Maryland's Flood of Relief

August 10, 1993

How do you spell relief? For Wanda Legore, it was just like spelling the name of her South Carroll County hometown, Winfield.

Searching for a way to focus her desire to aid victims of the terrible Midwest floods, Mrs. Legore found a namesake town of nearly 600 residents in Winfield, Mo., where more than half the town is under water from the swollen Mississippi River.

She phoned the town clerk in Missouri, found out what was most needed by the 200 homeless families there, and set up a local collection point for donations of cleaning supplies, canned goods and personal hygiene items at the Winfield Volunteer Fire Company, near Sykesville.

Marylanders in the midst of a dry summer have nevertheless put themselves in the place of families whose lives have been devastated by the deluge in the Midwest and are responding in kind.

Several companies in Howard County, including Brickhouse Farm Water Co., American Oil Co., Ryder Truck Rental Co. and Valu Food Supermarket, joined to deliver badly needed bottled water. Howard County government arranged for a collection of supplies to help people in northwestern Missouri.

In fact, lots of individuals are responding to deeply felt humanitarian impulses to help those who have lost everything to the river's rampage.

Four soldiers from Fort George G. Meade were struck by the idea of lending a hand. So they hopped a military transport for St. Louis, where they will work with the Salvation Army on relief efforts and select a worthy recipient for the $1,000 they collected in last-minute local fund-raising.

The soldiers will also get a list of families to help through future relief drives when the Army electronics technicians return to their Anne Arundel County military base.

"We're trying to make an impact and show them that the Fort Meade family cares," explained Sgt. Joe Vano, who originated the scheme.

Mount Airy restaurant owner Dorothy Gosnell wanted to find a flood-ravaged family for the town to adopt. Instead, Mayor Gerald Johnson found the underwater community of Alexandria, Mo., that needed aid. A fund-raising rally promptly yielded $700 and promises of further donations, mainly in the form of cash for immediate needs.

"I just couldn't sit here and do nothing," Mrs. Gosnell said. "All you have to do is watch TV" to see the extent of need. For Mrs. Legore, the reason for her response was equally uncomplicated: "Just to help someone that you know needs help."

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