GAITHERSBURG – Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council presented a certificate of recognition to Tyrell Williams, honoring the former member of Quince Orchard High School’s varsity football team for his courage and determination to recover from an injury that left him confined to a wheelchair.
Williams played as a linebacker for Georgetown University and suffered a neck injury during a game in September.
“Tyrell, I want you to know that you have a whole community behind you, ready to be the wind in your sails,” said Ashman, who served as coordinator for the Quince Orchard cluster of PTAs before entering city government and often attends Quince Orchard football games. “I was at Quince Orchard High earlier today to speak about government, and when I mentioned that we were honoring Tyrell tonight, there was an audible reaction from the students. He means a great deal to the school community.”
Several members of the Quince Orchard football team attended the meeting; two members led the opening recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I’m really moved to receive this honor and that so many people came out to support me,” Williams said. “I’m confident that I will walk again.”
Following Williams’ award, city Police Chief Mark Sroka presented awards to several members of the force.
Officer Evan Milano received the Officer of the Year Award.
“Officer Milano’s dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty set him apart,” Sroka said. Sroka also noted that with over 1,000 citizen contacts, Milano had not received a single complaint.
Sgt. Shawn Eastman received the Supervisor of the Year Award.
Monday’s meeting was the first since January for Council member Henry F. Marraffa, who has been undergoing treatment for leukemia.
“I’m in between treatments, so I thought I’d come in and get some things done,” Marraffa said. “I’m getting the same treatment as the governor, and it’s worked well for him, so I feel good about my chances.”
City Manager Tony Tomasello presented several changes to plans for a proposed Verizon cellular tower at Morse Park. In response to citizens’ concerns voiced in September, the new proposed site for the tower, which will take the place of an existing light pole, is twice as far away from the nearest residences, and the tower would no longer be built with exterior antennae.
During discussion, most of the council members were supportive of the changes, although Council member Robert Wu expressed reservations about the tower’s presence near two baseball diamonds.
Some members of the public also expressed continued concern about the tower’s potential effects on the city’s health and aesthetics.
“I’m definitely against having this tower near people,” said Joanne Gigliotti, who testified Monday night and has written several letters to the mayor and council in opposition to the tower’s construction. “I am addicted to my cellphone and my iPad, like most everyone else, but these towers should be placed along a highway or up on a mountain.”