Community Rallies Around Annapolis Yacht Club Members

January 8, 2016 | By | Reply More

It’s been a little over three weeks since the Annapolis Yacht Club, a cultural icon of its namesake city, was destroyed by a massive fire, one that took hours to get under control. Fortunately, there were no injuries or loss of life, as there were no members in the building at the time while staff prepared for the Parade of Lights later that evening. Although everyone remained safe throughout the ordeal, Annapolitans were shaken, nonetheless.

“My heart is broken,” said Ann Bitner, a dental hygienist and Annapolis Overlook resident. “I cried for, like, two days. I just couldn’t believe it! I mean, I’ve never been inside because I don’t personally know anyone who is a member but, in my mind, I can picture how beautiful it probably was!”

A Community Responds To Annapolis Yacht Club

Despite that tragedy, and in line with the message of the Christmas season, the community immediately rallied around those displaced by the fire. Within hours, Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides, Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh, and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, all Republicans, a political party not often associated with lavish organizations such as yacht clubs, came together in the name of unity to help the AYC in whatever way they could.

“We don’t really consider this a yacht club,” said Mayor Pantelides. “We consider it a community center. Albeit a community center that is not open to the general public and has very strict rules regarding membership.”

Lobsters donated for the victims of the Annapolis Yacht Club fire

Lobsters donated by local churches to feed Annapolis Yacht Club members who were displaced by the fire in mid-December.

Businesses, non-profit organizations, community associations, and schools in and around Annapolis all leapt into action immediately after the fire to take care of those affected. They quickly took up collections of gently-used champagne flutes, martini glasses, deck shoes, Helly Hansen windbreakers, and even Zodiac inflatables to aid members. Local churches, as they do in any disaster, quickly jumped in to help.

“Certainly the Annapolis Yacht Club has always been there for us,” said Reverend Thomas S. Green, pastor of the Mount Sinai AME Church in Parole. “We want to be able to return the Lord’s blessings to those less fortunate. We don’t have a lot of money, but we have phones, and we can help call around to find slips for displaced yachts. We can donate foods like brie, pâté, and water crackers. We are here for them.”

Business Owner Fires Employees to Help Annapolis Yacht Club Employees

The business community immediately jumped in, with both feet, as noted by the Capital, to offer temporary jobs to the 150 employees who could be out of work from the time the insurance stopped paying them and the reconstruction was complete. One local restaurateur was so moved by their plight that he offered his restaurant to the Annapolis Yacht Club members to use as a their base of operations for their expensive food and drink until their home was rebuilt.

“I was devastated when I heard of the tragedy,” said Harry Brunette, through tears. “I told them that, even if I had to fire my entire staff immediately in order to provide jobs for their employees, I would do it. And that’s exactly what I did, because I hate to think of anyone out of work in this economy! And that’s what we do in this community…we help each other out!”

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Category: City of Annapolis

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Staff writer. What the hell does that mean? Oh yeah, that's right. I do all the fucking grunt work while Linda, Wanda and Mark take all the credit. Hey, but you know what, that's OK. The checks always clear the bank. But come the day that they don't...let me just say four words.... Mark.Naked.Farm.Animals

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