One Woman's Commitment to Compassion
Recently, more than 120 community volunteers, co-workers, colleagues, family members and friends gathered to pay tribute to a woman who has made significant contribution of time, talent and caring to Anne Arundel County. They came together for an appreciation and recognition dinner honoring Betty Asplund, who is director of Hospice of the Chesapeake's Bereavement Center.
Betty began as a volunteer with Hospice of the Chesapeake several years after losing her first husband to sudden death. Having two small children and no community programs to help her family cope, Betty made to a pledge to help the bereaved in our community find ways to grieve the loss of their loved ones.
In 1990, Betty became director of the Bereavement Center and lead the development of what is now considered a model of excellence for bereavement programs throughout the county and the nation.
The recent success of Camp Nabe '95 is just one example that highlights the impact of Betty's work. The unique weekend bereavement camp for children ages 6 to 14 is her creation, home out of her children's struggle to cope with the death of their father.
Betty has also spearheaded or assisted in the creation of numerous commnity support groups and outreach services in the county, earning distinguished awards on local and national levels. Even more remarkable is the fact that she has offered this assistance regardless of a client's ability to pay and has taken it upon herself to write grants and secure donations in order to continue bringing bereavement care to all who need it.
The compassion, sincerity and dedication Betty brings to the grieving is unsurpassed. Her commitment is evident in her soothing words to distraught families when a loved one has died, in her willingness to respond immediately and completely when someone is in need, and in the tireless devotion that sends her into the community after hours and on weekends to educate people about bereavement and the grief process. Words to describe Betty have included caring, intelligent, empathic, creative, devoted, remarkable and amazing. I could easily continue. It is quite fitting that our dinner for Betty neared its end with the formation of a chain made of paper links containing anecdotes about Betty and her outstanding contribution to Anne Arundel County. She is truly that vital link that reminds us of the difference that can be made simply by caring and reaching out.
Allison J. Alexander
The writer is director of community relations/development for Hospice of the Chesapeake.
As a junior returning to college after a long hiatus, I am proudly beginning my first semester at Towson State University. However, the statements made by some fellow students in your Sept. 11 article on campus parking ("Towson State Commuters' Waiting Game") almost made me embarrassed to admit to being in their company.
The article correctly noted that there are two student parking garages in close proximity to the buildings in which classes are conducted. The other lots are distantly located, thereby necessitating a longer walk to the main campus. I myself have never attempted to park in the garages because common sense dictates that if the outdoor lots are teeming with cars, the garages are probably full. Of course, it is not unreasonable to give the garage levels a quick drive-through, on the off chance of getting lucky, then proceed to the lots if no space can be found. But staking out the exits, tailing people and missing 15 minutes of class just to avoid getting off one's lazy butt and walking? Please. The university graciously provides for the able and unwilling with shuttle buses that run from the lots to the campus and back again.
I hope your readers realize that for every TSU student who "would rather give blood than park down the street and hike 10 minutes to class," there are scores more who not only recognize the value of time and education, but prove it every day by walking to class without wasting their breath whining.
Amy A. Walters