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Editorial - Serving citizens well

September 24, 1997

For at least 10 years now, The Herald-Mail's editorials have emphasized the importance of involving citizens directly in the operations of local government. Without fanfare, without salary, such people serve on advisory committees, study groups and panels like local planning commissions.

Too often their sacrifices of time and money go unappreciated, which is why we're so pleased that the Hagerstown /Washington County Chamber of Commerce saw fit to honor three outstanding local volunteers last week.

The first was Charles Sekula, owner of the Schmankerl Stube restaurant on South Potomac Street in downtown Hagerstown. Undaunted by two rejections of his application for a city development loan, he persisted, and the third time was the charm. His restaurant has prospered, but Sekula has done more than attend to his own business. He has served on many committees, refusing to let things bog down as they so often do when government is slow to act. He's a great choice for Volunteer of the Year.

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Wayne Alter, the Chamber Business Person of the Year, is the founder of Dynamark Security Centers, recently named one of the world's "top 100 franchised businesses." Like Sekula, he has used his success not as an excuse to relax, but to plunge into the work of improving the community, through the Greater Hagerstown Committee, among other groups.

Vincent Dellaposta, the chamber's Small Business Person of the year, runs Word Processing Services, Inc., on Northern Avenue. He has served on a variety of groups related to economic development, and speaks out on a regular basis on social and business issues without worrying about whether the reaction to what he says will be good or bad for his business.

We believe that involvement ought to have a positive effect of the fortunes of those who get involved, because instead of spending more time enriching themselves, they've donated their labor to public causes instead. We ask the public to recognize their sacrifice by patronizing their businesses, in the hope it might inspire others to follow their lead and get involved in the big task of improving life in Washington County.

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