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Events throughout county help organizations, celebrate spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Northern Middle School's John Williams looks to pass around D Bowie during the MLK Day of Service Basketball Tournament Monday afternoon at the Martin Luther King Jr gymnasium.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

While banks, schools and government agencies were closed Monday to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the gym at the Memorial Recreation Center in Hagerstown bustled with activity.

Memorial Recreation Center Executive Director Karen Cook said the highlight of the day was a basketball tournament to raise proceeds to build an outdoor basketball court for the center’s youth.

Some of the other events at the center included a poetry reading and dance routines.

“This is our first endeavor to raise funds for the court,” Cook said. “We hope to resurface it in March.”

Cook said center officials will need about $3,000 to build the court near the recreation center’s parking lot. She said the work will involve tearing up the existing concrete and replacing it with a new surface.

Because Monday was the first step in the fundraising effort, Cook said she wasn’t sure how much money organizers would need to finish the outdoor basketball court and other projects.

“We intend to make this an annual event,” Cook said. “This is a wonderful partnership.”

That partnership, she said, is between Memorial Recreation Center and Volunteer Washington County, an organization that brings people together to do charitable work in the community.

Bernadette Wagner, co-director of Volunteer Washington County, said the activities at Memorial Recreation Center only scratched the surface of all the events that were scheduled across the county on Monday to recognize the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The residents of San Mar Children’s Home, for example, took down Christmas decorations at Williamsport Retirement Village, and members of the Unitarian Universalist Church cleaned the kitchen at Reach of Washington County, a cold weather shelter on West Franklin Street in Hagerstown.

Wagner said volunteers also ran recycling programs at several Washington County high schools to give people a chance to turn in their old electronic appliances.

The turn-in site at Boonsboro High School was busy all morning.

Site volunteer Rick Schulman said vehicles pulled up every five minutes to dispose of items that included computers, printers and televisions.

“This is an overwhelming response,” Schulman said. “I enjoy this. This is what it’s all about.”

Rohrersville resident Martha Meehan said she appreciated the recycling station at Boonsboro High School because Washington County doesn’t have a decent place to drop off electronic equipment.

She pulled up to the site on Monday to drop off a trunk full of items, including a computer and a dot matrix printer.

“I think the whole idea of recycling is important,” she said.

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