Street renamed for man after address mistake

July 15, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Eugene Thackara lay in the doorway of his Bayside Beach home one night this spring, suffering from a heart attack, and listened as the sirens of the ambulance grew louder then faded away.

His rescuers raced past his home, which weeks earlier had its address changed by the county.

This week, county officials made up for the life-threatening mistake by renaming Bayside Road, the street Mr. Thackara has called home for 36 years, after him.

"I call it the sad-happy story," said Steve LaPlanche, president of the Bayside Beach Improvement Association.

After hearing Mr. Thackara's story, Mr. LaPlanche asked county officials about changing the street name.

On Wednesday, county workers posted signs at four intersections along the new Thackara Road.

Mr. Thackara's problem began in March, when the county Department of Planning and Code Enforcement sent him a letter telling him that it was changing his address from Bayside Road, the street his house faces, to Bodkin View Drive, which abuts the east side of his home.

Though Mr. Thackara's is the only house facing Bayside Road, the letter said there was "mail delivery confusion because of street name duplication."

Bayside Road runs perpendicular to Bayside Beach Road, a three-mile wooded stretch that leads into the Bayside Beach community. There is another Bayside Road in the region that is a major avenue in Chesapeake Beach a few miles inside the Calvert County line.

The letter said that all county departments, including fire and police, would be notified of the change.

One month later, on the night of Mr. Thackara's heart attack, the ambulance crew was looking for a Bodkin View Drive address.

A neighbor, who saw the ambulance go by, flagged it down.

After spending two weeks in the hospital because of the near-fatal event, Mr. Thackara, 74, said he couldn't be more pleased to see a street named after him.

"Even if I felt bad, I'd be great," he said.

Mr. LaPlanche said his lobbying effort was worth it to see the day's happy ending.

"A lot of times you see signs dedicated to people, but they're not here to enjoy it," he said. "The best thing to me is that he's here to see it."

Linda Zellmer, a niece who lives with Mr. Thackara, said Mr. LaPlanche treated the issue like a personal matter.

"Mr. LaPlanche said if it was his father he'd do it for him. I thought that was really sweet," she said.

Now that the street's name has been changed, Mr. Thackara said, he won't have any trouble getting used to it.

L "I'm already used to it," he said. "I can't forget my name."

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