DEVCOM’s Michael Bennett nominated for Harford County’s Most Beautiful People Award

By Argie Sarantinos, DEVCOM HeadquartersNovember 3, 2022

Essie Bennett, Kim Selby, counselor at George Lisbon Elementary School in Aberdeen, Maryland, and Michael Bennett during a recent school supply drive. Essie and Michael Bennett were nominated for Harford County’s Most Beautiful People Award for their extensive community service.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Essie Bennett, Kim Selby, counselor at George Lisbon Elementary School in Aberdeen, Maryland, and Michael Bennett during a recent school supply drive. Essie and Michael Bennett were nominated for Harford County’s Most Beautiful People Award for their extensive community service. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Michael Bennett and Heather Volk collect clothing for the Harford Family House, which is located in Aberdeen, Maryland. Bennett volunteers at the Harford Family House, and Volk is the HFH resource development manager.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Michael Bennett and Heather Volk collect clothing for the Harford Family House, which is located in Aberdeen, Maryland. Bennett volunteers at the Harford Family House, and Volk is the HFH resource development manager. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. -- For Michael Bennett, community service is a way of life. Bennett is a management analyst on the Operations team at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Headquarters. He has been volunteering for the past 12 years and was recently nominated as one of Harford County’s Most Beautiful People for his extensive community service.

“Mike Bennett has been so generous with his time and resources since becoming involved with Harford Family House over eight years ago. Whether he is helping to move furniture to get an apartment ready for a family seeking shelter, hosting a donation drive, supporting one of our events or anything in between, we are lucky to have someone so dedicated to the community in our corner,” said Heather Volk, Harford Family House resource development manager.

Sixteen people were nominated for the 2022 Harford’s Most Beautiful People award, including Michael and his wife, Essie. This is the 36th year that the award has been presented. Essie and Michael retired from the Army after serving nearly 54 years combined.

Their community service efforts began in college when Michael was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and Essie was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Essie is now a member of the Harford County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Michael is a chaplain with the lota Nu Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. which serves Harford and Cecil counties. He often reaches out to members of the fraternity when he needs help with a project.

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity raises money for college scholarships and sponsors highway and park cleanup near APG. The fraternity also sponsored a school supply drive in February for a local elementary school and a “feeding the district” campaign that included Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York shelters. The team delivered 400 box meals, as well as dairy products, vegetables and eggs to local families in Harford County.

When Michael began volunteering in 2010, he helped with sock and food drives that benefited a local orphanage. The projects were spearheaded by a young girl who had cancer, fondly known as Amazing Grace. He began helping the Harford Family House in 2014.

“I saw a big need at the Harford Family House, so that is where I am focusing my energy now,” Michael said.

Since 1989, Harford Family House has been providing housing, support and resources to families and individuals in Harford County who have been experiencing homelessness. In 2021, the Harford Family House Shelter served 43 families (52 adults and 75 children) and 12 single young adults, while the HFH Welcome One Emergency Shelter served 162 individuals.

Michael Bennett has been volunteering for the past 12 years and was recently nominated as one of Harford County’s Most Beautiful People for his extensive community service. Bennett ensures apartments are ready for families seeking shelter at the Harford Family House.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Michael Bennett has been volunteering for the past 12 years and was recently nominated as one of Harford County’s Most Beautiful People for his extensive community service. Bennett ensures apartments are ready for families seeking shelter at the Harford Family House. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Michael and Essie Bennett collected and donated more 4,000 pounds of food last year during a Thanksgiving food drive for the Harford Community Action Agency’s Food Bank.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Michael and Essie Bennett collected and donated more 4,000 pounds of food last year during a Thanksgiving food drive for the Harford Community Action Agency’s Food Bank. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Michael and Essie also adopt a family each Christmas and visit nursing homes throughout the year to deliver Valentine and Easter baskets. Essie collected and donated more than 4,000 pounds of food last year during a Thanksgiving food drive for the Harford Community Action Agency’s Food Bank, and she is hoping to collect more this year.

Michael and Essie were recently presented with certificates at the Harford’s Most Beautiful People award dinner. For Michael, recognition of his service is appreciated, but he serves for a deeper reason.

“Giving back to the community makes you feel good,” Michael said.

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The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command — DEVCOM — is home to the Army’s largest pool of civilian scientists, engineers, analysts and technicians who are the bedrock for discovering and developing the capabilities Soldiers need to deter and, when necessary, defeat current and future adversaries.

DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of Army Futures Command and, together, the Team of Teams provides the scientific and engineering expertise necessary to better integrate modernization priorities and give the Army, as part of the Joint Force, the ability to act faster and more effectively than the adversary.