- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
In the early hours of June 30, Camp Maria Retreat Center was hit hard by the storm and straight-line wind event. This letter is written with gratitude to the local community who assisted us in our time of need.
We would like to thank the professionals at the St. Mary’s County emergency call center who understood our needs and directed assistance to us. We would also like to thank Gerald Gardiner of the St. Mary’s County emergency management office, who assisted both before and after the storm. We are grateful to Father John Dakes of St. Aloysius Catholic Church, who announced from the pulpit the need for volunteers to help with the cleanup at Camp Maria and to the many volunteers who heard the call and assisted with cleanup. We are also grateful to the Heavenly Presents store ministry of the Bread of Life Center for Peace for the help and prayers. We would also like to thank the SMECO team for its diligence and swift action to get the power back up and running. We especially thank the members of the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department who stood out for the high level of care and commitment to support us in meeting the needs of the situation. Below is a letter from one of my staff members who sums it up beautifully.
Many of us were hit pretty hard by the storm and here at Camp Maria we suffered a slew of damages while hosting one of our largest groups of the summer, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Fortunately the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department came to our rescue. These firefighters were truly the calm in the storm. They helped the with power lines that had been knocked down, cleared the way so that the children who needed to be moved to a room with a generator because of medical reasons could get there safely, and even assisted us when we found that part of a ceiling was about to collapse. Once they had taken care of everything that needed immediate attention they went back to the firehouse and returned shortly after with a backup generator for us to use. The following morning they came back to clear the roads so that the parents of the campers could easily maneuver their vehicles when they came to pick up their kids. We are so unbelievably thankful to the firefighters for what they did for us and could not imagine what we would have done without them. The way they serve so graciously is truly an inspiration and testament to how we are all called to serve in God’s name, “for even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Their kind hearts and strong hands gave everyone a sense peace in disastrous circumstances and for that we are sincerely grateful.
Ann Kovalcik and Molly McGrain, Leonardtown
Kovalcik is the director and McGrain is a staff member at Camp Maria Retreat Center.