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Building group honors Callas, Cook

September 21, 2000

Building group honors Callas, Cook



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

Mike CallasChildren's Village was just an idea with no financial backing before Michael G. Callas got involved.

Callas helped raise money and in-kind contributions to build Children's Village on Mount Aetna Road. In the last 10 years, 20,000 Washington County second-graders have learned about safety there, said Mike Weller, safety educator for the Hagerstown Fire Department.

Callas merely had to speak to a gathering of his fellow contractors about the safety program. When he asked, "Who's with me?" the crowd was on its feet, Weller said.

"I learned a valuable lesson about stature in the community," Weller said. "If you had to sum it up with one person, the root success of Children's Village has been the leadership of Mike Callas."

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Callas got another standing ovation Thursday when he was recognized by Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. of Cumberland Valley.

A dinner at Fountain Head Country Club honored Callas and Washington, D.C.-area lawyer A. Samuel Cook, for being two of ABC's Leaders of the Century.

Callas, who served as ABC's national president in 1973-74, was recognized for his lifelong commitment to the betterment of his community and the merit shop philosophy, the organization said.

The merit shop philosophy holds that construction bids should go to the lowest qualified bidder, without regard to union affiliation.

"Mike Callas gave ABC its heart," said Mike Dunbar, vice president for special projects at ABC National.

Callas has shown great compassion for his employees over the years, helping them through health problems, financial troubles and even brushes with the law, said Harry Reynolds, president of Callas Contractors Inc.

ABC recognized Cook for his work as its legal counsel from 1970 to 1986.

Cook, who worked with the law firm of Venable, Baetjer & Howard, helped contractors fight unions and stop the sometimes violent tactics that were used, his colleagues said.

"We are all better people from knowing Mike and Sam. They truly bring out the best in all of us," Dunbar said.

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