An accident brings out best in young friends


October 25, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SINCE THEY met in elementary school, 10 boys in Mount Airy's Ravenwood Estates neighborhood have been friends. The response to a recent accident shows how close they are.

"I've got the house in the neighborhood where everybody gathers," said Tom Clark Sr., of his sons Tom Jr., 12, and Jimmy, 11, and their eight close friends. "They've grown up together and we always see them riding their bikes around here."

The Clark family and the boys' friends have become closer than ever since Tom was involved in an accident Sept. 4 in the neighborhood.

"I was riding my bike down a path crossing Old Annapolis Road. I didn't see or hear the car, then it hit me," Tom said.

Tom's father saw the commotion in the neighborhood as he was returning from work.

"Not in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine my own son would be lying in the street with the rescue squad working on him," Clark said.

The child was flown by helicopter, with his mother at his side, to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. His father frantically found a neighbor to drive him there.

"I guess I was lucky," Tom said. "I stayed in the hospital only about 12 hours. There was a bone broken in my shoulder."

Tom's bike, however, was totaled.

His friends, the boys in the neighborhood, knew how important that bike was to him.

"I was cutting grass the next day and they came up to me with this idea," Clark said.

The nine boys wanted to buy their friend a new bike and decided to begin a collection fund in the neighborhood. By the end of the day, they had more than $200.

"We ride around the neighborhood a lot, so having a bike is important," said John Centeno, 13. "And we got him a really nice new bike and helmet."

The boys took the new black-and-red mountain bike to the Clarks' house and called Tom outside. Almost all of the neighbors were waiting.

"I wasn't expecting anything like that," said Tom. "I thought they were going to get me a get-well card."

"It was so special of them to have done that," his father said.

He decided the boys needed to be recognized for their kind efforts. Clark called Mount Airy Town Hall and told his story.

At this month's Town Council meeting, Mayor Jim Holt presented certificates of appreciation to the boys - Cole Brackna, Kevin Rosenberger, Charlie Ridgely, Eric Vantassell, John Centeno, Colin Hoover, Justin Hoover, Brandon Hoover and Jimmy Clark - in recognition of "their community spirit and generosity."

Tom's new bike is waiting to be ridden by its owner. His arm is in a sling from the accident, but he hopes to try out his bike as soon as possible.

Halloween Parade

Ghosts, goblins and maybe even Spider-Man will be out this weekend as Mount Airy Jaycees and Mount Airy Lions Club sponsor the annual Halloween Parade.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow at Mount Airy Senior Center, 703 Ridge Ave.

Registration will begin at 10 a.m. with the parade starting at 10:15 a.m.

Every child will receive a treat bag to take home. Prizes will be awarded for costumes for each age group.

The parade will be held rain or shine.

Information: 301-829-6328.

Pumpkin contest

Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company will sponsor a pumpkin decorating contest from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the carnival grounds, Route 27 and Twin Arch Road.

Children will be given paints, markers and other materials to decorate the pumpkins, which will be provided. The pumpkins will not be carved.

The contest is geared to children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Prizes will be awarded according to age. Everyone will leave with a treat and his decorated pumpkin.

Games and interactive fire-safety displays will be featured.

"We wanted to do something like this to get the community more involved in the fire company," said Christina Gue, chairwoman of fire prevention and life safety for the company. "But we also want to educate the community about Halloween safety."

Admission is $4 at the door.

Information: 301-829-0100.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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