The Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center was packed for Montgomery County’s MLK Day of Service event on Jan. 20.
The Montgomery County Volunteer Center held the event to celebrate and honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through volunteer work. Projects included writing letters for troops and orphans, making baskets for homeless domestic abuse survivors, and packaging food for those in need.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was present, along with councilmembers Sidney Katz, Gabe Albornoz, and Evan Glass.
“This is pretty incredible… this is bigger than last year and I thought last year was the biggest I’d seen. This is amazing,” Elrich said.
Elrich said in 1963, he took a bus from his home in Silver Spring to Washington, D.C. to hear King deliver his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.
“He was one of the inspirational leaders in this whole notion of telling people they ought to imagine a country where people can live side by side and not think about skin color and any of the other insignificant stuff that makes us different but not in any meaningful way.”
Elrich said King’s ideas should still be a model for today.
“That was a game-changing philosophy. I never understood why it took this country so long to adopt it and we still struggle to adopt that point of view today but it’s a vision of what we could be and we ought to go about getting there,” he said.
Milton Campbell, with the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, said volunteer work on MLK Day is important.
“It shows that we can help a multitude of people and always be present to assist in any way that we can… without volunteers in the Civil Rights Movement… we wouldn’t all be here together,” he said.
Elrich agrees and appreciates volunteers in Montgomery County.
“There is so much that would never happen in the county or anywhere without volunteers.”