Local Volunteer Named Woman of the Year

The Baltimore County Commission for Women named lifelong Dundalk resident Irene Spatafore the Woman of the Year.


The Baltimore County Commission for Women named lifelong Dundalk resident Irene Spatafore the Woman of the Year.

The annual award, in its 30th year, recognizes women for their outstanding achievements, unique contributions to their community and their ability to provide creative solutions to complex community and social challenges, as outlined in the commission’s website.

Spatafore's background meets the criteria, and her list of community involvement in charitable and contributions to other programs is lengthy.

She was born and raised in Dundalk.  As she likes to put it, “I’ve been here for double seven plus one years.”

Born on August Avenue in Dundalk, Spatafore attended Sacred Heart of Mary and Dundalk High schools.  She then attended Saint Andrews Business School and after graduation, she went to work at the U.S. Army’s Fort Holabird where she worked as a secretary. 

After five years, she left Fort Holabird and married her husband of 57 years, John Spatafore. She raised three children, sons Gregory and Martin and daughter Valerie. John Spatafore retired from Bethlehem Steel Corp. after 34 years.

Irene Spatafore's first encounter with community involvement began in the 1960s  when she was a den mother for nine years with the Cub Scouts. An interesting side bar to this story was that another Dundalk icon, Charles Panuska, a longtime member of the Dundalk Optimist, was the scout master.

Spatafore's commitment to community service continued with her volunteering at the Distillery Senior Apartments for 16 years, where she was involved in a variety of activities.

She is also a volunteer at the Dundalk Family Crisis Center. Right around the corner, she assists in aiding the homeless with her work at Saint Rita’s Supper Table.  She also volunteers at the Center for Pregnancy Concerns in Dundalk. The list of places where she volunteers includes The Eastern Regional Center and Franklin Square Hospital.

Her most recent endeavor is Angels Supporting Your Troops which began its work 17 months ago. The group has packaged 166 boxes of necessities for more than  616 of service men and women overseas.

If the title of this blog sounds a bit strange, believe it or not, the military only supplies our fighting soldiers with one pair of boots a year and two pairs of socks.  I had to ask Spatafore the question twice, because I could not believe it. 

"The most important item our soldiers ask for are additional pairs of socks and foot powder," she said.

Other popular things of value are items we take for granted every day. They  include things like toothpaste, razors, band-aids, along with health and skin care products.

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Edward L. Craig February 08, 2012 at 09:00 PM
Baltimore County was spot on in naming Irene the "Woman of the Year". She is a tireless volunteer in so many areas. Just look at her biography. She is a dynamo and this can be seen most recently in her efforts to support our troops as part of "Angels Supporting Your Troops". She continually solicits donations to support our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no telling how many of our finest have been helped by this activity. Irene and her husband John also were major volunteers in helping my Uncle (John Arnick) get elected and re-elected to the Maryland State Legislature. Their efforts were tireless in his support. They were both great friends and neighbors of John who were key in his political career. I know that if he was still here, he would have loved seeing Irene get some of the well deserved recognition she deserves for her all her local, community volunteer efforts. Baltimore County and Dundalk could use more selfless and dedicated folks like Irene. Irene - - keep up all the great work and enjoy the very well deserved recognition. Edward L. Craig
Buzz Beeler February 11, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Rudy, and Mary, Irene checks in to see the comments that are posted. I'll make sure she sees yours.
Diana Haddox March 06, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Congratulations, Ms. Irene. We, the employees for the owner of Distillery, would like to thank you for your 16 years of volunteer service. I especially enjoyed your Christmas parties, wherein you made sure that the needy families chosen for each year's event would be able to provide their children with Christmas presents. You are, indeed, an angel.
Steve Young August 02, 2012 at 03:39 AM
I-Steve Young did select my wife-Patti as 2012 Baltimore County-Woman of the year because she is sweet, kind and helpful and always a deep loving wife. Patti always took great care of my father when he was really sick. So, in my heart I pick my beautiful wife-Patti Young as the winner of a sweet loving wife she is yes the winner. In love with my wife- Patti - sweet kisses of love-Steve Young
Buzz Beeler August 02, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Mr. Young is was thoughtful and kind of you to write your tribute regarding your wife Patti. You can always nominate her for this and other types of recognition.


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