OAKLAND — A Garrett County family, who turned their heartache from losing a 2-year-old son into a passion for helping thousands of children, was honored Wednesday by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot.
Krystal and Brian Boals, who started Landon’s Library in honor of their son, were awarded the William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award during a ceremony at the Garrett County Transportation Museum.
“We have presented this to a lot of people around the state, who represent faith and hope, community and strength through joining together,” Franchot said. “I can’t think of any better recipient than Krystal and Brian.”
Established in 2006, Landon’s Library is a nonprofit that provides a new book each month to every child born in Garrett County from birth until they start kindergarten — the first countywide effort of its kind in Maryland.
“I can’t think of any more deserving people to win this award,” Paul Edwards, chairman of the Garrett County Commissioners, said. “We talk about the books but these guys do so much more than the books, they help sponsor the mobile classroom for the public school system. If you live in Garrett County you are touched in some way shape or form by Brian and Krystal.”
Landon’s Library was founded in memory of the Boals’ son, Landon.
“Hug your kids daily because life can change in the blink of an eye,” Brian Boal said. “Our perfect world changed when a phone call came but what I didn’t realize that night was that it wasn’t just our lives that were changing, thousands of lives would be changed with a simple phone call.”
Landon’s Library also offers the Andrew Woods Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to area high school students.
“God used heartbreak and he turned that for our good and his glory by blessing kids in Garrett County from the day they are brought into this Earth at the hospital into the day they walk across the stage for graduation,” Krystal Boal said.
Landon’s Library also hosts play dates for children.
Dave Marsh, pastor of Crossroads Church at Deep Creek Lake, spoke about how inspirational the Boals are.
“You make us want to be better Christians, you make us want to be better citizens in our community, you just inspire everyone you come into contact with and we thank you for letting God use you the way he has,” Marsh said.
The Schaefer award honors the legacy of public service left by the former mayor of Baltimore, governor and comptroller. It is presented in each of Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City to individuals and organizations with a commitment to helping people.
Before traveling to the transportation museum, Franchot went to Simon Pearce Factory Store and Glassblowing Workshop in Mountain Lake Park and Lakeside Creamery in Deep Creek Lake to present proclamations.
“Keep doing what you are doing and it’s going to drive 10 to 15,000 people this way,” said Franchot to the employees at Simon Pearce.
Simon Pearce opened in 1999 and is an expansion of the factory’s headquarters in Vermont, founded by Simon Pearce in 1981.
Bill Meagher, owner of the Lakeside Creamery, was presented with a proclamation for operating the business for over 20 years.