Printer pitching in to aid Romanian orphans

July 18, 2000

Printer pitching in to aid Romanian orphans

By MARC G. AUBER / Staff Writer

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

Peter WrightA Hagerstown businessman plans to trade his pencil for a hammer late this summer when he heads to Romania to help build an orphanage.

Peter Wright, who owns Tri-State Printing Inc., said that he will go to Oradea, Romania, Sept. 4 and will return Oct. 6.


"I have been looking for some sort of missionary experience that I could jump out of my work for a week or a month," he said. "The idea is to free myself up at a critical point when people are in need."


He realizes that Romanians continue to experience broad social, political and economic changes, but said that doesn't justify how some children are treated there.

"I know there is a transition into a capitalistic system, but I am not sure why the chronic abuse with children," Wright said. "It is definitely a serious problem."

That is why he decided to pack his boots and gloves and, at his own expense, pitch in for an effort that he believes will help Oradea children.

"If you can't develop young people properly, then they are going to become improper adults," he said.

Homer Lewis, who owns and operates Trivo Corp. Inc. in Hagerstown, said he and Wright crossed paths about 20 years ago. Lewis said he is not surprised at what his longtime pal is up to.

"It just sounds like what he has done all of his life," Lewis said. "He decides, 'Hey, I am going to do this,' and he just does it."

He said that after Wright completed a term in the military, he caught a boat to Argentina and from there rode a motorcycle through South America to Southern California before heading east.

"He is just a real interesting character," Lewis said. "He is fascinating."

Wright isn't asking for any credit because he simply wants to apply his knowledge and his knack of adjusting to different situations to improve others' lives.

"The thing that I am very good at is being able to adapt into a social environment without being a burden on any organization," he said. "I have no problem finding my own inexpensive lodging and food. I will hit the ground running."

Wright found out about the project last year when he helped restore Abaco in the Bahamas after Hurricane Floyd devastated some Caribbean islands.

He said he frequently attended a local church and its minister often talked about abused Romanian children during his sermons.

"A lot of his ministry was about a Gypsy person holding an infant up without any clothes in the middle of the winter," said Wright, who attends the First Presbyterian Church on Prospect Street.

After learning that plans were under way to build an orphanage in Oradea, he became increasingly interested in helping.

Wright is eager to begin assisting with the project that he has heard is progressing well.

"It is all heart," he said. "I started this focus some time ago and kept my eye on it. I can swing a hammer or lay block just as good as the next (guy)."

While Wright switches gears in Romania, he'll not worry about business because he trusts that his daughter Julia, 21, and son Samuel, 23, will hold down the fort in Hagerstown.

"Both of them cut their teeth in printing," Wright said. "This is what they know and this is what they have done."

Julia isn't shocked at her father's plans and is confident that she and her brother will be fine at Tri-State while he is away.

"I think it is nice that he is getting to the age that he can just take off like that without worrying about the company," she said.

The Herald-Mail Articles