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Good People Making a Difference in Essex, Middle River

Boy Scout Troops assist those with special needs; Franklin Square honored as one of the top hospitals in the country; Mount Carmel continues to aid Japanese earthquake victims.

Traveling around town can be interesting and exciting as one meets new friends and some very special people.

On a Monday evening, a visit to the Protestant Community United Church of Christ on Orville Rd., behind Mars Supermarket, introduced me to some very special folks.

Scout Leader Rick Gambrill introduced me to Joe Fulker, an assistant scout leader. These men, along with some other very dedicated parents, coordinate the activities of Boy Scout Troop 117. This is one of 13 troops in Baltimore that are committed to bringing the joys of scouting to boys with special needs. 

The troop has a Cub Scout unit coordinated by Karen Gambrill. They are also home to a Venture Crew, which partners non-disabled boys and girls who have completed eighth grade with scouts who need assistance. The troop also has a Varsity Scout Team as well as Sea Scouts. 

“We can’t always accommodate everything, but we do our best,” says Rick Gambrill, who started the troop in 2008.

Some troop members contend with blindness or autism, or other physical and mental disabilities. Scouting requirements are adjusted to the boys' abilities, allowing them to fully participate in "camporees" and other activities.

Just a few days before their scout meeting, the boys participated in the ceremonies held at the Lamky Luther Whitehead Veterans Memorial at Holly Hill Cemetery. Before the Daughters of the Revolution laid wreaths at the foot of the monuments, Troop 117 assisted Troop 355 in the presentation of colors.

Male parent volunteers noted that allowing these boys to participate in the scouting experience provides them with confidence and opportunities they would otherwise be denied. Volunteers also pointed out that this troop and  other special-needs units do much to break down barriers while raising awareness.

Other boy scout troops also learn acceptance when interacting with special-needs members, especially throughout the summer camping experiences at Broad Creek Boy Scout Reservation in Harford County.

These troops are accepting new applicants. Meetings are held in the church's basement  Monday evenings at 7 p.m.

Special Honors for Franklin Square Hospital Center

During my visit to Franklin Square Hospital, I attended the Quality Awards Program.

Dr. Kulleni Gebreyes, medical director of the Delmarva Foundation, presented the hospital with the 2011 Delmarva Quality Excellence Award.

To be eligible for this award, an institution must achieve a score of 90 or higher for three consecutive quarters in a calendar year in 17 required measures for the four required clinical areas: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical performance. 

The measures focus on patient safety; another focus is a demonstration of teamwork that provides safe, quality care to patients.

Following this presentation were more awards presented by Annissa McDonald. Visiting from Colorado, this consultant from Professional Services HealthGrades explained how the organization evaluates every hospital in the country.

“These evaluations take place all the timewhether a hospital wants them or not...” McDonald said. "It is my pleasure to be here to present to Franklin Square Hospital, its administration and its staff the following top honors.” 

She presented awards in five clinical areas, specifically critical care, emergency medicine, gastrointestinal care, pulmonary care and stroke care.

McDonald announced that Franklin Square Hospital’s statistics ranked very high among all other hospitals:  Clinical care stats are in the top 10 percent of the country, while emergency medicine, gastrointestinal care, pulmonary care and stroke care ranked in the top 5 percent. When combined, these stats rank Franklin Square Hospital as one of the top 50 hospitals in the countrythat’s in the top 1 percent nationwide.

Congratulations to all the staff and volunteers who have made these awards possible.

Mount Carmel Continues to Help Japanese Earthquake Victims

I reported on the prayer service at . 

The goal was to show how children can make a difference in others' lives. Following their initial efforts of making 1,000 paper cranes, students continued to collect money to support Catholic Relief Services. 

The school has since partnered with OskKosh B’Gosh and its Cranes for Kids promotion. Through this partnership, OshKosh B’Gosh will donate one article of clothing for every crane the students have folded. With outstanding enthusiasm, more than 6,000 origami cranes were made as a symbol of wishes for the safety and comfort of the people of Japan. 

More special people making extraordinary efforts to do good things!

Next week we'll take a closer look at the Heritage Society of Essex and Middle River.

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