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Friends of the Patapsco: Name Changes and Honors

The environmental group announced some changes and major accomplishments at its annual meeting.

The Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway is no more.

The organization, dedicated to "preserving, protecting, interpreting and restoring the environment, history and culture" of the Patapsco Valley has had a change of name.

President Kit Valentine's motion to change the name of the organization to Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway(PVHG) -- to avoid confusion with other organizations -- was approved at the group's annual meeting, held Tuesday, April 10, at the George Howard Building.

Tuesday got a name-change too: it was Kit Valentine Day, thanks to a proclamation issued by Howard County Councilwoman Courtney Watson, on behalf of the Howard and Baltimore County Councils and the Howard County executive. 

"We are very grateful for his work," Watson said.

Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk also formally recognized Valentine, who has led the non-profit organization for more than 10 years.

"We wanted to offer our sincerest appreciation to Kit Valentine for 12 years of distinguished and dedicated service as president of The Friends of the Patapsco Valley and Heritage Greenway," Quirk said.

"The the council hereby extends its respect, congratulations and sincere appreciation to Kit Valentine."

Also honored at Tuesday's meeting was John Merriment, for Volunteer of the Year.

He also would have qualified for “Sends Betsy the most emails, or posts the most photos,” said Betsy McMillion, Executive Director at Patapsco Valley Heritage Greenway.

Merriment was noted for the perseverance which which he has kept watch over the Patapsco -- once digging through trash to find the identity of an illegal dumper -- and the enthusiasm he has been able to garner for his cause.

Merriment has secured money, manpower and time from his coworkers at Lockheed Martin who, with Constellation Energy will be participating in a .

McMillion said that Merriment cleaned up 15,000 lbs of trash, a habit that started small, as he noticed debris on his bicycle commute from Catonsville to Hanover.

"Merriment," McMillion said, teary-eyed, "Has proven that one person can really make a difference."

In all, according to its yearly statement, nearly 2,000 people volunteered for PVHG in 2011 and the organization hosted 30 group cleanups, collecting more than 60 tons of trash.

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