Letters to the Editor - Aug. 19

August 19, 2012

Jack Hershey said it all with a smile

To the editor:

Over the last few weeks, I have thought about and discussed with others the loss of John R. Hershey Jr. As so many have expressed, Jack was a terrific husband, father and grandfather, a wonderful citizen of Washington County, and an astute and very successful financial expert.

He generously became a local philanthropist who made our small part of the world a better place through his many contributions of time and money to important local needs.  Although much has already been said about his many local charitable donations, I wanted to add my thoughts to the chorus of praise for Jack Hershey and share my perspective on why he was an extraordinary individual.

Most importantly, I urge our community to long remember him as a role model for community citizenship, always being proud of the many wonderful aspects of Washington County and doing so many things publicly and behind the scenes to assist persons in need. He was a local champion for many nonprofits to advance their mission and serve so many community members.

He even planned that after his passing the Jack and Anna Hershey Foundation would match gifts to local nonprofits for 30 days after his death. This says so much about who Jack was, and for many of us, it further ignites our praise and gratitude that will never fade away.

Jack and his family were extremely generous in helping HCC raise funds for endowed scholarships. I’m so proud that each and every year forward, a number of HCC students will be beneficiaries of the Hershey family scholarships.

The college plans to share with these students the Jack Hershey story so they, too, can more fully appreciate the man responsible for helping them afford a college education. My wife, Sue, and I, from the day we met Jack, always considered him, with his sparking eyes and upbeat spirit, as one of the most enthusiastic Washington County cheerleaders one could find.

Jack’s involvement with HCC said so much about who he was. He was a man for all seasons, and for all the right reasons. He regularly visited the HCC Foundation Office, the ARCC and the alumni amphitheater in recent years. Being generous with his contributions to support college academics, watching basketball games and enjoying the summer military band concerts were all part of Jack’s interest in HCC.

In fact, three days before his death, Jack was at the campus amphitheater enjoying a concert and sharing his love for the special things in life that made him so exceptional. He expressed to me on a number of occasions how pleased he was to see HCC’s expansive growth over the last 10 years, and how important a low-cost and high-quality community college was to the economic, cultural and human development of Washington County.

As we position the memories of Jack in our long-term community consciousness, I urge all of us to remember him laughing and smiling with his eyes dancing with interest and excitement, in a way that was uniquely Jack. I’m certain his family and friends will long hear Jack’s spirit saying, “Smile and be happy and don’t grieve for me.”

We should all adopt Jack’s approach to living a fulfilling and generous life, and also strive to be positive right up to the day that our God calls us home.  

Guy Altieri, president
Hagerstown Community College

Chick-fil-A cartoon distorted the facts

To the editor:

I want to take exception to the editorial cartoon about Chick-fil-A. It is a bald-faced lie.

There is absolutely no evidence that they have discriminated against gays in any way. You need to check the facts before you publish something like this. This is a free speech thing, not discrimination.

Why don’t you have fair and balanced reporting?

Joyce French

Children’s Village can support SCIP goals

To the editor:

On July 31, Jenny Fleming of the United Way and Brad Sell of the Community Foundation co-authored an article about SCIP goals being met. They specifically cite goals increasing the number of people making healthy decisions, as well as those decreasing the number of people living in risky environments.

For more than 20 years, our community has been a recognized leader in proactive child safety education through the Children’s “safety” Village initiative. When SCIP was not yet a gleam in the eye of focus groups, many in Washington County already were addressing the No. 1 cause of death/disability for children under 14, unintentional injury, by creating a child safety campus. A cross-section of organizations, community leaders and government entities understood that proactive safety education and training, rather than reactive response, was critical to increasing the number of children (and their families) making healthy decisions, while decreasing the number of children (and families) living in risky environments.

Success stories of Children’s Village students, using skills learned and practiced at the safety campus to save lives or curtail tragic results that might have occurred in emergency situations, continue to define the program’s value to our community. They affirm a Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Injury Prevention Center, study concluding positive behavioral lifestyle changes occurred in over 50 percent of homes once a child attended Children’s Village.

At Children’s Village, child safety is no accident. The program and campus are priceless gifts to the community and a credit to the vision of Washington County.

Rochelle Morrell, executive director
Children’s Village of Washington County

No one should go hungry or homeless

To the editor:

We see people all around town holding cardboard signs that say “Will work for food” or “Please help me, I’m homeless.” I was driving to work at one of the prisons south of Hagerstown, and I saw a woman on the island between traffic at a gas station and Sharpsburg Pike holding one of those signs.

I’ve worked at the prison for over 12 years and it occurred to me that if these people were to get sent to prison, they would be given everything they need at no charge to them. They would receive three hot meals every day. They would be given a place to sleep, electricity, cosmetics, and at least one shower daily.

They would have an unbelievable amount of material things at their disposal. They would have cable television, microwaves and exercise equipment, with plenty of free time to use it.

I’m sure a lot of these people aren’t in the best of health, but not to worry, because they would receive 100 percent free medical care for as long as they needed it. There is no reason for anyone in this state to go hungry or homeless. The prison system will take care of all of their needs if they can manage to get there.

Robert Sellers

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