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Letters to the editor

May 29, 2006

Positive events at Western Maryland

To the editor:

On Thursday, May 4, the young men at the Western Maryland Children's Center in Hagerstown held a poetry reading. Several guests from the Department of Juvenile Services and the community attended this event. I am grateful for their support and genuine interest in the positive work the youth I teach do on a daily basis. The young men at WMCC are appreciative of the support they received as well. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended or assisted with our program. I would first like to thank the following people from the Department of Juvenile Services for taking the time to attend our program:

Sheri Miesel, superintendent of education, Liz Cavey, coordinator of correctional education, James Smith, director of detention and residential operations, Robert Weaver, DJS assistant area director for area III, Dale Schroyer, DJS superintendent of Area III and Robert McElvie, acting regional deputy director residential services.

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Several staff from WMCC also assisted me with the program. Brenda Hill-Cook and Stephen Allen, food maintenance manager, prepared delicious refreshments for the program. Mrs. Hill also set up the refreshments and then cleared the tables.

Melanie Graves, teacher supervisor, helped plan the evening's events, set up the gym and created certificates which she presented to the youth who participated. Mike Palmer, maintenance, helped to set up the gymnasium. Paula Bowman-youth supervisor, Beth Hill-administrative assistant and Helen Mency, facility administrator, supported the students by attending the program. Members from the community also attended.

Del. Robert McKee, Ike Williams, Antietam Academy principal, and Ed Malloy, community advisory board member, were honored guests as well. The support these people gave to our students is priceless.

I also want to thank the young gentlemen I work with for their hard work and effort. They are commended for their respectful behavior during the event as well. It has truly been a blessing for me to work with them. I learn from them, and hope they realize how bright and talented they are. The students who participated in the program showed courage for standing up in front of an audience. Students, keep working hard, and know you can achieve anything if you believe in yourselves.

In closing, I just want our community to know that there are many positive things happening at the Western Maryland Children's Center. Many people do not realize what the youth at our facility do. Our youth attend classes Monday through Friday and are involved with various activities, such as community service, to help them make positive choices and grow, both academically and socially.

Our students have made mistakes outside the facility that have brought them to us, and we help them learn from those mistakes and discover alternative routes for their lives. I feel it is important that there is often a "negative" stigma attached to detention facilities when so much "positive" is occurring. The poetry reading is just one example of that.

Kellee Smith, teacher
Western Maryland Children's Center
Hagerstown




Remembering 'Pap' on Memorial Day

To the editor:

Here it is - the month of May. On May 9, 1996, my father, Maxwell E. Grim died - where has 10 years gone?

The month of May brings memories of Memorial Day in Sharpsburg. Are you ready for the "Dec" (Decoration Day) neighbor would say to neighbor, as the whole town would get ready. Yards mowed, porches cleaned, flags flying, families and friends gathering for picnics. The morning of the Memorial Day Celebration in Sharpsburg was filled with wreath laying ceremonies in the square and patriotic music, usually played by the Rohrersville Band.

My father, Maxwell E. Grim, was a Purple Heart veteran of World War II, having landed on the beaches of Normandy as part of Company B. He was always so proud to wear his hat decorated with his medals on Memorial Day. He would go down to the square to be there for all the ceremonies. Then, later the traditional parade took place in the afternoon. He was so proud as the flag passed by - saluting every time.

Today, on the 10th year of his death, I reminisce a bit. I am proud that my dad - a country boy -who served his country for my freedom. I do wish he could see his four great-grandchildren. They would love "Pap."

As we remember Memorial Day, we need to thank those who fought for our freedom and continue to remember and pray for those who now serve the USA.

God bless the USA. Thanks, Pap.

Joyce G. DeBaugh
Boonsboro

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