‘Hoppy’ tem­po­rar­ily leaves Bridge Street spot

Still re­cov­er­ing af­ter knee surgery

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— As trav­el­ers pass over the bridge on Bridge Street, they may no­tice the ab­sence of a fa­mil­iar face: Wil­liam “Hoppy” Ham­mond.

For al­most two decades, Ham­mond has been known to wave and smile to peo­ple as they pass him on the bridge — in fact, he’s be­come so iden­ti­fied by lo-

ELKTON

cal res­i­dents that the town erected a plaque in his honor for his con­tri­bu­tions to the town’s im­age — but he’s been ab­sent from his post the past few weeks.

Ham­mond has taken a break due to a knee re­place­ment surgery on his left knee. He un­der­went surgery at Wilm­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity on Sept. 26 and is cur­rently at­tend­ing phys­i­cal ther­apy at ATI Phys­i­cal Ther­apy in Delaware, he said.

Dur­ing his re­cov­ery, Ham­mond said he’s re­ceived about 10 cards, in- clud­ing a card from the town, as well as a bas­ket from the church he at­tends. When he first re­ceived the cards, Ham­mond said it was a “good feel­ing” for him and he ap­pre­ci­ates all of the love and sup­port he has re­ceived from the com­mu­nity.

“It’s just won­der­ful,” he said. “Just to know some­body cares and thinks about you. I’m all about that and show­ing some kind­ness and love. I’m all for it.”

Although, Ham­mond

needs the time to re­cu­per­ate from his surgery and go through phys­i­cal ther­apy, he doesn’t like tak­ing such a long break. He doesn’t have an ex­act date when he will re­turn though be­cause his doc­tors have to clear him to drive first.

“I’m sorry I have to take a break, es­pe­cially this long,” Ham­mond said. “It’s some­thing when you miss a day or two, but for weeks and weeks, it’s not good.”

But as he re­cov­ers, his daugh­ters said they too ap­pre­ci­ate all the love and sup­port the com­mu­nity has given to their fa­ther.

“I feel won­der­ful and I think it lifts his morale and helps him to have a speed­ier re­cov­ery,” said his daugh­ter, Donna. “He misses ev­ery­body out on the bridge.”

Her younger sis­ter, Cree, said she’s also been touched by all the sup­port their dad has re­ceived — and this isn’t the first time. She re­called the time peo­ple were wor­ried about Ham­mong be­cause he was gone for a few days to at­tend her law school grad­u­a­tion sev­eral years ago, as well. Peo­ple were ask­ing where he had gone and if he was OK, she said.

“It warms my heart that peo­ple care enough that they are con­cerned about him,” she said.

For his part, Ham­mond said he can’t wait to get back out there and greet peo­ple as they en­ter town.

“I miss them and be­ing out there too,” he said. “I can’t get well fast enough to get back out there.”

Ham­mond said he par­tic­u­larly misses in­ter­act­ing with the peo­ple that pass by dur­ing his rou­tine, which be­gan with his daily bike rides around town.

“I miss them and what they do for me,” he said. “It’s an up­lift­ing, heart­felt thing to me. I just feel won­der­ful when I see some­body wave or smile or some­body hollers out ‘I love you’ and ‘We’re think­ing of you’ or what­ever it is. I just feel great.”

Any­one wish­ing to send Ham­mond a card, can send it to 235 E. Main St., Elkton, MD, 21921.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Wil­liam “Hoppy” Ham­mond hasn’t been at his usual spot on Bridge Street in re­cent weeks as he re­cov­ers from knee surgery.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Wil­liam “Hoppy” Ham­mond smiles at his usual spot on the Bridge Street Bridge in Elkton, a place he has been ab­sent from fol­low­ing knee surgery.

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