I celebrated the Fourth of July one day early at Gettysburg on July 3. I was one of several thousand people allowed to walk the route of Pickett's Charge as part of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

As I walked on the day and the hour of the original charge with General Lewis Armistead's 57th Virginia Brigade, I thought of those who made that fateful charge and those who didn't survive. At the end, both Union and Confederate reenactors bowed their heads as a bugler played "Taps." It doesn't get much heavier than that.

So as we celebrate the birthday of our country, remember those who sacrificed so we can enjoy July 4th celebrations.

The next day I marched again, this time with the irrepressible Barbara Russell at the Friends of the Traditional Fourth parade followed by the 43rd annual softball game. I have attended almost all of the games between Hesperus Drive and Eliot's Oak Road, and most of the old-timers who started this game 43 years ago have now been replaced by younger athletes.


Submit a Letter to the Editor for the Laurel Leader, Columbia Flier and Howard County Times

Eliot's Oak roared back to win the Dave Fitzgibbons Memorial softball game, 9-5. The big early blows for the Eliot's Oak team came behind the hitting of Ken Griffey, Andy Casazza and David Jun's two-run single.

The Oaks then put the game out of reach in the third on singles by Ben Donnelly, Brian Donnelly, Matt Hart and Paul Rizzo and three more in the fourth on hits by Jim and Tom Sheehan. Eliot's Oak now leads the all-time series 24-19. 

Honoring our volunteers

Volunteers are the backbone of most, if not all, of the sports and recreation programs that we enjoy, and Special Olympics Howard County annually recognizes graduating student volunteers for the work they do. This year, Atholton's Christopher Evans was awarded the $1,500 Jackie Burk Memorial Scholarship. Christopher has been a volunteer since sixth grade, contributing more than 400 hours in the soccer, alpine skiing and basketball programs. He will be attending the U.S. Naval Academy and will study engineering.

Oakland Mills' Kieran Saienni was the recipient of the Allan Homes Award of $1,000. Kieran has been a volunteer with the aquatics program for five years and has been a peer mentor in the soccer player development program. River Hill's Rachel Latzko was the runner-up for this award and received $500. She has been a volunteer for the aquatics program for the past three years.

The Kathy Lindner Memorial Scholarship of $500 was awarded to Reservoir's Anthony Templeton, who has been a volunteer with the alpine skiing program since 2009 and became a coach in 2012.

Davis does more

Without sponsors our programs wouldn't be what they are today. But sponsors run businesses and businesses are out to make money. Yet there is one sponsor who has put his money where his mouth is for the past 40 years and has gone well beyond the role of most sponsors: Alan Davis of Princeton Sports.

He moved to Columbia in 1981 and has served his community as a rep on many non-profit boards for 32 years. He was an early advocate of bike safety and was a force in the passage of the helmet safety law. He also taught bike safety in local schools.

If you go to a local triathlon, I can almost guarantee that Alan Davis and Princeton Sports will be there working and helping. So if you happen to run into him at a sports event, stop and thank him for everything he has provided to this community.