Editorial: Thumbs up to fighting addiction, hospital's top doc, helpful time travelers and a mom by any name

THUMBS UP: While the epidemic of addiction shows no signs of subsiding, it's encouraging that so many are willing to give of themselves to raise awareness and money to fight it. The second annual Say No To Dope Walk is set for Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. Tim Weber, drug education and treatment liaison with the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office, told us, "It's just kind of to bring people together, to literally make a stand that we are tired of it. We are tired of the overdoses, we are tired of the drugs on the corner, we are tired of the deaths." A partnership between the State's Attorney's Office and the nonprofit Rising Above Addiction seems to be showing promising signs. But Rising Above Addiction depends on donations. On Tuesday, May 23, they're having a fundraising dinner with former Major League Baseball All-Star Darryl Strawberry. (They also have a fundraising race scheduled for June.) Dinner with Darryl is a private affair at Liberatore's Ristorante in Westminster. Those interested can either purchase raffle tickets to potentially win a spot or buy their way in. The seats are pricey, but it's a worthy cause.

THUMBS UP: It's rare for Carroll Hospital's Physician of the Year to be a relative newcomer, but Dr. James Clement is a rare find. Clement, who was born in Canada and went to high school and medical school in Haiti, has been with Carroll only since April 2015. And he is a contractor, which is a type of employee relatively new for the facility. Clement tried to deflect the credit for his honor to the others on his patient care teams, the nurses, the medical staff, case managers and pharmacists. But Carroll Hospital's chief medical officer, Dr. Mark Olszyk, said Clement has a unique and special skill set, basing that largely on the patient testimonials attesting to Clement's care and attention. Olszyk noted that it's remarkable how giving and considerate Clement was judged to be. Clement is sensitive to the concerns of patients, he said, because he has been a patient. "That's the time when you're vulnerable, you need attention," he told us. "Communication is everything. ... It's only five more minutes." Five minutes, repeated over and over, that set Clement apart.

THUMBS UP: Melanie White came up with an idea to make the Manchester Valley High School prom special for her son, but she couldn't pull it off alone, making her all the more thankful to those who helped her. Senior Alexander White, who has autism, was described by his mom as a "whimsical" young man with an affinity for the concept of time travel. Her idea was to give his prom a "Back to the Future" theme, but she really needed a DeLorean like the one used in the movie to transport Michael J. Fox through time. Enter a couple members of the DeLorean Mid-Atlantic Club. Justin Mettee and Rodney Kuhns, both of Glen Rock, Pa., said they were happy to fulfill Melanie's request to pick up Alexander and his date and drive them to the prom. "I cannot believe how kind these men have been," Melanie told us. The DeLoreans combined with mom's special decorations, an appearance by "Doc Brown," and some help from Genova's left Alexander nearly speechless with excitement and with a memory that will likely last well into the future.

THUMBS UP: Taneytown resident Lillian Hardie is a daily example of how being a good mother doesn't have to mean being related biologically. Hardie has adopted six children, five who first came into her life through foster care as well as her grandchild. They call her nana. No question things are cramped, but there's a lot of love in that home. All the kids came from families with issues, some with the same drug problems that Hardie herself battled long ago. Hardie said the kids come from "confused" families, but she told us she makes sure all of the kids know their biological families and she takes them for regular visits to those who are still alive. Hardie says she runs a tight ship — the kids wake up early for school every day, have after-school activities, do their homework and are in bed by 9 p.m. — and the children seem to appreciate the regimen. "[The best part is] knowing that I have a safe place to go at the end of the day," said 12-year-old Ashleigh Hood, the newest member of the family. "Everything just changed for the better."

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