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Dorchester Star: Burton receives William Donald Schaefer Award

CAMBRIDGE — Brian Burton of Thomas’ Funeral Home was honored with the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award for Dorchester County on Monday, March 19.

Comptroller Peter Franchot presented the award at the funeral home, and remarks about Burton were shared by friends Dave Salmon and Kenny Thomas.

Burton has worked at Thomas’ since 2003. In 2011, he became the supervising mortician upon the passing of John Thomas. Burton became co-owner of the business with Janet Thomas in 2014. He received his associate’s degree in Mortuary Science in 2001.

“Brian really represents the legacy of William Donald Schaefer,” Franchot said. “He was an iconic figure. The four-term Mayor of Baltimore City, two-term Governor of the State of Maryland, and two-term Comptroller of the State of Maryland. If this guy wasn’t the Babe Ruth of Maryland politics, no one else was.”

Franchot said Schafer lived by two maxims: “Do it now” and “He cared.”

“So, Brian Burton, thank you for caring. Thank you for being in a business where that compassion is all-important,” Franchot said, addressing Burton. “You are a credit to the profession, to the State of Maryland, and obviously to Dorchester County.”

Franchot also praised Burton’s community service through the local Lion’s Club organization.

“Your dedication to Cambridge and all the citizens of Dorchester cannot be underestimated,” he said. “You embody the altruistic motives that are the foundation of the William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award.”

Burton said he was humbled to be chosen for the honor.

“It’s a blessing that the Lord has given me the calling to help people during a difficult time,” said Burton. “It’s a great honor to help families when they need us. No matter what time of day the phone rings, we’re ready to help.”

Kenny Thomas shared with guests a few comments about Burton that came from customer surveys. Each one spoke strongly to his compassion, professionalism, and kindness.

The William Donald Shaefer Helping People Award is given annually to one person in each Maryland county and Baltimore City.

Franchot said recipients are chosen on the basis of their demonstration of commitment to helping their community, directly aiding the vulnerable in society, creating a public-private partnership to improve the lives of Marylanders or swiftly solving a citizen problem through effective government intervention.

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