August 23 – Hagerstown, Maryland, has a sister city in Hagerstown, Indiana, that celebrated their 10 year sister city anniversary last week.
The town in Indiana has a population just under 2,000 people and was named after the city in Maryland.
Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez traveled to the city for the celebration and had a great time.
She said, “I met a woman, a previous racecar driver. She’s now a county commissioner for Wayne County. And her name is Mary Anne. We actually met at the orchard that’s now owned by its first woman ever. She met me and my grandson and my daughter there. One of the things that she shared with me she said she used to be into pageants. She was absolutely beautiful, beyond her 70s. Used to be into pageants, and then she found out that race car driving was this incredible thing. So she and her husband were both signed with Pepsi Cola. He’s a painter. So he’s a well-known artist in that area. Mary Anne, she looked at me and she said more of us got to do this. More of us got into politics. Now I got in late in the game, but she was definitely in Wayne County to shake things up. There were so many different businesses moving in, but not paying a good rate for what she felt for her small area. So she fought for that. So you see people in this small town that are making $20 an hour, it’s because of this woman. Miss Mary Anne Butters is her name. Incredible for me and my kid.”
Martinez was the grand marshal in the parade on Saturday.
She said, “They don’t have a mayor. They’re 2000 people, very family-like. Everyone’s related. Everyone’s connected. It’s definitely road trip worthy, but it looks like they literally picked up one mile of Hagerstown, down in the downtown and just set it right there. It feels like home.”
The trip will also bring a lot to Hagerstown, Md.
Martinez said, “Values, hardworking, committed to first of all, being the solution right there within their area. They just got their first Dollar General. There wasn’t a place big enough in Hagerstown. Indiana, for more than four people to eat. So we had to go to another town, but what I did see is that hardworking, committed people. Everyone’s involved in service, has a job, and then some type of entrepreneur thing.”
That same ethic can also be found in Hagerstown, Md.
Martinez said, “It’s those principles. I think that before I was thinking, oh, man, I work three different jobs and I do all these different things. I must be losing my mind, but then I got to Hagerstown, Indiana nd I’m like, wait, it’s so fluid, though. I’ll tell you this, all of the women looked amazing. So is their quality of life. One of the women that was driving us and showing us around when she told me and my daughter she was 58, we almost fell out. I was that their Jubilee festival walking around and shopping. I was talking to little ladies and they were like, yeah, and I’m in my 80s and they were beautiful, no aging on them and I thought that must be first of all from a lot of hard work, but then also doing it in a way that you can still take care of yourself. So that’s what I brought back with me.”
Hagerstown, Maryland, Mayor and Council had a regular meeting last night where the public stepped up to the mic.
Martinez said, “Public comments were basically around the Jonathan Street area. Brother Andy, from Brothers Who Dare to Care and Speak Up Community News, one of the very few news publications that has been ongoing for years. He used to go door to door and drop them off in different communities. So he’s trying to bring that back and get kids to do it and call it the Youth Corps. We approved somebody when I was still on council and he came in to ask about that. The community center is not open in that community. So there was another person that came up and spoke, saying that schools are getting ready to and the kids don’t have anywhere to go. So she’s starting it. What I heard last night wasn’t complaining. It was more along the lines of “we’re trying to create ways to be the solution and we need you guys’s help.”
September is Forget Me Not Month.
Martinez explained, “That’s for the disabled veterans. So there was a proclamation on that. They do a drive that they kind of need support on. One of the things that he said was that they’re getting older. So now him being one of the younger ones, they need some volunteers. I would just encourage everyone to kind of look up Forget Me Not Month and then find a way to maybe engage with the disabled veterans.”
There were also four swearing in for the Youth Council last night.
Martinez said, “Which were the adults that were sworn in to help them for the youth and then two for Hagerstown Housing Authority resident commissioners, which I think is amazing. You have a Hagerstown Housing Authority, but then you have two people that are residents who are now on that board and I think that’s a way to kind of get community buy-in and those things are really incredible.”
During the Forget Me Not proclamation, Mayor Martinez had a touching moment.
She said, “My mom’s brothers, who were my uncles, were military. As I was proclaiming this, the man that was standing there, his eyes were watering up and my eyes watered up too. Then I got to give an oath of office to Miss Cricket, who has been in the Jonathan Street Community forever. She teaches Girl Scouts and I got to give her the oath of office and I just, as a kid, she was the one saying get off the street. It just felt amazing to have her raise her right hand. I had tears in my eyes in Hagerstown Indiana. When I pulled up, they had on their welcome sign, welcome Hagerstown, Maryland, Mayor Tekesha Martinez. I got it everywhere we went. They gave us a gift everywhere we went. They knew about Hagerstown, Maryland. It was incredible.”