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Local news and mental health benefits

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Dear Friends,
 
Good morning. Stephanie Shanblatt has announced that she will retire from the Bucks County Community College presidency at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. She has been the BCCC president for eight years … very successful years indeed.
Adding to her laurels, BCCC has been named the top community college in Pennsylvania for online associate degrees and certificates by Guide to Online Schools. Brava, Dr. Shanblatt!
 
Did you see that the Quakertown Swamp was named as a “Wetland of Distinction?” For those of you from Lower or Middle Bucks County, you’re undoubtedly familiar with Swamp Road. It runs from Bristol to Quakertown. Why the name, Swamp Road? It’s because it leads from the Delaware River at Bristol to the Great Swamp, just east of Quakertown. It’s also known as the Quakertown Swamp.
 
“The Quakertown Swamp recently received the designation as a Wetland of Distinction by the Society of Wetland Scientists, currently making it one of only two areas in Pennsylvania to receive this recognition,” the Bucks County Herald reported July 23. “The SWS approved the listing for the Quakertown Swamp after the Heritage Conservancy facilitated the application process.
“The Wetlands of Distinction recognizes the world’s most valuable wetland ecosystems. Quakertown Swamp has 518 acres in Richland and East and West Rockhill townships. It is one of the largest intact, inland wetlands in Pennsylvania and supports several rare bird species, the great blue heron and bald eagle among them.”
 
Let me turn for a moment to the “small world department.” Mighty Betsy’s college roommate married an Episcopal priest who was the pastor of several Indian villages in Alaska via water airplane. Mare and Father Murray Trelease are a wonderful couple who’ve served mankind in very wonderful ways. They live on Lopez Island just off the west coast of Washington State.
 
They make a striking physical twosome. Mare is only 4 feet, 10 inches tall and her husband is 6 feet, 4, nearly two feet taller. But while Mare is tiny, she is mighty … just like Mighty Betsy Meredith.
 
After 50-plus years in the ministry, the Treleases retired to Lopez Island. Recently, Murray called me and asked if I’d like to join a prayer group, which he formed years ago. I remembered that I’d attended this group when we visited the Treleases. The Bible study organization has about a dozen men who attend meetings every other week.
Immediately, I said yes. Last week, one of the members tried to walk me through the sequences to communicate via Zoom. Our children are very familiar with “Zooming” as are kids younger than our grandchildren. This nice fellow is Mort Davis, one of Murray Treleases pals.
 
It turns out that Mort Davis has connections to Upper Bucks County and the Penn Foundation for mental heath. Mort Davis was on its staff and knew the founder, Dr. Norman Loux. A Mennonite, Dr. Loux played an important role in our lives. He believed that mental health was just as important as physical health and should be associated with a hospital. By affiliating with Grand View Hospital near Sellersville, Penn Foundation soon expanded its influence.
 
I remember Dr. Loux very well. He founded the Penn Foundation in 1955. Today the organization cares for more than 20,000 patients and families each year. For decades, Mighty Betsy served as a trustee at the Penn Foundation. Today, it continues to remain close to our hearts.
 
Years ago, I would call Dr. Loux for an annual mental health checkup via the telephone. He would pronounce me sane and counsel me to stop smoking, which I finally accomplished at age 46, after bypass heart surgery.
 
Anyway, our first meeting was at 8 a.m. Lopez Island time (11 a.m. Quakertown time). Murray Trelease led us through the readings of Psalm 119 and 1 Kings from the Old Testament plus Romans 8 from the New Testament (“If God is for us, who is against us?”) and several complicated parables found in Matthew 13. I’m glad that Murray was with us. Without him, I would have remained in the dark. I’ll report future meetings.
 
Finally, here’s a thought from Jeanette Landis, the secretary of the Quakertown High School class of 1953. She still includes me as a class member even though I didn’t graduate with my classmates. (By mutual agreement between the principal and my parents, I left QHS for boarding school after the ninth grade.) In her letter, she listed 12 commandments for seniors.
Two commanments stood out.
 
“Talk to yourself … there are times that you need expert advice,” read one, and … “It would be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for 10 minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller.”
 
Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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