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Letters to the editor

October 20, 2003

Bad behavior at JFK is not tolerated


To the editor:

I'm writing in response to Robert T. Sollenberger's letter, in regards to he being "banned" from participating in the 41st annual JFK 50 Mile, that was printed on Oct. 15.

I'd first of all like to clarify the Cumberland Valley Athletic Club's policy as to acceptance into the JFK 50 Mile as a participant.

Applicants must be at least 13 years of age. Applicants must sign a "waiver" that states they understand the rigors, and accept the potential risks, involved with participating in such a demanding event. Applicants under the age of 18 must have the waiver signed by a legal guardian.

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Clearly stated below the waiver section of the entry form is the statement, "The CVAC reserves the right to reject any entry that by opinion of the organizers is not in the best interest of the JFK 50 Mile or the CVAC."

In stark contradiction to Mr. Sollenberger's suggestion that the CVAC does not accept or appreciate criticism well, we seek it. Following the conclusion of the event each year a survey is mailed to all our entrants asking for comments, suggestions and criticism. We greatly value the "input" of our participants and thoroughly scrutinize every suggestion and criticism.

More than 300 local individuals - mostly volunteers - contribute their time, energies and resources each year to make the JFK 50 Mile possible and as the event's director I will not tolerate any inappropriate or disrespectful behavior from any of our participants towards those working the JFK 50 Mile in a support capacity. Mr. Sollenberger has not been excluded from the 41st annual JFK 50 Mile for his criticisms, but rather for the forum he chose to express those criticisms and his lack of remorse for his actions.

Mike Spinnler
JFK 50 Mile Director
Hagerstown




W House is a gem


To the editor:

There are angels who walk among us. I feel compelled to let our community know about the W House. The main purpose of this house is to assist women who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, and to help these women become productive members of society. I am honored to say I was a client of the W House.

Most women when they arrive at the House know nothing about living life on life's terms. Our addictions took control and we no longer could function as positive role models. We felt hopeless. Many of us had lost everything - our homes, our families, and most important we lost ourselves and our purpose in life. We know longer had choices; our addictions controlled our whole being. There is a hopelessness that comes with addiction that is so overwhelming that many would never be able to comprehend.

Although the counselors and many members of the board have never felt the actual pain of addition, they all have an understanding that is unexplainable. I feel this is a gift they were given in order to help others and each of them has brought this gift to the W House. They understand addiction has nothing to do with will power. They help us to understand and accept our own powerlessness.

They also teach us that to internalize that addiction is not a matter of being weak or inferior. Some in society would have us to believe that we were just throwaways, that society would be better off without us. But as soon as we show up at the door of the W House (no matter how we get there, jails, rehabs, etc.) we begin to feel hope again. In teaching us life skills and loving us when we couldn't love ourselves, many of us now walk among the living. We were able to recognize our own gifts in life.

Although I am no longer a client at the W House, it is still very much a part of my life. I will never forget the unconditional love that was shared with me. I don't think the counselors and the board members of the House realize all of the lives they actually touch.

Not only do they help their clients, but families are brought back together, children are reunited with their mothers and employers have dependable employees again. They have taught me to depend on outside sources for help. I am no longer ashamed of my past, nor am I afraid to reach out when I need to.

Although I now have a network away from the W House, I still utilize them often. I letting others know about the angles of W House, I hope I'm able to express the gratitude I fell for the House and those WHO keep it functioning. They have brought joy to those of us who knew nothing but pain. They have taught us love when we thought we were undeserving of it. Thank you and God bless you for giving of yourselves so freely.

Cindy Fritz
Hagerstown

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