Montgomery Serves Awards 2020

Congratulations to the 2020 Montgomery Serves Awards honorees. These individuals, businesses, and groups have demonstrated remarkable commitment to service and volunteerism in our community, earning them Montgomery County's highest recognition for their contributions.

Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award 

Honoring lifetime service by individuals age 60 and up

Wolfgang Mergner photoWolfgang Mergner

Wolfgang Mergner is a man full of deep compassion for people and communities. After retiring from his career as a pathologist and researcher in cardiovascular disease, he turned his attention to civic activism, using his amazing tenacity to benefit countless county residents in many different ways. When Wolfgang sets his heart on something he thinks needs attention, he will not rest until the matter is taken care of. 

He served as chair of Takoma Park’s Public Safety Committee for three years and later as the chair of the Emergency Preparedness Committee, where he advocated for better community awareness of personal and neighborhood safety concerns. Wolfgang also served as the president of his neighborhood association for three years, where he worked to improve road safety as well as a greater sense of community. 

At the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County, Wolfgang  spent countless hours mediating personal and professional conflicts, all with patience, respect and grace. In addition to facilitating group mediation and playing an instrumental role in promoting the senior mediation program, he served as the chair of the fundraising committee and as the co-president of the organization.  

Wolfgang’s most ambitious project, begun in 2011, came about because of his deep engagement with the aging residents of Takoma Park. He saw that there were people who were aging with inadequate social support networks and was compelled to take action. After successfully organizing monthly meetings for seniors, he developed a village concept organized around local neighborhoods, but soon realized that a better way to approach it would be through serving the entire city, since not all neighborhoods were equally able to develop their villages.  

Wolfgang engaged city residents, city elected officials, and staff, as well as other community organizations, to create a thriving nonprofit from the ground up! The Village of Takoma Park is now a highly successful volunteer-only organization that serves hundreds of residents a year for a $10 annual fee. The organization has held monthly seminars on aging well for the past seven years; the village also offers volunteer rides, friendly visits, de-cluttering services, home repair, Manna food pickup, and much more. 

One of the most unique elements of the Village of Takoma Park has been its ability to form trusting relationships with racially and economically diverse residents, who all know they can turn to Wolfgang if they need help. Wolfgang’s leadership set the tone in creating a truly inclusive, respectful, and effective organization that serves all residents of the zip code of 20912. 

Wolfgang’s secret to success is to lead by example. He does not just serve as the president of the board and let others take action. He is actively involved and uses his experience to help the organization increase its capacity to serve people in ways that are meaningful to them. 
  —Nominated by Pazit Aviv​


See all of this year's honorees