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Event cools cabin fever while raising cold cash for Potomac Center

March 04, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Renee Rock, right, a physical therapy assistant at the Potomac Center and her mother, Sharon Rock, both of Waynesboro, Pa., attend the Leap Out of Cabin Fever event Sunday at Cortland Mansion in Hagerstown's North End.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Officials at the Potomac Center say it is important to get intellectually disabled residents at the facility out in the community.

Residents are taken to movies, restaurants and stores as part of an effort to help them return to life in society.

But finding dependable transportation for the residents can be difficult, said Lisa Lynn, volunteer coordinator at the Potomac Center on Marshall Street.

Center officials struggle with vehicle breakdowns. Two vehicles had to be towed from the center in the last two years because they weren’t worth repairing, according to Lynn and Cathy Marshall, chief executive officer of the Potomac Center.

“It’s not good,” Lynn said.

It’s an example of an increasingly tough situation at the Potomac Center as its funding decreases and the number of clients increases. About 58 people are served by the center.

To help the state-supported Potomac Center with its operations, the facility’s volunteer association held a fundraiser Sunday that organizers were hoping would raise about $2,500.

The Leap Out of Cabin Fever event at Cortland Mansion in Hagerstown’s North End raised money for the Potomac Center through a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle, $20 tickets to the event, and groups and individuals who sponsored tables at which guests sat. About 100 tickets were sold for the 2 p.m. event.

The Potomac Center gets funding from the state for the facility’s basic needs, Lynn said. But more money is needed for transportation and the cost of exposing residents to activities in the community, she said. The volunteer association also helps provide items like hearing aids and wheelchairs to residents who can’t afford them, Marshall said.

Those who attended the Leap Out of Cabin Fever event sampled food and listened to jazz music from The Ken Jankura Trio. Items available for sale in the silent auction included a tabletop grill, handmade afghan, an Oneida tray, a Longaberger basket, a bartender’s starter kit and a leather briefcase.

Pam Arnold of Hagerstown said she attended Sunday’s event because her friend is an activity coordinator at the Potomac Center and she wanted to support her. Arnold said she hopes the fundraiser “grows through the years.”

Renee Rock, another attendee, said she hopes Sunday’s event will create more community awareness about the center.

“Hopefully we can have this every year,” said Rock, who has been a physical therapy assistant at the center for about 20 years.

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