AS THE UNITED States continues the healing process after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, residents of Southwest Carroll are getting together to offer relief to the victims.
"I haven't given blood since World War II, but I felt I needed to help those in need," said 86-year-old Mildred Wolf of Taylorsville, expressing the sentiments of many at a crowded community blood drive Monday in Mount Airy.
"I needed ... I wanted to do something," said Lori Van Dermark of Mount Airy.
"I am a Muslim, but I'm a human being also," explained Muhammed Farooq of Houston, who is visiting friends here.
The Burmese native was among more than 200 people who turned out to donate blood at the firemen's carnival grounds. Some waited more than four hours to donate.
"I saw [the attacks] on TV, the terrible things, and I needed to do something," he said.
Mount Airy has established a scholarship fund for the children of two area residents who died at the Pentagon crash site: Ronald Vauk and William Ruth, post commander for Mount Airy Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"It's just to show the families that we are a community and when a family in our community grieves, we grieve with them," said Mount Airy Mayor Gerald Johnson, who has helped set up the scholarship fund.
The fund contains more than $3,000.
In addition, the town will donate all proceeds from its Festival on the Ridge, an event Oct. 6 and 7 in downtown Mount Airy. Booths will be set up to take donations for the scholarship funds and to buy supplies for rescue workers in New York City and Washington. Cub Scout Pack 1191 hopes to take a truckload of supplies, such as bandages, nonperishable food and dog food to rescue workers.
The annual event will reflect the somber mood of the country. Johnson has planned a color guard to open the festival each day, patriotic songs and an invocation given daily by local ministers.
The festival will close at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 with a candlelight vigil at Watkins Park. Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who represents Carroll and Frederick counties and Western Maryland, will be the featured speaker at the multidenominational service. The vigil will end with the South Carroll High School band playing taps.
Children at local schools also are contributing to the relief effort. Pupils are filling a firefighter's boot in the entryway of Mount Airy Elementary School with coins. Mount Airy Middle School has raised nearly $2,500 for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief.
"You see kids emptying out piggy banks, bringing in jars of change - kids need to do something to help," said Jill Lambert, an integrated language arts specialist at the school and organizer of the effort.
In addition, Mount Airy Middle School's PTSO has earmarked funds from its annual Pizza Hut fund-raiser for relief efforts. The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday at the Woodbine and Mount Airy Pizza Hut restaurants.
Pupils and parents at Mount Airy Elementary School are gearing up for their biggest fund-raiser to replace outdated playground equipment and equipment damaged by fire this year.
The entire school will participate in Cardinals in Flight Fun Run on Oct. 5.
"This is student-generated money and they will see the end result. This really empowers the kids," said Kris Hayden, playground committee chairwoman.
Because no funds are available in the Carroll County public schools budget for new playgrounds, parents and kids have taken the initiative. To finance the project, the group is applying for a grant from Carroll County Department of Enterprise and Recreation Services, raising money through the Fun Run and soliciting contributions from local businesses.
Information: Kris Hayden, 301-829-6837.
This is my first column for the Carroll County edition of The Sun, and I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and ask for your help to make it a success.
I've lived in Mount Airy with my husband, Joe, and three daughters, Madeleine, Stephanie and Caroline, for more than 10 years. In that time, this area has seen considerable change and growth.
I want to make this column reflect Southwest Carroll's diverse accomplishments, interests and goals. The communities of Southwest Carroll include Mount Airy, Winfield, Taylorsville, Woodbine and Berrett. Please feel free to contact me with news you would like to see included.
My phone number is 301-829-9784.
Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.