Written By Lisa Breslin, Photos by: Walter Calahan
Beth Tevis has been married to Jack Tevis, the president and CEO of Westminster’s Tevis Oil Company for 33 years. Carroll County has been her home for 40 years. She journeyed here to attend Western Maryland College and to earn her undergraduate degree in English with teaching certification for elementary education. She then earned a Master’s degree in Education, with a focus on math.
The years that Beth has given back to the county, to families and t0 youths have continued to add up ever since. She has been an elementary school teacher, a kindergarten reading tutor, a member of the Carroll County Arts Council’s board of directors, and a member of the board of the local Boys and Girls Club.
Beth is no stranger to PTO committees and school improvement teams. She volunteers an estimated 20 to 25 hours a week. During the Boys and Girls Club summer camp, she clocks in close to 40 hours a week.
What do you love most about Carroll County?
The fact that people here really care about each other and look out for each other. When our children were going through school, they were less likely to get in trouble because almost anywhere they went, especially if they thought about doing something unsafe, friends would carefully tell us. I love being part of a community that is that close. I love knowing that there are few places that we can go without seeing someone we know – really know.
What are two of the most rewarding experiences you have had doing volunteer work?
I haven’t been at the Boys and Girls Club every day like I was for a few years; but no matter how much time passes between visits, when I walk in I always hear, “Hi, Miss Beth!” and I get hugs. Someone is happy to see me all the time. That is so rewarding.
Another reward has been the joy of having an executive director there, Bonnae Meshulam, who has the skills, enthusiasm and experience to make a difference. The club is chartered now thanks to her, and she has done an amazing job finding funding sources.
What are two challenges that haunt nonprofits the most?
First: Finding the superman or superwoman who has the knowledge, passion and experience needed to succeed as an executive director and then be willing to work for half of what they are worth.
Second: There is not enough money to go around, thanks to the tanking economy.
What is the best way for everyone, including the county, to meet those challenges?
We all have to tap what we do for a living or what we do well – and enjoy doing – as sources for giving back.
What is your favorite memory of the last few years that you have been dedicated to the Boys and Girls Club?
When one of our executive directors arrived in July, she opted out of the usual food- and gifts-devoted Christmas party.
Instead, she had the youths do a performance. It was not easy getting them to cooperate, but the reward was immense. The next year, the youths got to select what they wanted to do and they shone. Their performances were hilarious and excellent and almost everyone cried.
What heartbreaking memory is linked to your work with the Club?
When I see parents so tangled in their own emotional challenges that their problems are heaped on their children’s backs, it is heartbreaking – it’s hard, really hard, to see those cycles continue.
How do you unwind at the end of the day?
Instead of reading like I used to, I do Sudoku. I also love to do rubber stamping and paper crafting. And I love to knit; knitting is therapy. My grandmother [Nettie Heckert, “Grammy”] taught me when I was 8, and knitting really helped me when my father [William Aaron Heckert] went through lung cancer.
Who inspires you the most and why?
Right now, my daughter, Tori [Victoria Erin Tevis] inspires me because she is able to go places that terrify me and get involved. She has been in the Balkans; and, right now she is in Turkey for 18 months, setting up the office that will provide solar-powered pumps to farmers in Syria. The pumps will keep the orchards alive and provide daily water for families. Tori is a quiet perfectionist who focuses on something until it is completed.
What is your favorite Broadway musical right now?
I haven’t seen any of the new ones, so my favorite is still “Wicked.” I have seen it at least six times because my son [Andrew Hart Tevis] has the Jack Tevis luck and he stands in the lottery line and rarely pays for tickets.
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
I hope to be on a board that is connected to many Carroll County boys’ and girls’ clubs. I want to continue to travel. Jack and I have gone to Italy, to the walled city of Lucca, a few times. Each year, we increase our stay from five weeks to six weeks – I want the time to keep increasing. In 10 years, I hope to continue to give back near and travel far.