Furrow Ave. welcome-home `turned into a really big party'


April 16, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR A few days in early April, the trees on Furrow Avenue in Ellicott City were decorated with yellow ribbons. On April 4, residents on the street found a note in their mailboxes:

"My husband, Roger Weaver, has been on active duty with the Maryland National Guard, serving as a helicopter pilot in Bosnia on a peace-keeping mission for the last eight months," it read, in part. "He will be arriving home on Friday [April 5]. We have planned a little welcome home gathering."

The note, signed by Becky Weaver, urged neighbors to come "join us for some cake and punch."

In all, 68 friends, family and neighbors attended, Becky Weaver said. "It just turned into a really big party."

Becky Weaver, 57, had known for two years that her husband, who serves in the Maryland Army National Guard, would be going to Bosnia. And she was determined to have a party for him when he returned. "He was a Vietnam veteran, and they weren't that well-received," she said.

But as the day of his return approached, she almost changed her mind. "I knew I wanted to do it. However, my dog had a stroke a week and half ago, then we rushed my mother to the hospital with congestive heart failure," Becky said.

When her mother's health improved, she said, "I thought, `I've got to do this for Rog.'"

Roger Weaver, 58, left for Bosnia in August. As a member of the National Guard, he serves on part-time basis, but the Bosnia mission was a presidential call-up. While he was away, the couple's son, Rob, 23, who had recently graduated from Virginia Tech, lived in the Furrow Avenue house. Now he has purchased his own home.

Becky said she was in constant contact with Roger while he was overseas. They were able to communicate by e-mail several times a day and by phone on a regular basis.

After Sept. 11, she said, "my fear was that at the end of his tour over there, they would just move him to Afghanistan." Fortunately, that did not happen.

By April 4, the invitations were mailed, the ribbons were tied and everything was ready. Then, Becky got a phone call from the National Guard, saying Roger would not be home until April 6.

"I had to make 55 phone calls to tell everyone it was Saturday," Becky said.

The Weavers arrived home about 2 p.m. that Saturday, and within minutes the doorbell and phone were ringing. Becky's hope of keeping the welcome-home party a surprise were dashed.

But nobody was disappointed. The couple went out to dinner, and when they returned, friends and family were lining the street, waving flags and holding candles.

"It was delightful to see so many people reach out to welcome him home," Becky said. "I don't think he expected so many people."

Free show

The Howard County Public School Employee Chorus will put on a free show at 7:30 p.m. May 3 at Centennial High School.

The chorus, which has about 45 members, is 8 years old, said retired teacher Brooke Dubick, who has been a member since its beginning. It includes teachers, secretaries, maintenance people and others.

The show, which will be about 90 minutes, will feature such patriotic tunes as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Stars and Stripes Forever" and "America the Beautiful."

The chorus usually does one performance a year, Dubick said. "I just like to sing," he said. "I've been singing for a long time. All of us do it for the fun of it, the roar of the crowd, that sort of thing."

Reflections winners

Several pupils from Burleigh Manor Middle School won state-level awards at the national PTA-sponsored Reflections competition.

Alison Talvacchio, a seventh-grader, was second in dance composition; Steven Yenzer, an eighth-grader, was second in literature; and seventh-grader Lillian Yu placed third in visual arts.

Burleigh Manor pupils also did well at local science fairs. At the Howard County Mathematics, Science and Technology Fair, held March 1 and 2, Jeremy Shephard, Sam Balcom and Ravi Vaswani received honorable-mention awards.

At the Baltimore Science Fair, held March 23 and 24, Kriti Gandhi received a first-place award for outstanding mathematical achievement. Ravi Vaswani and Sam Balcom won several awards, including first place for biological science. Kirsten Willging, their sixth-grade science teacher, shared the award.

Centennial Lane stars

Congratulations to Michelle E. Chen, a third-grader at Centennial Lane Elementary School, who finished second in her age group at the Maryland State Music Teachers Association Spring Festival on March 24. Michelle and her sister, Tina Chen, a sixth-grader, played von Weber's"Sonatina in C major: Moderato"

CLES youths who won the Reflections competition at the state level are Katie Fisher and Rose Wallace, who were first and third, respectively, in the dance competition.

The Reflections awards ceremony will be held Sunday at Catonsville High School.

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