In the Summer of 2012, Southern Maryland was aghast with the dreadful news of the Hayward family murder-suicide. Many heard the heroic account of the first responders who were called to the scene that day. This community stood united as organizations and individuals volunteered time and effort to raise funds in support of the surviving child. We saw articles in the paper about the Lunczynski girls raising funds by selling lemonade on Chaneyville Road. Members of the Calvert County Special Operations Team were recognized with the Maryland Chiefs of Police Act of Valor Award. But what the public did not hear is how the family dealt with the tangled aftermath of these events. Who steps in to deal with the physical and legal chaos that is left behind? My purpose for writing this letter is to spread awareness and give thanks to those unmentioned members of the community who deserve recognition for their selfless contributions to the wellbeing of this family.
George Meng, a Prince Frederick attorney who deals in estate and trust litigation, handled the administration of Frank Hayward, Jr.’s estate as the Personal Representative. Meng’s involvement came through another local attorney, Jennifer Dill, who volunteered herself as guardian of the property of the surviving child. As the Personal Representative of the estate, Meng was tasked with liquidating the personal and real property of the Hayward family in an attempt to collect as much money as possible to be passed on for the care of the surviving child. Even in a typical estate, this is no easy task. In this matter, the job included arranging repairs to a home damaged by a fire and water, selling the personal items of a man who killed his family, and selling a house where a horrific act occurred. The process took over a year to complete and the many people involved bent over backwards to get it done.
This outpouring of support did not come as a surprise to Meng. “It think it’s the way a community ought to be. I think that is one of the things I like about Calvert County. Not that other communities wouldn’t do it, but it’s one of the good things about living in a small community.”
Living in this area for any length of time, you know how small Calvert County can be. You can’t go to Nick’s grocery without seeing a coworker or your child’s teacher. We have one of the highest median family incomes in the country, little crime and great schools. The Hayward family was “living in a very affluent area, in a $500,000 house. There is no inkling that something like this could happen. That is very shocking to a community,” explained Meng.
Whether it was the sensationalistic nature of the story or the “too close to home” feeling that it gave us, throughout the duration of his representation, Meng encountered countless individuals and organizations in the community who contributed services at no cost or substantially reduced rates to assist this family. Meng wanted to express gratitude and recognition to the following:
Jennifer Dill, mentioned above; Rodney Sapp and Stallings National Enterprises who contributed to the clean-up of the home; Michael Thomas a local appraiser who appraised the home and personal property at no charge; Michael M. Rogers, Sr., the Personal Representative of Mrs. Hayward’s Estate and Tara Frame, Esq., the attorney who assisted him; Robert Gholl, C. Brandon Harrington and PAX Real Estate who sold the home at no commission; Larry Cumberland, a local attorney who assisted with the sale of personal property; Stevenson Pools, who assisted with the clean up and closing of the pool for winter at no charge; Larry, Kay and Scott Forman of Chesapeake Auction House who packed, transported, and sold the personal property from the home at no charge; Ryan Ryder a local landscaper who provided services for the yard at little charge; and Knee Deep Ponds, Inc. who provided clean-up of the property for free.
Sometimes it takes the most inhumane of events to beget the humanity in us all. We should be proud to live in a community like Calvert County. Thank you to those mentioned and all the individuals who acted, volunteered, contributed, donated, and assisted in the wake of this horrible tragedy.
Sierra B. Mitchell, Esquire
85 Sherry Lane, Suite 1B
Prince Frederick, MD 20678