Letters to the Editor

Volume VI Number 44
November 5-11, 1998

Well Investigated and Reported

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

Fishin' licenses: case closed. I just wanted to take a minute and thank the editorial staff at New Bay Times for objectively investigating and reporting on the state of Maryland's attempt to single out nonresident charter captains for higher fishing guide fees.

During the early stages of this controversy, I thought we would have to do the Mason/Dixon thing all over again, but fairness and common sense finally prevailed. As you can see from the letter I received from Department of Natural Resources, a $350 refund check is supposedly being processed.

Good professional job, New Bay Times.

-Capt. John Deering, Shady Side Charters

Join National Donor Sabbath

Dear New Bay Times~Weekly:

I'm a citizens of Southern Maryland as well as one of 57,000 Americans waiting on an organ transplant, and I need your help. Each year more than 4,000 people waiting on a heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas or small intestine transplant - about 10 per day - die because the supply of organs falls far short of demand.

Most Americans support organ donation, and yet half of families asked refuse to donate because they didn't know their loved one's wish to donate. That's not surprising considering that half of those signing donor cards fail to share their decision with loved ones. Even if the deceased had carried a donor card or indicated so on a driver's license, most states require consent from next-of-kin at the time of death before donation.

Another major barrier is that many Americans mistakenly cite religious concerns for refraining to donate. Nearly all U.S. religions support organ donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity. Donating contributes to the legacy of life. It's an act of love that gives back to others what death took away: it gives back life. That's why it's so important for religious leaders to let their congregations know that they can choose to be organ and tissue donors.

Please join me in urging clergy to participate in National Donor Sabbath, Nov. 13 to 15. Donor Sabbath is a campaign to educate congregations of all faiths on the benefits of donation. It consists of three elements: Learn the facts about donation, your religion's position on donation and, if you decide to share your life, please share your decision.

My pastor, Chris Wood of Lakeside United Methodist Church, sees this initiative as a natural fit into our Stewardship Campaign and as a loved one's final opportunity to extend the ultimate charitable gift. Pastor Wood is also helping me achieve my goal to involve nearly 200 Southern Maryland churches through a letter-writing campaign.

Ask your clergy if they have received our letters. There's no need for clergy to become experts on donation. Local organ procurement organizations can provide materials, donor cards, bulletin inserts, sample sermons and even guest speakers. Contact Margaret Cellucci at the Baltimore Transplant Recipient Organization at 800/641-HERO.

Don't send your organs to heaven. Lord knows we need them here.

-Mark "Chip" Saunders, Waldorf

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