Kiwanian bell-ringer chimes in for ambulance


January 06, 2000|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

THE HOLIDAYS may be over, but an incident that occurred just before Christmas during one of the Severna Park Kiwanis Club's many activities to benefit the community has Kiwanians still buzzing.

Kiwanis International is an organization whose main purpose is to support local community organizations through donations of time, money and energy.

The Severna Park club selected the Salvation Army as one of its recipients, and for three years, men and women from the club have been bell-ringers for the army's annual kettle drive.

This year, 20 Kiwanians volunteered to work the week before Christmas. One or two at a time, they were stationed at their familiar post in front of the Giant Food store on Ritchie Highway in Severna Park.

In that one week, they managed to collect more than $2,300.

But it was an incident on a Thursday afternoon, two days before Christmas, that captured the essence of the holiday -- an unexpected event that has become the latest chapter in the Severna Park Kiwanis Club's continuing saga.

Chet Waksmunski, the Kiwanian on duty, was outside the store about 2 p.m., soliciting contributions from shoppers who were more focused on finding the perfect ingredient for grandma's recipe, when a young woman inside felt a twinge that had nothing to do with food.

She was in labor.

Displaying amazing calm in the eye of what was already a holiday-shopping hurricane, store manager Robin Testani placed a call to 911, and another to the father-to-be at work. While Testani comforted the young woman, assistant manager Carl Stevenson gave her mother a ride home.

Outside, faster than you can say, "Get outta that phone booth," Waksmunski transformed himself into "Super Bell Ringer Traffic Cop."

When the ambulance arrived, Waksmunski stepped into action, holding high his Christmas bell -- using it to direct cars and rescue vehicles through the crowded, narrow parking lanes.

With his help, an ambulance whisked the young woman away to North Arundel Hospital, where the next day she delivered a healthy baby boy. He was given an appropriately biblical name, Daniel, according to a call to the store by the new mother.

The mother's name? Well, store officials forgot to write it down.

"This is the kind of thing that happens in the grocery business," Testani joked of the combination of the holiday crowd and the near-delivery.

Golden, and then some

Congratulations to Severna Park residents Bob and Anne Donaldson, who celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary yesterday.

Another happy anniversary wish goes to Fred and Estelle Rietschel, who celebrate 54 years together tomorrow.

Preschool open house

The mission of Woods Child Development Center at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church is to create a Christian environment in which to nurture and educate children between ages 2 to 5.

Parents are invited to an open house at the nonprofit preschool from 9: 30 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Feb. 2. Information: 410-647-9168.

Pavilion reservations

The new year brings the opening of reservations for the two covered, wooden pavilions at Kinder Farm Park. Each holds up to 100 people and can be used for a variety of events.

For prices and availability, call the park office at 410-222-6115 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The park is closed Tuesdays, except for walk-in visitors.

Garden-talk luncheon

Nothing chases the winter blues like the anticipation of working in a spring-warmed garden, and Hildreth Morton, owner of Bittersweet Nursery in Davidsonville, knows how to entice us with her descriptions of water gardens, fairy gardens and herb topiaries.

Morton will speak at the luncheon of Severna Park Newcomers Club at the Macaroni Grill, outside Annapolis Mall, beginning at 11: 30 a.m. Jan. 19.

Deadline for reservations is Wednesday. The cost is $15. Information: 410-315-9329.

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