EASTON — During the recent Facebook live Maryland REALTORS Awards and Installation ceremony, Duane Hilghman virtually was awarded the State REALTOR Community Service Award.
“In 2017 Duane received the Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS (MSBR) William J. Neary Jr. Community Service award, so we knew it was only a matter of time before he would receive the Maryland REALTORS State Community Service award,” MSBR President Judy Germain wrote in a statement. “Hilghman’ s commitment to the area was also noted by the Mid-Shore Community Foundation when Duane was given the 2007 ‘Town Watch Society,’ an honor given to a Talbot County citizen to recognize the person who goes above and beyond in service to the community.”
Hilghman, an agent with Benson and Mangold, has volunteered with many charities and served on numerous boards, but his work with the Bonnie Hilghman Cancer Fund is what led to this year’s recognition. The Bonnie Hilghman Cancer Fund, named for Duane’s late wife who died from breast cancer, provided direct financial assistance to cancer patients in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties. These funds helped off-set costs not covered by insurance so the patient can focus on fighting their disease and not worry about their financial situation. For the past 16 years, the foundation has helped over 300 cancer patients and raised more than $145,000.
In addition to the contributions to the patients, over $30,000 was donated to renovate the Breast Cancer Center in Easton. Earlier this year, $23,560 was contributed to Caroline County Helping Hands, a program that helps to feed children who would normally have received breakfast and lunch at school. An additional $7,500 was contributed to Talbot County Health Department. Those funds helped seniors, disabled children and young families with food, household items, diapers, and nutritional drinks.
In addition to his work with the foundation, Hilghman is serving on the Town of Easton’s Affordable Housing Board, on the Advisory Board member of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation and as a member of the Executive Ministries Assoc. of the Eastern Shore. Hilghman is also a life member of the VFW Post 5118 in Easton and a member of the Chestnut Grove United Methodist Church.
Hilghman served as a Director for the Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS and chaired their Government Affairs Committee. He also served on the Maryland REALTORS Finance and Legislative Committees.
“The cancer fund would not have been possible without the love and support of my wife, Nadine,” Hilghman said. “We both lost our spouses to cancer so this award is as much about her involvement as it is mine. I am so grateful for the numerous people who supported this cause throughout the years, it really was a community effort.”
Hilghman is the third agent from Mid-Shore Board of REALTORS to receive this honor in recent years. In 2018 Merilee Ford, agent with Long and Foster, received this awarded this for her work with Talbot Mentors. Tim Kagan, associate broker with Benson and Mangold was honored in 2017 for this work with Easton Rotary.