Citicorp team 'adopts' local man's unit in Iraq

December 08, 2004|by BOB MAGINNIS

It's become an annual tradition at Citicorp Credit Service for various "teams" at the Hagerstown office to adopt needy families during the holidays.

But while Betty Schroyer of State Line, Pa., was out for surgery, her team surprised her with a new twist on the old routine. Instead of adopting a family, her team adopted her son's military unit.

Schroyer explained that her son, Gilbert "Tom" Hose, is a 34-year-old staff sergeant in the 29th Signal Battalion, now stationed 100 miles north of Baghdad.

"The team had a team meeting when I was off for recovery," Schroyer said.

"They got 27 stockings and they filled them with everything for Q-Tips to razors to gum, playing cards and all sorts of personal-care items and stuff like books of crossword puzzles," she said.


"One member of my team, Carol Perry, had her church (Hagerstown Church of Christ) raise money for shipping and they got $125. And then there were people who asked me if we needed more!" she said.

The church also collected Christmas cards for the soldiers, Schroyer said, adding that one of the most touching came from a little girl who had taped 35 cents inside.

If you think you may know Hose, but aren't sure, he's a member of the Clear Spring High School class of 1988 and is married and the father of two children, now 1 and 2.

Elsewhere on this page is a letter from a soldier stationed in Iraq. In the past, we've asked families of local soldiers who are in the war zones to share GIs' letters with us.

The Herald-Mail often hears that "the media" doesn't tell the whole story about what is going on over there. We once again offer space for local soldiers and/or their families to do so.

Washington County Commissioner John Munson recently suggested that the county might save money on school construction if it increased its class sizes to 30 or 40 students.

It worked OK when I was a student, Munson said, so why not now?

Because back then, students feared what would happen if they misbehaved, either in school or at home. Today's students don't, so a classroom with 30 students, unless it were an honors class, would be so unruly that no child would learn anything.

When I was a young reporter, my uncle, Paul Maginnis, gave me a subscription to The New Republic magazine.

Unlike the glossier weeklies, it had few pictures and no celebrity news. It did - and still does - have fine articles on topics of current interest. Some readers may remember that during the first Gulf War, The Herald-Mail reprinted TNR's fascinating profile of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.

One recent article, by Gregg Easterbrook, raised the possibility that with new automotive technology, the U.S., could drastically cut the amount of oil imported from the Persian Gulf.

Easterbrook suggests that the U.S. resists these new technologies not because they're unlikely to work, but because they're unfamiliar. Like the farmer who got used to growing only beans, the U.S. is reluctant to change.

The Herald-Mail has offered Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich space to explain why he's ordered state officials not to talk to (Baltimore) Sun columnist Mike Olesker and David Nitkin, the paper's Annapolis bureau chief.

The governor's press office said Monday that because the Sun had filed suit on Friday over the ban, it could not respond.

The governor has been promised space to write about this issue or others, such as medical malpractice. We await his first column with great interest.

Last month, Dr. Edward Ditto III, who has served Washington County for decades, not only as a physician, but also as a medical examiner, announced that he would no longer volunteer at the Community Free Clinic because of an increase in his malpractice insurance.

The clinic, which has paid previous insurance premiums of $2,000 a year, declined to pay them when it heard they were going to $5,164 - and possibly more - in 2005.

Robin Roberson, the clinic's executive director, said, "With the expense of moving into our new building, we can't afford to pay this increase."

I sympathize with the clinic's plight, but isn't this a bit like a bakery announcing it can no longer afford to run its oven? Without a medical staff, would there be a clinic to run?

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