Flood of Compassion HOWARD COUNTY

August 10, 1993

How do you spell relief? For Wanda Legore, it was just like spelling the name of her South Carroll 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 one of their driest summers have nevertheless been able to 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. Even a couple of Columbia children made the news when they wrote an impassioned plea to Maryland's governor and offered a few dollars to ease the heartland suffering. 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 same 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 fund-raising. The Army electronics technicians will also get a list of families to help through future relief drives. "We're trying to make an impact and show them that the Fort Meade family cares," explained Sgt. Joe Vano, who originated the scheme.

Said Mount Airy restaurant owner Dorothy Gosnell, whose interest led her own Carroll County community to raise $700 to help the submerged community of Alexandria, Mo.: "There are a lot of Mount Airys out there. It's amazing how fast people will get on their feet and help."

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