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He does a lot of good but says he's no do-gooder

Dan Spedden

Dan Spedden

April 29, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Dan Spedden said he doesn't think of himself as a do-gooder and technically he's not.

According to Webster's New World College Dictionary, a do-gooder "seeks to correct social ills in an idealistic, but usually impractical or superficial, way."

Spedden has donated his time and effort to help numerous charitable and nonprofit groups in the Washington County community. His family also began hosting Hagerstown Suns players during the 2006 season.

And he's not impractical. When he realized his obligation to coach his son's Little League team was interfering with his ability to show up for every board meeting for MIHI - Many Individuals Helping Individuals Inc. - he stepped down with every intention of returning to help the organization in a few years.

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Spedden, 47, of Hagerstown's North End, has put what he's learned through MIHI to work with his state job as park superintendent for South Mountain Recreation Area.

The park will have a formal ribbon-cutting in May for a new universal-access plaza at Greenbrier State Park's beachfront. Anyone, including people in wheelchairs and moms pushing strollers, can access it.

MIHI is a Hagerstown-based nonprofit with the mission of providing assistance to people with disabilities and to senior citizens, helping to enhance their quality of life by eliminating physical barriers in the community, according to its Web site at www.wclink.org/wmhc/mihi.htm.

Spedden also helped obtain a $40,000 grant through MIHI to build a universal-access bleacher stand for the 2003 season at Federal Little League off Northern Avenue. Now people with canes or wheelchairs can get from the parking lot to the stands, sit with their families and have a good view of the game.

The idea came when Spedden saw grandparents who wanted to watch the game, but couldn't get to the bleachers or find a good view.

Spedden got involved with MIHI at the request of a co-worker several years ago. Many of the philanthropic endeavors with which he gets involved are tied to his own interests, he said.

He's coached his son's Little League team, now a junior league team at Maugansville, since 1998.

"It's fun and it's frustrating and it's time-consuming and it's rewarding all at the same time," Spedden said.

He participates in fundraisers to help Suns players and his family hosts players because he's a fan of the Class A minor league baseball team, attending as many games as his work permits.

Between his day job and the players' night and road games, Spedden said his wife Janette and son Zach, 14, see the players more often than he does.

"I like the fact that they're a positive image for my son," he said.

As a board member for the Suns Fan Club, he and his son help raffle off Suns-autographed bats during games to help provide services and household goods for the players.

Spedden has helped plan the Suns' annual chili cook-off, which has raised money for the Washington County Arts Council and local medical clinics that help people without health insurance.

And he has served on various Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau boards since 1998.




Q&A



Name: Dan Spedden

Hometown: Hagerstown

Occupation: Park superintendent for South Mountain Recreation Area and a captain for the Maryland Park Service.

What was your proudest moment?: "I've been involved, in my career, in actual life-saving operations."

He also is proud of securing state funding for an intervention program in which youths 16 and older living in the local HotSpot area were picked up in their neighborhood and taken to Greenbrier State Park for full-time summer jobs doing park maintenance projects.

"Personally, my family. It's just the three of us. We're a tight little group. ... It's probably the most rewarding thing I have going for me."

Whom do you most admire, and why?: His dad, Harry Spedden. "I've had a lot of positive influences throughout my life with coaches. ... My dad's been a constant positive example in my life."

What is the best piece of advice you ever received and who gave it to you?: His father would say "Don't act stupid." He said he "always thought that was great advice."

What is the next goal you would like to achieve?: "My next milestone is retirement. ... I want to be successful at my career until then. ... My next major goal would be to get my son through college."

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