Arundel police rewarded for N.Y.C. aid

Builder Jim Mandrin writes $15,000 check in effort `to give back'

October 12, 2001|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

When Jim Mandrin heard that Anne Arundel County police officers were going to New York City to help the exhausted police there keep up their patrols, the 64-year-old builder of custom homes felt he had to do something.

So he wrote a check for $15,000. And that might be enough to cover the cost of the county's relief mission.

"The world's been good to me," said Mandrin, president of Pasadena-based Mandrin Homes. "I want to give back. I call it paying the rent."

Mandrin, who also serves on the board of directors of Hospice of the Chesapeake, called his donation "a small thing," but county officials and police commanders thought otherwise.

"This was an unexpected gift, but much appreciated," county Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan said yesterday at a ceremony to recognize Mandrin's contribution and the work of the 50 county police officers who volunteered to go to New York City.

The county's Fraternal Order of Police and the county Police Department's nonprofit foundation had offered to cover some of the trip's expenses. But, police officials said, Mandrin's $15,000 donation will help cover meal allowances for the officers and other incidentals, such as replacing officers' uniforms that were ripped as they searched through the rubble of the World Trade Center towers at a Staten Island landfill.

"I just thought it was really wonderful that they went to help," Mandrin said.

Thousands of volunteer police and firefighters from across the United States have traveled to New York since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack there. County police officers volunteered to work three night shifts with the New York Police Department.

They patrolled Times Square. They worked security details at the United Nations and the Israeli Embassy. They got down on their hands and knees and searched through the rubble at the Staten Island landfill where pieces of the World Trade Center were taken. There, they looked for remains of victims and pieces of identification - a necklace or a driver's license - of those who were killed Sept. 11.

"That probably gave us the biggest sense of helping," said Lt. Mark Morgan, who supervised the first contingent of 15 officers and two sergeants who returned from New York on Saturday.

A second group of officers left Saturday and returned Tuesday. Another group left Tuesday and is scheduled to return tomorrow.

At every opportunity, New York police officers thanked their counterparts from Anne Arundel County for coming. The county officers' presence meant officers from New York, who have been working 12- to 16-hour shifts for a month, could take at least one night off to be with their families.

Ricardo Hawkins, president of the Anne Arundel County Fraternal Order of Police, said the lodge has sold T-shirts and collected donations for relief efforts, including help for victims' families. Some of those donations will be sent to the New York FOP. Part of the money may be used to help send other Anne Arundel county officers back to New York in the coming months.

"They're going to need help for at least a year," he said. "More than likely, we'll be asked to go again."

Last week, County Executive Janet S. Owens honored nine county firefighters who helped with search, recovery and rescue efforts at the Pentagon and in New York and Pennsylvania.

"I'm so proud of all of them," Owens said at yesterday's ceremony. "What a wonderful police and fire department we have."

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