Penny earned in 1950 donated this year during tribute dinner

By Lynn R. Parks

In the summer of 1950, when Nancy Harper was just a child, she and her brother, Robbie, set up a stand along Pennsylvania Avenue in Seaford and sold cups of lemonade, 5 cents each. At the end of two days, they had sold 105 cups of the cool drink.

Shortly thereafter, the two children donated the proceeds, $5.24, to the drive to build Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. The 1 cent that they were short went unaccounted for – until Thursday night, when Harper presented it to Nanticoke CEO Steve Rose.

"We were helping to build the hospital," Harper said. "But I've owed you a penny all these years."

Harper and Arcie Burton are founders of the Nine Hole Ladies, a golfing group and sponsor of the annual Pretty in Pink tournament that benefits the Nanticoke Cancer Care Center. The group is this year's recipient of the Charles C. Allen Jr. Leadership in Philanthropy Award.

The award was presented Thursday evening at the annual Nanticoke Tributes dinner, held at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville. "There are 52 of us in our golfing group, and we'd love to have more," Harper said. "Women only, though. Men, you just couldn't take it."

(Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, by the way, was built in 1952, two years after Harper and her brother sold lemonade to raise money. Construction cost was $596,000.)

Also presented at the Tributes dinner were Founders Awards to Sharon Mears and former state Sen. Robert Venables. Cardiologist Donald T. Laurion was inducted into the Nanticoke Physician Hall of Fame.

Master of ceremonies and Nanticoke Health Services senior vice president Tom Brown told the sellout crowd of more than 300 that the Leadership in Philanthropy Award recognizes people who "motivate the spirit of giving in others." Since its founding in 2006, the Pretty in Pink tournament has raised more than $50,000 for the Cancer Care Center and for other health organizations in the area. The money has bought a skin analysis machine, used to detect early skin cancers, and boosted a fund that helps people who need transportation to and from treatment appointments. This year, the money helped with renovation of the center's infusion treatment area. In that effort, members of the Nine Hole Ladies actually went into the area and helped to paint walls.

"They have given back to their community and are an inspiration to others by their philanthropic activities," Brown said. "All of this, while enjoying hitting the little white ball."

A native of Gaithersburg, Md., Mears started volunteering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in 2000 when she married Seaford native Rex Mears. She has served twice as vice president of the hospital auxiliary and has served on the Nanticoke board of directors. She is a current member of the Quality and Professional Affairs Committee.

"I am humbled to be honored tonight with the other recipients," Mears said. "I want you to know that you have given me much more than I could ever give back."

Venables served in the state Senate from 1988 through election day of this year. "He has been influential in many hospital projects," Brown said. In the first decade of this century, when Nanticoke was experiencing financial woes, "he stepped up to help secure funding to help us through a very tough time," Brown said. More recently, Venables helped to get state financing to build the medical services pavilion planned for Nanticoke's Mears campus.

"We know him to be a true gentleman," Brown said. "He is gracious, he is honest, and his influence does not come because of his seniority, but because of the person who he is."

Laurion joined the Nanticoke medical staff in 1993. He is a partner in Nanticoke Cardiology and will retire at the end of the year.

"Nanticoke Cardiology is a terrific cardiology group and Dr. Laurion has been a big part of that story," Brown said. "Nanticoke Memorial Hospital would not be what it is today without Dr. Laurion and his partners."

Brown praised Laurion for his "easy manner, gentleness and dedication to his patients." He added, "We appreciate the person and the physician who you are."

In his thank-you speech, Laurion said that recently, he has been telling his patients about his impending retirement. One man whom he told said that he supposed that Laurion had saved enough lives during his career that he deserved a quiet retirement. Laurion told the crowd that he supposed that that was true. "I guess that once you've saved so many lives, anything above that is just bragging," he said.

Generator will safeguard against loss of 911 calls

By Lynn R. Parks

The city of Seaford is moving ahead with the purchase of a new generator for the police station and 911 call center.

The city council accepted a bid for the sale from Mid-Atlantic Electrical Services in the amount of $91,000. Included in the bid price is $5,000 for upgrades to the room in which the generator's transfer switch will be housed.

The purchase of the generator was put on the fast track after the current generator failed twice. Most recently, when the generator failed during a power outage in September, calls to the 911 center had to be rerouted to the call center in Georgetown.

Purchase of the generator is not included in this year's budget. City manager Dolores Slatcher said Tuesday night that half of the funding will come from the city's realty transfer tax fund and the other half will come from its 911 fund. Those two funds are expected to have $90,000 in them by the end of December, she said.

Slatcher said that it will be about three months before the generator is delivered to the city. She anticipates that installation will be completed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

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