Commentary

printed 04/05/2019

After nearly 40 years with the Ocean City Recreation and Parks Department, Al “Hondo” Handy left in style on his final day of work last Friday – in a white stretch limousine.

His coworkers gathered outside the department at Northside Park to give him hugs and say their goodbyes before he was whisked away into retirement by his wife, Regina.

Hondo’s official retirement day was March 31, marking 39 years and three months with the department.

He has been a coach, teacher, role model and mentor to thousands of youth and adults, and anyone who knows him only has positives, loving things to say.

Over the years, Hondo has been recognized with many awards, including the Citation Award by the Maryland Recreation & Parks Association, Best Youth Organization Director by Coastal Style Magazine, and Ocean City Citizen of the Year.

One of the many things Hondo has tried to instill in youth is the importance of sportsmanship. He implemented the department’s Sportsmanship Counts Program, which has been renamed the “Al ‘Hondo’ Handy Sportsmanship Counts” program.

He also served on the board of the National Alliance of Youth Sports, bringing coaches training to the department, and spearheading a Global Gear Drive to collect sports equipment to send to underprivileged children around the world.

In addition, Hondo has been a member of the Ocean City Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Committee, and worked with the Play It Safe program for high school graduates.

He has been the department’s liaison to the community for most of his career, and his outreach has brought tremendous goodwill and support to the department, according to Susan Petito, director of Ocean City Recreation and Parks.

Hondo has positively affected the lives of thousands and it will be strange not seeing his smiling face at the department.

Always a generous and caring person, Hondo will celebrate his retirement with a party at Seacrets this Friday with a fundraiser for the John H. “Jack” Burbage Regional Cancer Center in Berlin.

He has been a pleasure to work with over the years and we hope he enjoys this next chapter in his life. It is well deserved.

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