Angus Park of Finksburg was considered a good neighbor, a good friend, an outstanding police officer and an athlete.
"Angus used to jog three to five miles every day," said Detective John Newman of the Howard County Police Department. "He was always in great physical shape."
In his position with the Howard County police, he had to be. Parkwas the director of education and training, the man responsible for the police academy.
Few things can be worse for a police officer than a killer's bullet; for Park, it was the silent killer amyotrophiclateral sclerosis, the disease first brought to the attention of theAmerican public when it cut short the career of New York Yankee Lou Gehrig.
"Last year, in May, Angus ran in a charity event," said Capt. Steve Drummond, Angus' old patrol partner. "A few days later, he complained of a problem with his leg.
"The doctors couldn't find anything physically wrong at that time. It wasn't until the disease had progressed in the autumn of 1990 that doctors diagnosed Lou Gehrig's disease."
A little more than a year later, the insidious killer took Park from his family, his fellow police offices and his friends and neighbors.
But he will not be forgotten.
A bowl-a-thon to benefit the Capt. G. Edward Wessell Memorial Fund is planned for 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 10 at Brunswick Normandy Lanes in Ellicott City, Howard County. The fund helps the families of police officers who are injuredor dead.
Park, who died in October, is survived by his wife, Carol, and two sons, Ian, 9, and Tommy, 12.
"Angus was the kind of guywho could say exactly what was on his mind and not upset anyone," Drummond said. "He was simply an outstanding person with a multitude offriends on the force and off the force."
Why a bowl-a-thon?
"When Angus became confined to a wheelchair, it was necessary to build a long ramp into his home," Newman said. "Later, when July and Augustwas unbearably hot, Angus was confined to his home. We were able to air-condition it for him. And we'd like to provide a scholarship fundfor his sons' college education."
Carol Park has already deferredany scholarship offers, preferring the money be used for others now.
But why a bowl-a-thon?
Why not another way to raise money?
That's easy: Newman knows first-hand how big-hearted bowlers are.
Newman saw them in action in Harford County in 1986. That was the year of the infamous toll bridge shoot-out in Havre de Grace, when one officer was killed and three others were wounded.
Newman's mother, Jane, has been affiliated with bowling for many years, and she suggested a bowl-a-thon be held in Harford County for the dead and injured officers.
"That bowl-a-thon raised over $5,000," John Newman said."So now it just seemed natural to hold another bowl-a-thon. I know that bowlers care."
Brunswick Normandy Lanes has reserved 20 lanes at a reduced price for the event. There's room for at least 80 bowlers, but more space will be found if more bowlers show up.
Information: (410) 313-2240 or 313-2220.