He's working to obtain local community centers

N. Linn Hendershot

N. Linn Hendershot

April 29, 2007|by DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - N. Linn Hendershot said he lives each day like it's his last.

For Hendershot, 62, health has long been an issue. He was diagnosed with polio at age 3 and has used a wheelchair ever since.

But the worst blow came about 10 years ago when Hendershot contracted bronchial pneumonia, he said. The illness demanded a tracheotomy to save his life.

He now breathes with the assistance of a ventilator.

"When you live on a ventilator, you look at things very differently," he said. "I try to make the next day the best it can be."


Hendershot said his condition gives him the drive to help others.

He spends his free time trying to bring community/senior centers to Washington County - one of only a few counties in the state of Maryland that doesn't have such places, he said.

The centers provide a place for all age groups to mingle.

Hendershot said his goal is to open three centers.

"Linn is a dynamic visionary who is constantly coming up with wonderful ideas," said Susan J. MacDonald, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging. "He is able to get things done ... He's a very determined person."

Hendershot was born in Hagers-town and grew up in Warfordsburg, Pa.

Shortly after he graduated from the University of Maryland in 1966, Hendershot was hired as the assistant director of public relations for the Atlanta Falcons.

He left the Falcons in 1970 to pursue other professional interests, including a stint from 1992 to 1996 representing the Committee On Disability Access to ensure that the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta were accessible for people with disabilities.

"We ended up doing some pretty neat things," he said.

It was in Atlanta after the Olympics ended that Hendershot contracted bronchial pneumonia.

In 1997, he moved back to Hagers-town to receive treatment at the Western Maryland Hospital Center on Pennsylvania Avenue. He was a resident there for 14 months.

Hendershot said the facility offers exceptional care for people with respiratory problems. Upon his discharge from the hospital in 1998, Hendershot said, he stayed on as the hospital's director of communications.

In addition to working on the community/senior centers project, Hendershot said he wants to help bring a program to the county that would make it easier to find people with autism and Alzheimer's disease if they wander off.

The program, known as Project Lifesaver, provides Alzheimer's and autistic people with an electronic wristband that transmits a signal authorities can track by using a receiver in a helicopter or airplane.

"I'm not here to make a career," said Hendershot, a former Hagers-town City Council member. "I'm here to make a difference."


Name: N. Linn Hendershot

Hometown: Hagerstown

Occupation: Director of communications for the Western Maryland Hospital Center in Hagerstown

What was your proudest moment?: He said it was being asked to speak at the May 8 True Grit banquet. The True Grit program honors student athletes who might not be the star of the team, but who have overcome physical or other obstacles to become integral parts of their athletic programs.

Whom do you most admire, and why?: "My sister Marion. She's been that person throughout my life who's always given me that nudge ... 'Can't' was never an option ... Whatever the challenge was, she was there."

What is the best piece of advice you ever received, and who gave it to you?: "My father, Noah. He was a tremendous inspiration to me. Once again, he said, 'Can't' wasn't an option."

What is the next goal you would like to achieve?: "Get Project Lifesaver on its feet and see three senior centers combining with community centers."

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