MEET BARBARA NATOLI: THIS MONTH’S SUPERSTAR PARENT
Barbara is a Montgomery County Police officer, a mom of a 6-year-old and an avid supporter, volunteer, advocate and fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD). Barbara has been a participant in the Maryland State Police (MSP) Polar Bear Plunge since its inception in 1997. This year’s plunge held on March 18 & 19 was her 26th year!
WP: Tell us about the MSP Polar Bear Plunge and how you got involved in it?
Barbara: The MSP Polar Bear Plunge is a Law Enforcement Torch Run® (LETR) sponsored event that raises awareness and funds for the 6,102 athletes of Special Olympics Maryland (SOMD). In 2012, I joined the Super Plunge Team, committed to raising a minimum of $10,000 for the privilege of plunging for 24 hours – once an hour, every hour. In 2022, I actually committed to a minimum fundraising goal of $15,000 so that I would be able to plunge, for the first time, as a Unified Team with an athlete of SOMD. I am proud to say that my partner was SOMD athlete Joe Wu, and we were able to raise $16,046 this year!
As a law enforcement officer, I am a part of the LETR movement, the largest public awareness movement and grass-roots fundraiser for Special Olympics. Currently, I serve on the Maryland LETR Executive Council as the Mid-West Region Coordinator and the Parliamentarian and coordinate Montgomery County’s LETR, which will be held on June 8th this year. Throughout the year, I coordinate and participate in multiple fundraisers and have the distinct honor of presenting medals to athletes at the local and state competitions, recognizing them for their amazing accomplishments.
GETTING TO KNOW BARBARA
WP: What is one of your secret talents?
Barbara: It’s not really a secret, but I love to fundraise and I love to bake.
WP: Where is your favorite place in the DMV to take your daughter?
Barbara: We love Green Meadows Farm. There are so many things to do at the farm from playing on the farm equipment, to feeding the animals, to watching pig races, to hay rides. They have events and activities throughout the year, too.
WP: What is your favorite family-friendly restaurant in the DMV?
Barbara: Our daughter’s favorite restaurant is Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. Although a more formal restaurant, their staff is very accommodating to families with children and she loves their food.
WP: What is your favorite go-to dinner recipe?
Barbara: The go-to recipe that makes my daughter happy is pasta with a red sauce. She loves her pasta. I also love using my Pressure Cooker XL. My favorite recipe for the Pressure Cooker XL is Swiss Chicken Casserole.
WP: What do you say to yourself to get through challenges?
Barbara: This is a tough one because I am always thinking I need improvement. I try to remember to thank God for all that He has given me and remember that He is by my side through the tougher times. I think of my daughter and my husband because I live for the both of them. And one quote that stands out in my mind is from Winnie the Pooh: “You are braver than you believe; stronger than you seem; smarter than you think; and loved more than you’ll ever know.”
WP: What is your favorite part of being a parent?
Barbara: Seeing the world through my daughter’s eyes. There is nothing better than seeing the excitement for something new or the joy and laughter of your child. I often find myself just staring at my daughter and thinking, “wow, she is amazing!”
Do you know someone who could be the next Washington Parent Superstar? Let us know of a parent making a difference in the community and we may highlight them in a future issue! Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org