Pearce Creek work progresses
Md. renews needed project certificate
— Progress has been slow to come on the installation on an impermeable liner at the Pearce Creek Dredge Material Containment Field (DMCF) through the end of winter, but residents of nearby communities
got a firsthand look Friday at what to expect at the site by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Abundant rainwater in February has made progress more difficult for Sealaska, the Corps’ contractor, as they prepare the more than 250-acre dredge spoil disposal site for placement of a synthetic liner that will prevent the leaching of natural contaminants
bricks in which the names would be etched or embossed or in some other form.
To reach that goal, they recently established a non-profit organization called Friends of Cecil County Victim Memorial Services. Members of that group plan to meet with public officials and builders to determine where a permanent memorial can be placed and what type of memorial would be the most feasible, VanCulin said.
The group also is accepting taxdeductible donations to raise money to cover the costs of planning and creating a permanent memorial, she added.
“We are just trying to figure out the best type of memorial to build and where. Ideally, the best place is at the Circuit Courthouse garden (courtyard). It’s an ideal spot because that’s where survivors go for the murder (and other homicide-related) trials. That is where justice is served,” VanCulin explained.
A major consideration of erecting a permanent victims memorial wall would be how much blank space to leave, in order to accommodate the names of future victims, she acknowledged.
“Unfortunately, until the end of time, people are going to murder each other,” VanCulin said, adding, “So we would have to be able to add names.”
VanCulin is familiar with murder all too well.
VanCulin’s sister, Terri Ann McCoy, 40, was shot and killed when she stirred from sleep after four gunmen broke into her parents’ Chesapeake City-area home in November 2009, terrorized the couple and then robbed them.
Every April since then, VanCulin, 50, and other family members have participated in the annual Victims Wall and Walk in front of the circuit courthouse, an event hosted by the Cecil County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Earlier this month, VanCulin served as the guest speaker when Cecil County hosted the 27th Annual Maryland Statewide Memorial Service for the Northern Region — meaning survivors from Baltimore City and Baltimore, Howard, Harford, Anne Arundel and Cecil counties gathered at the event site in Perryville. Cecil County had last hosted that statewide event in 2009.
VanCulin received a standing ovation from an estimated crowd of 500 at the end of her gripping speech, one in which she recalled the night of her sister’s murder — from the moment she was awakened by a wee-hours phone call and received the tragic news, through the months-long criminal investigation, through the trials and sentencing hearings of the four defendants and beyond.
As for this Friends of Cecil County Victim Memorial Services project, VanCulin stressed that it is in its infant stages. The organization plans to set up meetings with county and Elkton town officials so group members can discuss the victims memorial they envision and how it can be accomplished.
Elkton Mayor Rob Alt said he would be receptive. Alt noted that he attended the statewide victims memorial event in Perryville on April 10 and that he was emotionally moved by it.
“I could feel the pain in the room. I also sensed that they (survivors) felt comforted by being with people who had experienced what they had experienced, people who understood how they felt,” Alt said. “It was a very touching event.”
Alt said he is willing to explore whatever options Elkton has to offer to make some sort of permanent victims memorial a reality.
“It (the statewide event) touched me in such a way that anyway I can help to produce a memorial wall or another form of victims memorial, I will,” Alt said, adding, “I would think that we could find a home for a victims’ memorial somewhere in Elkton.”
Gavin Kaiser, an engineer with the Corps of Engineers, talks to residents visiting the Pearce Creek dredge spoil disposal site.