By Sharon Mager
ELLICOTT CITY, Md.—Adam Feldman, the lead pastor of Metanoia Church, received a Governor’s citation on May 10 for his leadership in recovery efforts following the aftermath of the devastating flood that destroyed much of Ellicott City’s Main Street area on July 30, 2016.
About 30 people gathered in the Howard County Office of Emergency Management command center, including many residents and business owners. They shared the bond only those who have been through such an event could understand.
John Papania, business manager at St. Paul Catholic Church, and Feldman discussed ideas for a church service for the second anniversary of the flood. Business owner Tammy Bideman was sharing how much she lost, but also how it didn’t matter since her family was safe.
Ryan Miller director of Emergency Management for Howard County welcomed all and introduced community leaders Kate Hession, Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) deputy director; Roy McGrath, director/CEO of Maryland Environmental Services, and Chas Eby, MEMA branch manager/emergency services.In his recognition of Feldman, Eby said, “One of the first things I heard on the flooding from Maryland Voluntary Organization Activity in Disaster (organization) was that you need a really strong leader to host and lead a long-term recovery committee or something equivalent to that and pastor Feldman was the person that they turned to. He did a tremendous job. Even at the state level we still talk about your work with One EC Recovery [Project],” he told Feldman. “The website and social media presence that you also spearheaded was great. It’s something Maryland talks about, knows about and can turn to as a best practice due to all the work your group did.”
Eby read the citation: “In recognition of your devoted service and leadership on behalf of the One EC Recovery Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit existing to assist the recovery of those affected by the flooding on July 30, 2016 , with special focus on the Ellicott City Main Street community, and as our citizens join in great respect and gratitude for your assistance, we are pleased to confer upon you this governor’s citation. Congratulations!”
Feldman thanked Pam Simonson, director of The Volunteer Center, serving Howard County; John Papania; the steadfast commitment of the One EC Recovery Project group board of directors, and especially his wife, Kim for her encouragement and prayer during the difficult period dealing with the aftermath of the flood.
Other citation recipients included Joe Herr, former fire chief in Ellicott City, who provided relief and recovery leadership following the disaster; Larry Tweele of the Howard County Economic Development Authority who assisted the recovery of local businesses, and former County Executive and Maryland State Senator James Robey for his leadership of the Community Advisory Group which offered direction for the County’s recovery efforts.
Kate Hession congratulated the gathered group and said the disaster showed the “gaps” and areas that need improvement. “We’ve taken really good steps. The impact you experienced allowed us to learn a lot,” she said.
Eby announced that Howard County was awarded a $1,044.224 grant by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund a project that will reduce the flood risk of areas surrounding Main Street in Ellicott City, Md.
Metanoia Church was awarded the Howard County Volunteer Organization of the Year around the same time last year for the congregation’s flood relief efforts facilitated by BCM/D Disaster Relief and for the church’s commitment to recovery efforts with local businesses for several months following the flood.