Washington column for Sept. 11

Russ Collins’ trip to Haiti

Russ Collins recently returned from another trip to Trouin, Haiti, where he represented Trinity Church at the graduation of the first 12 students from the Professional School of St. Marc. The church was filled with proud parents and families as the graduating students — each wearing self-made suits and gowns — were presented diplomas by the local magistrate. So many thank yous were extended to Trinity and other supporting churches in Virginia that it became embarrassing, Collins said.

Each of the graduates received a $220 loan from Trinity’s student loan program. Coached by Voix et Actions, an organization of young, professional Haitians, the students will use these funds to start their own small enterprises, applying skills learned at the school.

The 12 graduates of the Professional School of St. Marc accept their diplomas while wearing self-made suits and gowns.
The 12 graduates of the Professional School of St. Marc accept their diplomas while wearing self-made suits and gowns. Russ Collins

Over the last three years the parishioners of Trinity, along with its partners in the Diocese of Virginia and Haitian Hope in Georgia, built a new school; helped establish a Professional School with courses in sewing, cooking, embroidery, decorative arts, music and computers; installed solar power for the school and church; and established a micro-loan program for 21 participants in the community of Trouin and students graduating from the Professional School.

Lasting relationships have been established with the people of St. Marc and Trouin. They know people in the U.S. care enough to spend time with them and learn to understand each other, to work and laugh and worship together.

Rappahannock’s own Mandalele performs a benefit concert for Haiti at 7 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 21) at Trinity Church. Everyone is invited to enjoy the music and learn more about Haiti. Admission, Collins said, is pay what you will.

Ping pong club

Are you looking for a new way to relax? Tula’s off Main just introduced a ping pong table in the room behind their new bar, open whenever the bar is open (11 to 9 Thursday-Monday).

Owner Ken Thompson has sent out emails inviting people to an organizational meeting earlier this week for a ping pong club. The idea, he said, is to use a series of round-robin tournaments to develop a ranking. Then as part of Tula’s still-under-construction website, club members will be able to schedule games with each other. Ken also hopes to involve the local B&Bs, so guests can come enjoy a game as part of their Rappahannock experience. If you’re interested in playing, contact Ken at Kthompson@rappoffice.com.

Thank you, Ken, for putting the ping pong table in. Now let’s get the show on the road and play ping pong!

Remembering 9/11

Today (Thursday, Sept. 11) marks the 13th anniversary of the greatest terrorist attack upon the United States.

Let’s not forget the innocent victims and the brave heroes who died attempting to save them. We will never forget the survivors, the children, the devastated families and the grieving friends they left behind.

But for those of us who lived through this event, the only marker we’ll ever need is the tick of a clock at the 46 minute of the eight hour of the eleventh day. We will remember where we were and how we felt. We will remember the dead and what we owe them. We will remember what we lost and what we found.

And in our time, we will honor the memory of that day by doing our duty as citizens of this great country, freedom’s home and freedom’s defender. Let’s take time out from our busy schedules today to remember those who lost their lives through this tragedy.

I’d like to leave readers with these wise words from “That Day,” a poem by Billy Nardozzi:

It is a day in history
We’ll never forget
And a day that we’ll cry for
And that you can bet
And it is a day that we lost
Thousands of lives
Our family and friends
And husbands and wives

And it is a day we will honor
Those brave who had dared
To go into those Towers
Because they had cared

And it is a day we will fight
To the very end
To make sure that it never
Happens again

And it is a day we’ll request
And it is a day we will pray
For the loved ones who perished
Who we so dearly loved
And always have cherished
If it’s not too much
That, that spot at ground zero

Tonight, Reynolds Memorials Baptist Church in Sperryville holds its special annual worship service in remembrance of 9/11: to pray for our nation, honor our public servants and celebrate the American spirit. Dinner is served at 6, followed by the worship service. Doves will be released in honor of the victims. Everyone is welcome. For more information, call 540-987-8137.

House tour and flower sale

The 59th annual Trinity Dried Flower Sale and House Tour is not far off, scheduled this year for Oct. 18-19. You’ll probably start seeing flower people stopping in the median stsrips or by the road side to cut goldenrod, teasel and mullein. Be alert for them and drive extra carefully.

Have a wonderful week!