Service, sacrifice, strength can spell good news

July 02, 2011|Jake Womer

Last week in this space, Night City Editor Stuart Samuels detailed how The Herald-Mail works to show the full picture of Hagerstown, Washington County and the Tri-State area.

I'm continuing that theme.

While there is more crime and misfortune than any of us would like, our neighbors also are doing a lot of good, and we've shared several of those stories in the past week.

Here's some good news that Herald-Mail readers might have enjoyed:

  • Korean War veteran Wayne Winebrenner of Hagerstown received gratitude from a South Korean church for his service during the war.
  • Church group volunteers from near and far completed community-service projects in Hagerstown
  • Randy Samu's story is one of perseverance and the power of a positive outlook. Samu, a Hagerstown resident, deals with intense adversity, but will tell you how stability has strengthened him since a double-leg amputation 15 years ago.
  • Hagerstown's own Carlie Colella won the title of Miss Maryland.
  • Two men in their 20s have recruited a local crew to make a movie named after Greencastle, Pa., where they formed a childhood friendship.
  • Friends and family remembered the life of Donald E. "Donnie" Palmer Jr. of Hagerstown as part of The Herald-Mail's weekly feature A Life Remembered.
  • Washington County track-and-field athletes gave a strong showing at an Amateur Athletic Union event in Hagerstown.
  • June Benchoff of Hagerstown has worked as a crossing guard since 1957, and she plans to continue to help keep schoolchildren safe.
  • Smithsburg Middle School student Cassandra Li, 13, spelled more than 100 words correctly to win second place in Western Maryland HealthSpell, a spelling bee using health terminology. She earned a $2,000 scholarship.
  • Five former Hagerstown Community College athletes were inducted into the HCC Hawk Booster Club Hall of Fame.
  • James "Jim" Blaylock of Boonsboro was recognized as a Volunteer of the Year for donating his time as general manager of the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.
  • Janet Rohrer retired after teaching 41 years at Boonsboro Elementary School, the same school she attended as a child.
  • Caroline Holmes, 11, of Greencastle, Pa., created an ice cream flavor that beat out 400 others in the early part of a contest to get her to a final round of competition. Proceeds raised will go toward charities near to her heart.
  • And in a heart-stopper that provided a sense of relief because it could have been much worse: A two-vehicle accident left a school bus upside down on Interstate 81, but no one was seriously injured. By the next day, all of the children and adults on the bus were recovering at home.

In addition to those stories, The Herald-Mail sports department covered 20 Little League tournament games last week. Whenever kids are having fun playing ball, working hard as a team and learning about sportsmanship, I consider that good news.

We also published the following:

  • A weekly page called Positive Press that appears in each Sunday's Lifestyle section.
  • A whole page of wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements.
  • More than a page of local business news, dominated by achievements.
  • A page of student news, again dominated by achievements and awards.
Yes, we published news about crime and death last week, but several other stories and features were informative about our community, and others were positive.

That's the whole picture of where we live.

Jake Womer is executive editor of The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7594, or by email at
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