Bel Air commissioners honor John Carroll student, economic development commission member, town police officer

Bel Air Town Mayor Susan Burdette said she doesn’t know how John Carroll School senior Caitlyn Trent finds time in the day.

“This is one of the most amazing ones I’ve read,” Burdette said as she recognized Trent Monday at the town commissioners meeting with a Bel Air Student Achievement Award, that lists the recipent’s honors and activities. “I can’t believe she had five minutes to come to the meeting tonight. When I read this, you’ll see why.”

In addition to honoring Trent, the commissioners recognized a long-time member of the town’s Economic and Community Development Commission and promoted a 17-year veteran of the police department.

Trent, who was accompanied at Monday’s meeting by her parents and brother, “is the epitome of what a good citizen who contributes to her community in a positive way should be,” Burdette read from the award presented to her.

She is involved in countless community service activities and “prides herself on always staying positive, organized and dedicated to academics,” the mayor said.

A diligent student, Trent has a cumulative grade point average of 4.125 out of 4.0.

Her list of activities includes youth ministry, SADD Club, Speech and Debate Club, youth leadership camps, altar service, Eucharistic ministe, mission trips to Appalachia work camp, peer leader, camp counselor, and volunteer.

“Caitlyn has done just about anything she can to help others,” Burdette read from the award.

She also spearheaded a fundraiser at her school to help families in immediate need, raising more than $1,500.

“Caitlyn has been such an asset for our community and is an inspiration to others, both educationally and spiritually,” Burdette read. “She has gained the respect of both her peers and the adults who work with her.”

25-year volunteer

The commissioners also recognized W. Paul Thompson for serving 25 years on the town Economic and Community Development Commission.

Thompson has worked hard for the town over the years, Commissioner Patrick Richards said, but what stands out most is his ability to collaborate.

“Whether it’s a project or an issue, he asks how do we meet in the middle,” Richards said. “He understands both sides and collaborates on the issue.”

Thompson has helped “shape the landscape of Bel Air” and is a “dedicated community activitist,” Richards read from a proclamation.

He has worked on the Archer-Bull Awards, the Main Street design, the Route 1 corridor study, the Plumtree Park update and daylighting.

Thompson was one of the first people Trish Heidenreich met 12 years ago when she came to work for the town as its economic development director.

“Paul is so involved in so much in town. I realized the amount of time and energy he puts into making the town what we all want it to be,” Heidenreich said.

When he came to town, Main Street was a ghost town at 5 p.m., said Thompson, who also serves on the Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board. All the shops had moved to the Route 24 and Route 1 intersection, he recalled.

“I thought, how do we reverse that sea change?” he said. “It takes time, but with joint goals we’ve been able to push that forward.”

Officer promotion

Alex McComas started working for the Town of Bel Air in its public works department, then became a dispatcher for the police department. In 2001, he became a police officer. On Monday, he was promoted to corporal.

He has earned a meritorious award for entering a burning home and saving someone’s life, Commissioner Brendan Hopkins said, and he’s earned drinking and driving enforcement awards.

“We will continue to expect many things from Alex,” Hopkins said, offering McComas advice. “Lead by example, rely on your training and just do the right thing.”

Police Chief Charles Moore told McComas, who lives in Bel Air with his wife and three daughters, that “he rose to the top” of the candidates who applied for the corporal position.

“You’re articulate, calm, cool under pressure, you know what to do and I can always rely on you,” Moore told McComas. “You’re a role model for others in the department.”

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