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letters to the editor - 4/10/01

April 09, 2001

Letters to the Editor 4/10



Potomac Center serves us well



To the editor:

This letter is addressing an article which was published in The Herald-Mail on Saturday, March 17, entitled "It's time to close Potomac Center and places like it." While I do not know the person who wrote the article, I felt compelled to respond.

I don't know if Ms. Fales has a developmentally disabled relative or has any knowledge of Potomac Center other than the fact that it is a state institution. I am a parent of a developmentally disabled individual and my son receives respite care services at Potomac Center. I, therefore, feel I know what the center has to offer and the importance of continuing to keep it open - not only for the individuals residing there but for individuals like my son. He enjoys his stays at Potomac Center and requests to go there.

She says the Washington County community is rich in community based housing and support options for every level of care. I do not agree with this statement. We have some housing and support options. But I can attest to the fact that my son's support services are very limited due to lack of qualified personnel. This lady evidently has not been subjected to or witnessed the stares, comments or ridicule from some in the community regarding the mentally retarded.

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Most think the community living idea is very nice as long as it isn't in their neighborhood. Take a severely mentally retarded person into a restaurant and see how many people sit close to you.

Fales may have visited an institution some time in her life, but I feel sure she has not visited Potomac Center. She talks about the "state's disinfected tile hallways," but this center is very home-like and when my son stays there, I feel very comfortable that he is receiving very good treatment. I know there are other parents who have the same feelings as I do. Potomac Center does not need to be propped up, it stands by itself quite well.

Jane Taylor

Hagerstown

MIHI says thanks to sponsors



To the editor:

There have been a number of stories in the paper about the Easter egg hunt which we had as part of our craft fair fund raising event on Saturday, March 22, at the Washington County Ag Center - including the well-written piece by Jennifer Silbert "Remember parents: Easter egg hunts are for kids."

We regret very much that a number of small children were disappointed in the event and in some cases were even in tears. Obviously this was not what we intended, and everyone can be assured that we will do better next year with more volunteers etc.

We have been working hard to raise money for the "Boundless Playground" which will be located at the Marty Snook Park at Halfway. This playground will be accessible to children of all abilities and it is part of our long-term efforts to provide recreation for those with disabilities and our senior citizens. The craft fair was successful in helping to provide these funds.

We want to thank our major sponsor for the event, Marshalls, without whom we would not have been able to do as much promotional work on the event. We want to thank the media - your newspaper, radio stations, and TV-25 for their help in getting the word out. Thanks also to Val-pak, Coca-Cola, Allegheny Power, Martins's Food, Sam's, Wal-Mart, Accounting Associates, and Keefauver Dry Cleaners for their help and contributions.

And, of course, Juanita Bloyer's Country Girl Creations and Freinds who put on the event. We believe the overall community is behind our projects.

William K. Beard, Jr.

Executive Director

MIHI, Inc.

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