Explosion Brought Out the Best in Neighbors
As tragic as the recent explosion was in Autumn Ridge, it brought to center stage that Carroll County ethos we most treasure -- genuine, caring neighborliness. Responding immediately, the Westminster volunteer firefighters and medical response personnel were amazed at the destruction. Their training guided them in setting up a command post and proceeding quickly to begin operations. They were joined by other fire companies and tactical units from Carroll and beyond.
In the meantime, other segments of the emergency response network went into action. For some, these actions were part of their job; for others, it was voluntary community participation. The distinction is unimportant, because the motivating energy came from knowing there were neighbors in distress.
As the magnitude of the explosion became known, other neighbors offered help: Merchants and other businesses donated food, toys and supplies. The Red Cross volunteers and Salvation Army joined the efforts of the state police and National Guard to open an evacuation center. School personnel worked to ensure Autumn Ridge youngsters were safe and lovingly attended, and that parents knew where to find them.
As a community, we don't expect that kind of disaster to happen. After we are prayerfully thankful that no one was hurt, we acknowledge there are those who think about this kind of incident on a daily basis. We are grateful that our emergency volunteer and paid professionals have committed themselves to being prepared, that our school and county staff respond quickly and effectively and that we live in Carroll County where neighbors still care about one another.
We sincerely hope that Autumn Ridge residents soon will be able to return to their homes and life will return to normal. As a board, we thank each and every "neighbor" who responded to the Autumn Ridge families. You are what make Carroll County such a fine place to live.
Richard T. Yates
W. Benjamin Brown
Donald I. Dell
The writers comprise the Carroll County Board of Commissioners.
I would like to take this opportunity to share an experience with the local community and take the time to publicly thank our congressman, the Honorable Roscoe Bartlett, and his staff for their diligent efforts in helping our community deal with a small bureaucratic nightmare.
In March 1993, our community was established in Howard County, the Worthington Reserve subdivision in Ellicott City. Prior to the neighborhood being developed, each homeowner was to have a personal mailbox. However, the U.S. Postal Service, in a situation that is not clear to this day, installed three cluster mailboxes to service 50 single-family homes.
The neighborhood, in an effort to get mailboxes with curbside service, got together and wrote the post office, met with the local postmaster, submitted a petition to the Postal Service, and wrote letters to the Postal Service headquarters in Washington. For all of our efforts, we were rejected on a quarterly basis by the Postal Service.
We then approached Congressman Bartlett with our situation. Congressman Bartlett listened to our concerns and then canvassed our neighborhood to review the matter first-hand. The congressman spoke with some of the residents of the neighborhood and then contacted the "right people" at the Postal Service. We had several meetings with representatives of the Postal Service and Congressman Bartlett attended these meetings, some of which were early in the morning. There were also phone calls that were late at night. Based on his efforts, we were able to get personal mailboxes with curb line service from the Postal Service.
We all know that Congressman Bartlett has more important things to do than become personally involved in a neighborhood dispute with the Postal Service. He could have assigned a staff member to handle this matter, but he chose to become involved himself and to see to it that our neighborhood got the best possible service from his office and our Postal Service. The Postal Service is very easy to criticize. However, Congressman Bartlett was able to cut through the red tape and the bureaucracy to help our neighborhood. In fact, in our neighborhood, we feel we have the best mail carriers and the best service from our local post office.
Since this time, I have come to contact Congressman Bartlett's office in regards to important issues that face our nation as well as our congressional district. I encourage everyone in our area to use the services of Congressman Bartlett and his staff. He has town meetings at various locations within his district to meet constituents and listen to the concerns of the public.
The residents of Worthington Reserve in Ellicott City would like to thank Congressman Bartlett for his sincere efforts in resolving our situation.
Donald L. Catanzarito