By Tom Friedel, (Kalabran), Maryland Faerie Festival Producer and Board Member.
Saturday, March 29th I was honored to attend the Prince George’s County Police and Sheriff’s Explorer Awards Ceremony held in Fort Washington. As I was and executive with the Boy Scouts for almost 14 years I knew what to expect from the majority of the ceremony: chicken, rice, green beans, pasta…it’s a meal most everyone will enjoy. Lots of speeches from local officials, the Chief, the Sheriff and many other dignitaries.
The Explorers and the Posts were also honored by the Council office with service awards for hours of service to the community that started at 1000 hours and exceeded 2500 hours for some posts. The posts themselves received awards and the top male and female officers were recognized as well.
But then something on, but not outlined, was on the program. Lt. Yakeisha Hines of Post 1696 began reading…..”The Maryland Faerie Festival is a 501 c-3 organization….”. A few people were puzzled by why the mission statement of our festival was being read in the middle of a Post awards ceremony. It didn’t fit the room filled with clean pressed uniforms, shining and polished brass and shoes, the tables of officers with service weapons on their hips and handcuffs on their belts.
The Lieutenant explained that the Maryland Faerie Festival was the reason they were here today, why the post was able to attend the local and National conventions and conferences. She explained that when the post was ranked in competition with the entire country and were placing in the top three in many areas of professional service such as hostage negotiation, traffic stops, and color guard. This not only draws attention to the exceptional young men and women in the post, but to the degree of service that they provide in the tens of thousands of hours. It also speaks highly to the dedication of the officers and sheriffs that provide training, leadership and community service seen as cornerstones of building good officers. We were the only group back in 2005 that gave them a substantial donation for the incredible service they provided the attendees of the festival. We have continued to do so for the last 8 years, providing over $10,000 in support for their program. Anyone that has been with us from the beginning knows the challenges of the first year and the parking lot. Those Explorers for us were a god send, and allowed us to focus on other aspects of our event.
We have believed that from the beginning we wanted to be community minded event and involve all those who had like minded missions. The donations we made were the right thing to do. No one had to tell us that, and we were doing the right thing for the right reasons. We didn’t realize how important this was not only to that Post, but to the entire program. The posts have now been given the opportunity to manage the parking of large lots at FedEx Field for the Washington Redskins home games.
Now that the Festival in being held in Harford County, our Post has decided that the Sheriff’s Department here should be receiving the support we provided them the past 8 years. So this year the parking for the Festival will be run by the Harford County Sheriff’s Department Explorer Post.
So on behalf of our Festival, from the Police and Sheriff’s Departments of Prince George’s County, I received an engraved Glass Award that recognized us for our support of the Post.
I was happy to receive it on behalf of all of you. It’s nice to know that someone else sees that we are meeting our mission, and making a difference in the lives of the Explorers and their leaders. Being good stewards of the environment, our community, and helping preserve homes for the faeries.