Carl Henn was honored for his lifelong, dedicated public service at last night’s Mayor and Council Town Hall Meeting. Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio described him as the embodiment of “Think Globally. Act Locally.” He loved Rockville and blazed a trail we all strive to follow.
As we know, Carl died in July following a lightning strike. He was our leading environmental advocate and had served on the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and led the Environment Commission in addition to running for Rockville City Council.
Wanting to properly honor all of Carl’s volunteer work, the City officially renamed our 10-mile bicycle beltway, the Carl Henn Rockville Millennium Trail. One of the new signs was presented to his family. A plaque recognizing his work will be posted on the Trail. Future signage and maps will reflect the new name of the Trail.
When Carl testified at April’s Budget Work Session in support of adding directional signage around the Millennium Trail, he was excited about the project. Many people did not realize you could ride all the way around the City to reach landmarks. He thought if people knew how easy it would be to bike on the Trail and reach their destination, they would be more likely to choose their bike as a means of transportation. He described the nation’s energy and transportation problems as causing our economic problems due to the draining cost of peak oil. When he researched bicycle beltways, he found that Rockville was the only jurisdiction to complete such a beltway. He felt it rivaled the Capital Cresent Trail but people didn’t know about it. Also, sections were not properly marked to guide riders. He spent many hours working on the signage placement for the Trail to save consultant fees.
When Carl’s wife, Carol Henn, spoke, most in attendance unsuccessfully attempted to hold back tears. She explained that it wasn’t in Carl to let others do things. He would get up and do it himself. When they had their two daughters and he would wade through streams and walk through the woods, he wanted to ensure that his daughters would also be able to do these things. He dedicated himself to finding ways to get around without burning fossil fuels.
The Mayor and Council also renamed the City’s environmental award as the Carl Henn Outstanding Individual Environmental Achievement Award then made Carl the first recipient posthumously. Environment Commission members Kris Dighe and Beri Kravitz helped present the award to Carol and Allison Henn while explaining that Carl was “more dedicated than anybody to the environment.” The Award will continue to recognize “those whose efforts have improved the health or quality of Rockville’s environment or have increased public understanding or participation in environmental issues.”
During the Meeting, everyone asked “Who will fill Carl’s shoes?” in reference to the question made by Carl’s friend, Art Stigile, earlier this summer. All of us must do our part.
Carl was our most frequent and popular Contributor at Rockville Central. My small bit today is to guide you to Carl’s writing. Maybe someday we’ll have discounted solar options for our homes. Hopefully the Redgate property will never be developed.
Personally, I have looked at new cars. When I think of Carl, I can’t buy one. I’ll wait for better, affordable green technology and we’ll continue to use our bicycles more around town. I don’t think Carl would want us to put up these signs and think we are done. Rather he’d want us to evaluate our lives, make better choices for the environment, and work to change policies for the better.
What will you do to fill his shoes?