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Working residents highlighted in Goodwill photo exhibit

July 22, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

daniels@herald-mail.com

Robert "Bobby" Wood nearly ran through the black-and-white photograph and gazed, transfixed upon it, his nose inches from the surface of the image at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown Thursday evening.

"Mom!" he exclaimed as Cindy Wood caught up to him.

"Is that you? Darned if it isn't!" she replied, matching her son's enthusiasm in her own tone.

There before Bobby Wood stood a photograph taken of him, proud as can be, as he shifted his attention to the camera's lens from the things he was packing into a cardboard box inside Horizon Goodwill Industries' workshop at 200 N. Prospect St. in Hagerstown.

A Halfway resident, Bobby Wood, 41, has Down syndrome. He wakes up at 6 every morning for work at Horizon filled with pride in the knowledge he is part of something, contributing to something.

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"It does him good, it really does, to be involved," Cindy Wood said. "He loves to be busy, he loves to be busy all the time. He loves it, he is content."

Looking at his image, Bobby did not seize upon those words, not precisely.

"It's a miracle, when I see myself," he said.

After soaking up the image of himself, Bobby turned around and grinned as he saw Edwin Remsberg, the photographer who took the picture, standing behind him. Instantly he reached out his hand for Remsberg to shake as he said: "Thank you."

"(It's a) relief, I'm never sure of myself, but it was great," said Remsberg, a 40-year-old Fallston, Md. resident. "I can do some good. The pictures are not what Goodwill does, but it really makes you feel like you're doing something special."

Wood's photograph was one of a series previewed at the museum Thursday as part of an exhibit by Remsberg and Horizon titled "The Power of Work," tied to the 50th anniversary of Horizon's Hagerstown operation. Through the exhibit the organization sought to highlight the breadth of services it offers from the perspective of people like Bobby Wood who derive pleasure from working. The exhibit will be on display at various locations throughout the quad-state region starting at Hagerstown Trust Co. in August.

"We all identify ourselves with what we do for a living, it's how we derive our self-esteem," said Horizon spokesman Greg Evans. "Personally, I just want people to understand how important work is for an individual, it just, still, keeps that power of work in people's heads."

Horizon CEO Craig M. MacLean said while there are poignant stories behind each of the photographs, he was pleased to see that Remsberg captured much of those stories through the expression on his subjects' faces. He pointed to one photograph of a receptionist for the National Park Service at Harper's Ferry.

"If you look at the honor and the pride she has; it's so transformed her life," MacLean said. "You look at that face, and you begin to understand something about hope, and pride, and all that."

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