Franchot said "it just fit so well."
"I'm deeply moved. I'm grateful for this, but I have to tell you, honestly, unless you have a congregation that has the ability to share a vision, none of this happens," Hyman said.
Hyman said when he came to the temple five years ago, he said to the search committee that he didn't care how big the congregation was, but that there was leadership.
"Almost all the leadership, we share our goal," Hyman said. "In the community (in) which we find ourselves, we not only have a chance to make a mark, but to do so in response to the principles of Torah and what faith demands of us."
Hyman said he has had a number of opportunities, which have been supported by Temple B'nai Israel's congregation, to do things that are "well out of the norm," and he is appreciative of that.