Today, I had the chance to meet Jack Howard, President of the Maryland State Police Alumni Association (MSPAA) at the Maryland State Police Museum. I asked to see the museum after hearing for several months that it was in dire need of repair. I arrived early and had forgot it was Federal Holiday leaving the grounds completely empty of MSP personnel walking to and from their offices.
The very first day that I met with Jack Howard, Bernie Spangler and Chuck Cave, they told me their need to raise money and why. Knowing these men well, I was use to their direct nature. They told me that the MSPAA was tasked with the upkeep of the MSP Fallen Trooper Memorial and the Walk of Honor as well as the MSP Museum.
I applaud the MSPAA for everything they have done and continue to do. I especially applaud them for stepping up to take on this responsibility. I am proud to be considered a member of such a prestigious group of men and women.
Several years ago, I visited the Museum when Pete Edge ran it but had not been to visit in years. While waiting for Jack to arrive, I walked over to the Memorial and read the names, several I knew personally like Joe Lanzi and Eddie Toatley. I looked at out how well kept the Walk of Honor appeared. That is when I decided to shoot a Live Facebook Video to show everyone why the MSPAA was raising money. That area is truly hallowed ground. The Memorial stood alone in silence but it’s image spoke volumes to me especially since I had spent twenty (20) years as a Maryland State Trooper.
Jack arrived soon thereafter and we entered the Museum. I was immediately shocked at how the place was in disarray. It appeared more like a warehouse instead of museum. Old photo’s scattered about, historical MSP items sitting outside in boxes….it was almost ghostly from all the memories of all the Troopers who have worn our badge. History slipping away into the darkness.
Jack proudly gave me a tour of the first floor and showed me some of the incredible items from the past of the MSP. I saw photos from the beginning of MSP and the equipment the Troopers of yesterday utilized.
Then Jack took me into the basement just a few steps down a staircase from the entrance, that’s when reality of the problem truly sank in. There was extensive water damage buckling the walls with the plaster falling apart all over the floor. Paneling in other room curling from water damage, the ceiling falling in – the damage was extensive.
Knowing enough about building, I immediately knew that if there was this much damage to the exterior walls, there must be extensive damage to the walls interior. The area also held old logs, photos and MSP Memorabilia.
I asked Jack his permission to video him as he gave all of us a guided tour of the ruin or as Mr. Howard refers to it as “The Museum has been laying in fallow for eight (8) years.” I was speechless and honestly, not very proud of myself or my MSP family.
We, the people who make up the MSP, most likely believe that the State of Maryland pays for the upkeep, not true. We also have most likely believe that MSP civilian personnel also keep the area of the Memorial and the Walk of Honor in shape, also not true.
The Maryland State Police Alumni Association is solely responsible for the Museum, and maintenance of the Memorial including upkeep and landscaping, not groundskeepers.
At this moment, I knew my task meant more than normal, especially as a Retired Maryland State Trooper. Somehow, I or we all need to know.
This is only my opinion as a retired Trooper – I had no idea that the MSPAA had anything to do with it until I saw a plaque near the Memorial detailing those exact words. I thoughts that the Pikesville Groundskeepers moved the lawn and took care of the landscaping. When I saw the damage to the building, prior to entering the front door, I thought especially since it was an historical building that the State would take care of it. Something like this, to this extent, could never ever happen. Sadly, I was wrong.
I have been seeing all the suggestions posted on Facebook and all have merit. But everything takes money and a lot of it. Either fixing that building or moving to another, it takes an enormous amount of money.
So with this enormous undertaking, we need an enormous amount of people to help. Everyone – both current and retired Troopers, MSP Civilians and law enforcement supporters…all must grab the rope and pull together.
Now you know why the “Road Dawg Rumble” is so important. To give the MSPAA the funds they so desperately need to get these incredible tasks accomplished. We need as many people as possible to buy tables and tickets to the Road Dawg Rumble. We need Event Sponsors. Byron Warnken already donated $10,000.00 as the Platinum Event Sponsor. July Guyer, a former Trooper now Attorney, donated a Bronze Sponsorship of $1,000.00.
If you care about what I just spoke about and want to help, I ask that you help us spread the word. Sell Tickets or Buy them. Attend our committee meetings and be a part of the solution. For that, you will attend an incredible event which will fund the project.
The more people we have, the more sponsors and donations we have, the easier the task becomes. And while helping the cause, you will have a great time doing it.
I challenge each and everyone of you to sell a Table of Ten (10) for the Road Dawg Rumble. I challenge each of you to grab the rope with us and pull.
So – how many tickets do you want?
Contact Jack Howard or Kim Smith for tickets or questions.