Cassilly donation helps land trust


May 27, 2007

In response to a Sun item on May 13, "Home again after year in Iraq: Cassilly focused on family, not politics," one fact that wasn't noted was that Robert Cassilly, as a Harford County Council member, received his salary while he was serving in Iraq from March 2006 to the end of his term.

In January 2007, Cassilly and his wife, Deborah, confidentially donated $6,000 of that salary to the Harford Land Trust and the rest to other charitable organizations in Harford County.

The trust is thrilled to benefit from the unsolicited and wonderfully generous gift. It is having an inspiring effect upon the trust's Spring Appeal letter. Their donation served to expand a matching gift from another local person's challenge grant of $10,000 to a new total of $16,000 that is conditional on the trust attracting "new money" - that is, donations in addition to annual dues and the annual fund drive.

Consequently, at my request, the Cassillys have given the trust permission to reveal that they were the donors of the $6,000.

Since 1991, the Harford Land Trust has been working with private landowners to preserve farmland, woodland, scenic areas and open space, either by buying their land or assisting them in preparing perpetual conservation easements that allow them to remain the owners while being paid to retire the development rights of their land.

Robert and Deborah Cassilly's deeds speak for themselves. They have a young family and many demands on their resources. I know that there are plenty of other worthy things they could have done with their money. Like so many of the trust's donations, large and small, their generosity is an inspiration to us as we work to raise the funds and continue the trust's work.

Harry V. Webster Jr.

The writer is president of Harford Land Trust.

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