“Most of you know that being part of a community association is usually about criticism, complaints, and problems that you have,” said Fell’s Point Community Organization president Joanne Masopust at the FPCO meeting last Tuesday, Dec. 11.
But that particular meeting was different. Masopust asked attendees to “shift focus for awhile” and focus on what they can be grateful for.
“As pissed off as I might be, there’s still something to be grateful for, even if it’s just that I was able to walk to the meeting tonight,” she said.
Last Tuesday was FPCO’s annual Evening of Gratitude, a special meeting in which members reflect and also honor those who they feel have made strong contributions to the community.
This year, one of those honorees was Victor Corbin, president of the Fell’s Prospect Community Association.
Fell’s Prospect borders Fell’s Point, and Masopust acknowledged that Corbin is not exactly within FPCO’s borders.
“It sort of reminds me of one of those Nat Geo things where you see a cat and a rooster hanging out together,” she said, “because boundaries don’t matter to me and Victor.”
Masopust said that FPCO gave Corbin the 2012 Working Together Award because “he doesn’t hesitate to say yes to people.” She gave several example’s of positive community activism from Corbin:
“During Snowmageddon, he and some of his members helped make sure people in the fire station had food. He takes a neighbor of his who doesn’t have a car to Wegman’s once a month…He’s helped with FPCO, and supported me at Liquor Board hearings when nobody else had the time to go.”
Masopust also said that Corbin is “somebody who could be, at times, described as abrasive or pushy…He unapologetically holds elected officials and government employees to account to do their jobs and get things done.”
Speaking of elected officials, Delegate Peter Hammen also honored Corbin, noting that he can be seen “just out in front of his house, sweeping.”
“What everyone sees perfectly clear,” Hammen said, “is that Victor cares about the community.”
The co-winner of the Working Together award was Hammen himself. Masopust got both Hammen and Corbin to the ceremony by telling each he would be speaking about the other.
“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of how much he does for the area,” said Corbin of Hammen.
“He has been the chairperson of the Fell’s Point Task Force for a million years,” said Masopust, explaining her decision to honor the representative.
“He’s really helped in this past year when we’ve really had some frustrations with the city—he’s been really good at getting these people to the Task Force and holding their feet to the fire to get things done.”
Masopust noted that Hammen was a driving force behind getting Fell’s Point recognized as one of the Top 10 Neighborhoods in the U.S. by the American Trade Association. Hammen was also instrumental in defeating the “3 a.m. Bill,” she said, which would have allowed some bar and entertainment establishments to stay open until 3 a.m.
Hammen recognized representatives.
For his part, Hammen said that Delegates Luke Clippinger and Brian McHale, plus “our amazing State Senator Bill Ferguson,” had played major roles in his own accomplishments.
by Erik Zygmont