Annapolis residents have started a drive to raise money for an 8-year-old boy severely burned in an electrical transformer in the Robinwood public housing development.
Terrence Tolbert was burned three weeks ago when he crawled into a 13,000-volt transformer. He was rescued by Annapolis police Officer Peter Medley and Robinwood resident Joseph Parker, but he lost an arm in the accident. He is in serious condition at Children's Hospital National Medical Center in Washington.
"He's coming along pretty good," said his mother, Juanita Johns. "He's still in serious condition, but he's coming along."
She saidher son faces a long rehabilitation. When he leaves Children's Hospital, he will go to Philadelphia's Shriners' Burn Institute to learn to walk again.
She said her son's progress has eased her own worries. "I'm a lot better now," she said. "I was pretty down at first. It was really tough when he lost an arm, but I'm coping better now. He'shandling it very well, so it makes me stronger because he's doing well."
She said she is grateful for the two men who saved the boy, Medley and Parker. They will be honored before tonight's Annapolis City Council meeting.
"I plan to be there," Johns said. "Both of themdeserve it. They're real heroes."
With medical bills piling up, Mount Olive AME Church and the Black Political Forum have started a monthlong fund-raising drive to ease her financial burden.
Checks should be made payable to Mount Olive AME Church, designated to the Terrence Tolbert Fund. The church is at 2 Hicks Ave., Annapolis, 21401.
"We're looking for contributions from the whole community," said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, who represents Robinwood and helped start the drive. "No contribution is too small."
Questions should be directed to Snowden at 269-1524.
In the meantime, Johns has retained Annapolis attorney Alan Legum, who won a settlement for a family after a similar incident at Robinwood 10 years ago.
Johns and350 other public housing residents have petitioned the Annapolis Housing Authority to fence in 42 electrical transformers in all 10 public housing developments.
Someone broke into the Robinwood transformer box the weekend before Tolbert was burned, leaving it open.
Housing Authority Executive Director Harold S. Greene said he will consider the residents' request. He also said he is looking into installing new locks on the boxes or burying a few troublesome ones.
He said he will decide this week what action to take.