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Trumbull's Thornton: Respect Volunteers

By Mary Beth Thornton

The recent incident involving Councilman Martha Mark and the public vilification leveled at her by First Selectman Herbst is very disturbing to me and I felt compelled to respond on her and other volunteers’ behalf.

I believe Mr. Herbst's handling of this matter could potentially damage not only the town's relationship with the organization Ms. Mark volunteers with but with all volunteer organizations in our town. Imagine if all these people decided that they would rather sit on the sidelines and not serve rather than risk the scorn and criticism of the First Selectman should they unfortunately be involved in an accident.

The strength of our community has, and always will be, the men, women and children in Trumbull who willingly volunteer their time, efforts and skills to provide an enriched quality of life for everyone who lives and works here. Our local government, including the Town Council and all our boards and commissions, are comprised almost entirely of citizen volunteers, citizens who the town rightfully acknowledges and honors every year with an informal dinner meeting.

All of our Fire departments, EMS, social, recreational, sports, religious, and service organizations are stewarded by volunteers. Indeed the importance of their role to our town cannot be understated and they most certainly should never be demeaned or subjected to public or private ridicule.

I was moved to write this letter because, though I am no longer an elected official, I still love this town very much and continue to serve as a volunteer with several organizations. I believe Mr. Herbst at the very least owes Martha Mark an apology for the way he has handled this matter. He might also consider realigning his priorities as the chief executive of the town to matters suitable to his office and let those individuals who are responsible and entirely capable of handling such accidents, do so.

The volunteers of Trumbull are the heart of Trumbull; well-meaning, giving their time and expertise so that all of us might have a better community- my hat is off to them. The First Selectman should think twice before publically maligning our volunteers.

With gratitude,

Mary Beth Thornton 

Kathleen McGannon October 23, 2012 at 04:54 PM
This is exactly what I thought when I read Tim's letter to Martha. Who on earth would want to volunteer if the FS of our town is going to chastise and/or embarrass a VOLUNTEER for trying to help our town? Clearly, this was more of a political maneuver than anything, but for the "unknowing" public, this would dissuade anyone from wanting to volunteer for the town of Trumbull. Anyone can be involved in an accident, including our FS. All parties feel terrible--especially when someone gets hurt. Martha didn't run away, or refuse to acknowledge that it happened. She didn't try to hide it from anyone. She made sure the gentleman was okay, returned the dog immediately to the shelter, and reported the accident to the proper authorities. If she had tried to hide what happened, then perhaps she would have deserved criticism. Instead, she deserves praise for volunteering to help care for dogs no one else seems to care for, and she deserves praise for following proper procedures after the incident. Martha is a kind, caring human being who deserved words of consolation, not condemnation. Hats off to ALL volunteers in our town. Please do not let this incident keep you from continuing your efforts to help in our community!
Patty Sheehan October 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Well said Mrs.Thornton.
louis October 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
If she is planning a second run as the democrat nominee, she needs a narrative to explain what went wrong last time and she needs better, more loyal staff
louis October 23, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Because we wouldn't want the Trumbull democrats to mimick the Shelton Dems who run ineffective advocates for the people, time and again (such as they do with Chris Jones and Monica Marketto (who now is borrowing my last name as she married someone from New Jersey) who ran ten times and lost!) so that a weak and ineffective republican majority can maintain control
Jim Flynn October 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Don't worry Louie. We have no intention of nominating you. You have no concept of loyalty except to Louie. Let's see how that works out for you on Election Day. Re MBT: MBT ran a great campaign in 2011. She lost. BFD. There's no shame in that. Many great politicians have lost the first time they ran for a position. Doesn't permannently disqualify you. If MBT chooses to run, and the Democrats in Trumbull believe that she is our best candidate in 2013, we'll get behind her again.She is a wonderful person.
louis October 23, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Don't worry Flynn....we have no intention in allowing you any power in the democratic party
Doug Sutherland October 24, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Louis, why do you bring politics into this thread. MBT's post has nothing to do with a future run for office. Mary Beth is a private citizen who, like many in Trumbull, are increasingly appalled at the behavior of our FS. It seems Mr Herbst doesn't take a breath without considering the political angle of things. In this latest display of his true colors, Mr Herbst took an unfortunate accident involving two town residents and tried to turn it into a political attack. This attack has blown up in his face, but the fact that he didn't see that coming speaks volumes.
HL October 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Mary Beth, your professionalism and compassion won my (independent) vote this past election, and I agree with almost everything you are saying here in this letter. I do take one exception, however. I do doubt that this move by Mr. Herbst will stop anyone from volunteering for anything that believe in. It may stop a few people who are merely volunteering to pad a resume ... but it probably ends there. The real focus should be on the blatant attempt to smear the image of an opposing party member who happened to be volunteering for a charitable cause. Aforementioned aside, I agree with your entire well-written letter. I also think an apology would be in order, more for the tactical approach taken than what was mentioned. If the First Selectman wanted to have a private conversation with Ms. Mark to get her story and urge more caution, that would be fine with me. Publicizing a "shame on you" letter for political reasons will not fly well with moderates and independents (we already know what each base will think of the move).
jeff wright October 24, 2012 at 04:26 PM
So by extension when you say " we " you mean " you " and " your " fellow Democrats? My God, can someone forward me a play book?
TrumbullProgressive October 25, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Jeff Wright, Louis is now a registered Republican. I know it is hard to keep up with him.
louis October 26, 2012 at 12:18 AM
I am looking forward to seeing the same playbook, Jeff. It certainly isn't a democrat playbook, and If real estate is your business, I hope things get better for you but I doubt it, the connecticut realtors endorsed my opponent. I'm here for you when you come to your senses. Doug, I bring politics into this because they let MB twist in the wind last time, I know know their game. This is how they start candidacies by dropping letters a week before the assembly campaign ends. Thanks TrumbullPro, Its difficult to do anything in this town unless you are hooked in with the local sellouts in the dem and rep committees. I guess that is why the majority of voters choose to remain unaffiliated instead of the parties they have lost faith in.
bob barker November 05, 2012 at 05:07 AM
oh my Trumbull itians
bob barker November 05, 2012 at 05:09 AM
FS sounds like an * hole

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