Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

October 17, 2004

Red Cross thanks volunteer responders

As the volunteer chair of the Central Maryland Chapter of the American Red Cross, it is my privilege to work with many dedicated volunteers. National Fire Prevention Week ended on Oct. 11, making it an appropriate time to publicly express my appreciation for those volunteers who assist with local disaster response.

Many people don't realize that when the local fire department responds to a home fire, the Red Cross also answers the call. Our unsung heroes are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, often leaving behind friends, loved ones and warm beds in the middle of the night to meet with those affected by disaster.

When we arrive, we work to immediately meet the emergency needs of those affected -- providing shelter at a hotel if needed and vouchers they can use to replace clothing, food, personal items and medications.

Last year, the Central Maryland Chapter assisted over 2,400 individuals who were personally affected by a disaster. This response would not have been possible without the compassion and dedication of our volunteers.

Jock Menzies

Volunteer Chair

American Red Cross of Central Maryland

Recent member has pride in GOP panel

On Sept. 22, 2004, I resigned my position on the Carroll County Republican Central Committee with a heavy heart. It is no secret that the past year and a half has been a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys for the central committee and its serving members.

In the wake of the recent court ruling temporarily re- instating Mr. Joe Burns to the committee, I could no longer, in good conscience, serve effectively as a member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.

With the future of Mr. Burns' lawsuit against the committee unknown, I decided that the time to move on had come. The choice to walk away is never an easy one to make, and is especially difficult when you feel as passionately about the Republican cause in Carroll County as I do.

After much deliberate thought, I determined that the direction and composition of the central committee was no longer favorable for future success.

It is my hope that this decision will begin a healing period for the Republican Party. The preservation of unity and integrity within the party during this critically important election cycle is paramount. A prolonged court battle would only serve as an unnecessary distraction for the central committee, and further curtail its capacity to concentrate on the essential work that must be completed in an election year.

In today's media-driven world, it is common to get caught up in the storm of negative stories and gossip. Often times, hard work and positive news go overlooked. My worst fear is that such an unfortunate legal episode, resulting from the detrimental actions of a few, could overshadow the monumental accomplishments of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee over the past year and a half.

In this case, that would be the greatest injustice of all. All Republicans who share my enthusiasm for local government and politics should be proud of the work this central committee has done.

This central committee made great strides in the areas of fund-raising and voter registration, two of the most fundamental jobs any central committee has. [The years] 2003 and 2004 were great years for Republican fund-raising in Carroll County, a direct result of this central committee's leadership and hard work.

In 2003, the committee focused fund-raising efforts on numerous events throughout the year. This included the annual legislative breakfast, which attracted over 140 people, a cash raffle raising over $8,000, and the Republican fund-raising event of the year, the 2003 Carroll County Lincoln Day Dinner, "Let Freedom Ring." The dinner was attended by over 150 people, and raised nearly $12,000 for the party.

Central committee fund-raising efforts did not slow this year. The committee once again sponsored a legislative breakfast held at Wakefield Valley Golf and Conference Center; a profitable summer cash raffle, and also sponsored an enormously popular breakfast basket bingo in August. The basket bingo attracted over 125 bingo enthusiasts and raised close to $4,000 for the Republican cause.

Although fund-raising constituted a large part of the central committee's work, voter registration efforts were also a top priority.

In a year and a half, the central committee registered nearly 2,000 new Republican voters in Carroll County. Local carnivals and business fairs held throughout the county served as effective means to attract new voters. In 2003 and 2004, the committee's voter registration trailer could be found at New Windsor, Taneytown, Reese, Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy and Union Bridge carnivals.

The central committee also registered voters at the Westminster, Pleasant Valley and Sykesville Fallfests, as well as the Hampstead Business Association and Carroll County Chamber of Commerce business fairs.

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