BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It was a gesture of gratitude for a church that opened its doors in the wake of a disaster. Howard County says thanks to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church just days after the county and the state of Maryland are made eligible for federal assistance in response to the damage from the July 30 flash flooding.
Days after the flooding that left downtown Ellicott City in shambles, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church stepped up and opened its doors to the community.
“This is our community. St. Peter’s is part of Ellicott City. We were fortunate we didn’t have any of the disaster,” said Julie Dunn, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
“Over the next two-to-three weeks, I guess, we were the access point for Main street,” said Father Tom Slawson, St. Peter’s Espicopal.
For weeks St. Peter’s was the staging area for any and most of all recovery efforts and volunteering.
“To come and maybe gather together, to consult with each other, to heal. But just to provide those services at St. Peter’s, was a true godsend for Ellicott City,” said Howard County Executive, Alan Kittleman.
For that service, Kittleman is saying thank you during the church’s Sunday morning mass. This show of appreciation comes two days after Governor Larry Hogan’s major disaster declaration, opening the door to federal funds that will help with the continued clean-up efforts.
Kittleman is also asking for an extension of the state of emergency for the area, until October 6, while continuing to keep many areas closed-off to limit interruptions during the recovery.
“A lot of the times people think about the hill and the business section, but there are a lot of folks in the west end that also need help, and we’re going to do what we can to provide them that assistance as well,” Kittleman tells WJZ.
Nearly two months and still so much is need, but a far cry from the worst of the disaster, thanks in part to the church doors that were open.
“I was glad that we were here and we could do what we did at the time,” said Father Tom Slawson.
County Executive Kittleman says the federal funds will allow the county to implement long-term flooding mitigation projects, building a model resilient community.