Chief Amos Damron is stepping down after 12 years heading the Morningside Police Department. Currently he heads the department with eight police officers, a code enforcement officer, a police clerk and (according to the 2019 Census) 1,246 Morningsiders.

I went by the Town Hall to talk to him about his career and what he plans for his retirement years.

He has had 41 years in law enforcement, mostly as chief. Included are police departments in Haymarket, Va.; Capon Bridge, W. Va.; and Edmonson, Md. He was also a U.S. Marshal in D.C. and with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

He has been an inspiration for his children: Nicholas Damron is a cop with the Metropolitan Police Department, Christopher Damron is a certified instructor with the NRA, and daughter Heather Harner is a social worker in Winchester, Va.

I asked the Chief what he would be doing in retirement. He told me he’s moving to Front Royal, Va., to be near family and to enjoy the Shenandoah Valley.

But, he admits, he’ll miss Morningside.

Neighbors & other good people

Anthony Puzzilla is writing a book to commemorate the devastating La Plata tornado on April 28, 2002, which cut a half-mile-wide swath through the city and killed five people. He refers to his book as a “combination of history and stories of hope and resilience.” If you have a story to tell about that tornado, send it to him at 9160 Preference Drive, La Plata, MD 20646.

Carolyn Broomfield is seeking information about Pamela McKenzie who lived in Morningside in the late 1950s. She would have been a child at the time. Carolyn doesn’t know when the family moved. If you have information, email me and I’ll forward to her.

Longtime Morningsider Ruth Sanford now lives at Charlotte’s Home in Boonsboro and still reads this column. Two of her great-great-grandchildren had birthdays last month: Weston Shives turned 3 on April 24 and his sister Stella turned 5 on April 29. They have two siblings, Sofia, 7, and Wren, 6 months old.

Former principal Sister Kateri, and Sister Shaun Kathleen have been participating in zoom planning meetings and will attend La Reine High School’s Last Chance Dance on June 12, along with other faculty. The school building will be demolished several weeks later.

Remembering the day a plane crashed in Morningside

Seventy years ago this spring, on April 8, 1951, a B-25 took off from Andrews and developed landing problems. After four hours trying to remedy the problem, and on instructions from Andrews, the pilot aimed the plane at the Chesapeake Bay and parachuted to safety. Instead the plane flew low over the I.C.E. Club (now VFW), crossed Suitland Road, and plowed into the home of Samuel and Dorothea Snyder at 302 Lombardy (now, Poplar) Road.

The Snyders’ two daughters, 6-year-old Kay and 8-week-old Rene, died in the fire, along with their uncle, Irvin Guyer, visiting from Cranford, N.J. to see the cherry blossoms and meet his new niece.

Morningsiders held angry meetings. The house was rebuilt. The Snyders moved away. They never had more children. On April 13, 1951, a County grand jury indicted the pilot for manslaughter. I’ve never heard the outcome.

Changing landscape

The Census figures are out. The Post reports that, since 2010, Washington’s population has grown 14.6%, from about 602,000 to 689,545. This makes D.C. larger—in population—than two States, Vermont and Wyoming.

The Air & Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., reopened May 5, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Alan Shepard’s becoming the First American in Space.

The National Museum of African American History, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum will open May 14, followed a week later by the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the National Zoo.

In other words, the Washington’s museums are slowly getting back to normal.

The new Frederick Douglass Bridge has become more interesting now that the three tall arches are up. Care has been taken to integrate both ends of the new bridge into landscaped traffic ovals, which will eventually become sites for memorials. The bridge—which will replace the 1950 span—is due to open later this year.

They’re coming! They’re coming! As soon as soil temperatures reach about 64 degrees.

Mary’s Covid report: 21 Marylanders died on April 28

Maryland had 1,002 new cases on April 28 for a total of 445,493. As for Maryland deaths: there have been 8,709, with 21 the last day.

Chincoteague Island’s annual Wild Pony Swim has been cancelled because of the virus.

From “John Kelly’s Washington”: Amy Isaacs of Chevy Chase reported that, after son Stanley got his first dose of the vaccine, he said he was “halfcinated.”

Requiescat in pace

* Diane (Scott) Hatley, 73, of Harwood, Md., formerly of District Heights and a 1965 graduate of La Reine High School, died April 15. After La Reine, she attended Washington School for Secretaries and worked at NASA. In 1968 she wed Bruce Hatley and they settled in District Heights. Later, at Holy Family Church in Davidsonville, she was a Eucharistic minister and involved in leading Scripture study. She was a talented painter. Survivors include her husband, five children, six grandchildren and four siblings.

* William Ellis Hutt, 87, formerly of Oxon Hill, longtime coach for the Silver Hill Boys Club, died April 13. A native Washingtonian, Bill attended Eastern HS, served in the Air Force, and worked at PEPCO for 38 years. He was active with the Lions Club. He moved to Lake of the Woods, played golf and pool with the Fun Bunch. Survivors include Gloria, his wife of 67 years, three children, eight grandchildren, and 12½ great-grands. Burial will be at Quantico.

* Margie Green, 82, of Clinton, an administrative assistant at Howard University Hospital for more than 30 years, died March 24. Her husband of 41 years, Sylvester, died in 2000. Survivors include three sons, and grandchildren. Margie was an usher at Mt. Ennon Baptist Church, in Clinton.


Happy birthday to Brandi Jeter and Buddy Ramsey, May 9; Gladys Locks, Shirley Eppard and Elijah Thomas, May 10; Carolyn Flaherty Fogle, May 11; Kyle Dameron, May 12; Henrietta Bookhart, Ted Harris and Micheal White, May 13; John Smith, May 14; my granddaughter Naomi Gallegos and Helen Fadness, May 15; Fr. Charles McCann, Kenneth Darcey, Tim Cordero and Kitty Marshall, May 16.

Happy anniversary to Donna & Wayne Anderson on May 14.

Happy Mother’s Day to our moms and our grandmothers!