Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2020

The Dorchester Banner encourages readers to share their thoughts on issues of public interest.

Only in Dorchester
Most of us, at some time or other, have made the statement, “only in Cambridge or only in Dorchester County,” generally not said in a positive way. Frankly, I don’t care where you are from, you have, probably, made the comment about your community.
I would like to share an “only in Cambridge/Dorchester County” story, in a very positive light. Without going into a lot of details, I will try to explain a very good example of neighbors in action. Sometimes, you don’t even know the neighbors who are helping you.
On March 7, my wife was at Portside Restaurant getting set up for a celebration. A friend was helping put things together. When my wife couldn’t be found, her friend Kelly went to find her.
She looked in the downstairs restroom and found my wife passed out in the stall. She only found her because she happened to hit the door and saw her on the floor. About this same time my daughter Ashley arrived, went into the restroom and saw her mother. A scary shock.
Running upstairs to see if they had a defibrillator, by chance, a nurse from Delaware happened to be eating. Understand, I was told this was the first time the nurse had been to Portside and was just riding by when she decided to stop. The nurse went to work, doing what she had been trained to do. CPR. I have no idea how long she worked but it was what saved my wife — an angel.
While the CPR continued, 911 was called and they arrived in no time. To work they went. I have no idea what exactly transpired because I had not arrived yet.
I was called with the following words, “Phil, Donna fell and Ashley is here and in a way.” I had no idea what that meant but I was there faster than I could imagine, not dressed the way Donna had planned. When I arrived, all I saw was two or three ambulances, two or three police cars and a fire engine. What was happening?
Then I saw her, on the stretcher, out of it. With an occasional yell in pain. I didn’t realize the side room could hold so many people. Finally, they had her out, headed towards the ambulance. Our son, Matt, would ride along.
A friend, Jane, insists on taking me letting me know she will see that my truck is taken back to our house. On the road we go.
I must add a couple of things before I talk any more about what transpired in Easton and how “only in Cambridge/Dorchester” continues to apply. Besides those around, the staff of Portside was right there to help any way possible. Three of my former students, right there.
By the time we got to the emergency room, work had begun. I don’t remember the EMTs present except for Scott. Professional, compassionate and helpful. Probably a lot of other adjectives and adverbs but you get the idea. Not far behind us, besides family and some friends, was one of our pastors, Sharon.
The doctors were fantastic and the nursing staff couldn’t have done more. One stands out. Her Saturday and Sunday nurse, Hope. Could the name of a nurse be any more appropriate at a time like this? What followed was seven days of ups and downs. Expecting to take her home only to find out, another day.
“Only in Cambridge/Dorchester.” The calls, text messages and other communications that followed were unbelievable. It is hard to believe how fast the message traveled. The words of comfort and encouragement. The prayers. All the things that make this kind of time bearable. All of this continued the entire week and, still, continues.
When my son, daughter, daughter-in-law, a friend and I arrived back at Portside Saturday night, to pick up our cars, we went inside to grab a bite and say thank you. The out pouring of compassion was unbelievable.
“Only in Cambridge/Dorchester County.” That’s what this was. From the friend searching and finding her. The nurse from Delaware who just happened to be there, performed CPR, saving her life.
The EMTs who came en mass, each with their job, performing them as true professionals. The friends who haven’t been able to do enough, including bringing food. All the different forms of communication.
The staff at Portside and the entire medical staff at Easton Hospital who took care of Donna. I can go on and on but I won’t. The last thing I will say, when something negative happens and you are tempted to say, “Only in Cambridge/Dorchester County,” remember Donna and her story. Think of all those good things. Think about all those who have helped you. Think of your many friends.
Think of the first responders putting themselves out there. Think about all the medical professionals. And, thank God you have them all.
Phil Reed

Thanks to city, church
I really have to commend the leadership of the town of Cambridge for allowing Jesus’ Church International to hold their “drive-in” church services at the Gerry Boyle Park at Great Marsh. On what would normally have been a disappointing Easter Sunday of not being able to gather with other like-minded believers, I was able to go with my family to hear some wonderful messages and great praise music! Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing this to happen!
Jen Loscomb

Wrongful convictions
Harvard Law School graduate Bryan Stevenson grew up in Milton, Delaware. Now practicing in Alabama, an area newspaper reported his saying, “And I always believed that if people saw what I see, they would want the same things I want; they would want people treated fairly.”
He further stated, “Sometimes, you have to work with people who you may not agree with to serve a larger purpose. You cannot rule out talking to someone because you disagree with them. The job is to persuade people to think differently about issues.”
A powerful statement by Mr. Stevenson is, “So, despite the hardships, we were told we can do anything. Our lives were filled with meaning, purpose and value and I’ve carried that with me. This conviction to believe things I haven’ seen is a gift and it continues to shape the work I do now.”
Mr. Stevenson is the founder of Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides representation to those who may have been wrongly convicted, who may not have effective representation due to poverty or may have been denied a fair trial for other reasons.
A newspaper article last December urged Maryland lawmakers to take up the issue of compensation for exonerates. The five men are Jerome Johnson, Lamar Johnson, Walter Lomax, Clarence Shipley and Hubert James Williams, who spent a 120 years in prison before being exonerated.
In the article, Gov. Larry Hogan is quoted saying that Maryland’s Board of Public Works lacks the “expertise, capacity or personnel to make determinations as to the damages incurred for each individual’s pain and suffering and that the legislature needed to change the process.”
How does one get his life back in order after a tremendous amount of time spent in prison for a crime he did not commit? God bless.
George R. Ames Jr.

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