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.
Mary Beth Thornton