letters to the editor - 4/1/01 - F7

March 30, 2001

Letters to the Editor 4/1 Part 2

Should Hagerstown's Potomac Center be shut? Don't choose for us

To the editor:

I was outraged by the letter in the March 17 newspaper by Sandy Fales about closing the Potomac Center. That is not the opinion of all families with developmentally disabled loved ones. If you choose to use community based housing for your loved one that is up to you; or don't you have a disabled loved one whom you care for? Please don't make that choice for me.

We have a 28 year-old son, Lynnwood, whom we care for at home. He is completely dependent on someone for his daily care. Sometimes I need to have someone else care for him for several days. The Potomac Center has a wonderful respite care program.

I know other families who also feel that the Potomac Center provides the best setting for the kind of care their family member needs. Lynnwood walks but cannot talk. Those "disinfected tile hallways" are wonderful for him to safely roam around and get the exercise he so much loves.


The Potomac Center is a beautiful homey place to live and I am grateful for the staff and peers he can interact with during his stay there. If the time ever comes when we can no longer care for Lynnwood at home, I hope to be able to have a place like the Potomac Center where he can live.

"They are us" is a myth. Every person is an individual. We all like to live where we feel equal and comfortable. If you choose community-based living, that is fine, but please don't force others into a community where they may feel inferior just so you can feel good because you accept them.

I have worked with mentally retarded and developmentally disabled children and young adults for over 20 years at the Marshall Street School.

As a parent and substitute teacher, I see the love and interaction of these children with their peers and staff. When my son attended the school he was "normal." Why can't they be in a setting where they are with other folks like them and with teachers and care-givers who specifically chose to work with their types of abilities?

Please don't close the Potomac Center. Please give us a choice of the kind of setting we feel is best for our loved ones who are not able to care for themselves.

If you truly want to discover the "everyday wonder of having them as true neighbors and friends," then move to their community. Don't make them move out of their home to come to you. You call the Potomac Center an institution. The residents there call it home.

Virginia Moyer


If you had someone there, you'd know

To the editor:

This letter is written in response to the article printed on March 17, 2001 about closing the Potomac Center. The lady that wrote that must not have a loved one there, we do. I have a brother with Cerebral Palsy and I know he would not fair better in a group home, he's been in them.

The Potomac Center is a state of the art facility with a knowledgeable and caring staff that perform miracles everyday. The center has been a constant blessing for my brother and my family for many years and something this community should be proud of, I know we are.

The thought of someone saying it should be torn down is appalling. We can only pray this facility stays open for the good of the residents present and future.

Tim and Melissa Line


Some patients need the support center provides

To the editor:

To those of you in favor of closing our center, I am speaking for not only the staff, but also the the individuals who live at Potomac Center.

I was wondering if you have ever spent more than a dirty glance or talked through an unopened door with a disabled individual. Their lives are just as important to them as your life is to you and your family.

Our population consists of many wonderful folks who care a lot about others. I only wish there were more like them in the world. These individuals are given the utmost of care and have many more opportunities and experiences than my own children.

One of the beauties of it all is that these individuals are so grateful for even the smallest piece of life. Can you say that? We as a society take many things for granted.

These folks are not given a choice of being born into this world. They did not deserve the health and future that some of them have been given. For whatever reason they were chosen to play the part.

To the lives of many of the caregivers, be it parents, relatives, therapists, doctors, etc., these folks add a special part to their lives. We can go home feeling proud of what we have accomplished though minor in a days' work.

As for the housing in the community for our individuals, are we as a normal society willing to renovate our homes, build the ramps that are necessary and adapt our toilets for these individuals, so that they may live somewhat "normal" lives? Not too many people are saying "yes," are they?

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