Jeremy and Annie heard each other’s testimony the night of the May 2 SCC local hearing at the Haymarket Battlefield High School.

Jeremy is a friend of Karen Sheehan, who came with his guide dog, Legion, to give his eloquent and extemporaneous testimony on this project, even though he lives in Sterling, in Loudoun County.

Annie is a single mom from Heathcote Commons, who shared her very personal and powerful message with the SCC, and with all of us.

Jeremy asked Annie for her email address that night, and reached out the next morning. What they are willing to share here with all of us is testament to people building connections that create real communities.  Not bound by neighborhood, but bound by a shared sense of empathy. 

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From: Jeremy Hall

Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2016 9:22 AM

To: Annie Pratt

Subject: Thanks for your testimony at the hearing

Good morning,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for sticking it out until the end and telling your story. Although I was not the intended audience, I was deeply moved by your honest integrous and grace-filled words. I told my wife I would be home a bit after 8pm. I have never attended such a hearing before and did not realize it would go on until 10:25pm (that is when the high school rudely interrupted the court representative and threw everybody out on the street in the cold and rain)

I had not read through all the proposals or understood all the options, but I knew it was morally wrong and had to do something about it. I think when I signed up I was like 10th on the list, you must have been 12th, so you had gotten there early. Yes I am a network engineer by trade and so Bob’s presentation held my interest as he methodically presented his reasons. Some of the others also captivated my attention as well, but none will stick with me like your story. For the first time in the night, you showed a real tangible detriment to the installation of the overhead lines. Thankfully, your story was before the call for us to (what was it again? Stop endlessly repeating the same thing over and over so we can get on with the night?) That’s not a direct quote, but that was clearly the intent. I wanted to encourage you that everything you said was a unique fresh look at the situation.  Because of your story, I am going to see what else I can do to join the fight. When I ask myself why I am doing this, my answer will be simple:

Because Annie and her family needs one more voice.  Maybe, just maybe, there is enough America left to do what is right. You didn’t ask for this, and I am going to pray for you that if you ever choose to sell your property you will make enough to double that $30k you would have lost. Some could argue you have already lost it. I say, until June 21, there is still a chance and I will do what I can to make sure the deciding powers are reminded of your voice. I don’t recall how many children you had or their ages, but I know as a parent it’s always running through your mind if the children are ok, is the sitter paid enough, and should we call just to check?

I say this because I know the sacrifice you have made just in this one night. I want to encourage you not to give up, but to carry on and remind big business that those customers they are serving, you know, the “little people” (Hey, I’m short, I don’t know about you) each and every consumer of Amazon services has paid into the company so they can build this monstrosity over our heads.  I’ve been an Amazon customer for years, possibly you have as well. For companies like them, this is a tick on the balance sheet, but for residents, this will be a reminder of “progress” but you already know this.

Anyway I just wanted to thank you for your story and encourage you not to give up. When the commissioner comes to visit, you will be smiling on your back deck. How do I know this? Because I recognize good people and I know when a story is just bs. You will stand for justice, mercy in hand. You have learned long ago that Love Always Wins. You could have been bitter or angry, but instead you were calm, sensible and collected.

I may remember half a dozen things from the night, the stories, the ream of paper that Bob shared in an hour, being thrown out by the high school, but the most important thing that happened was I have begun to believe in America again because of your story.

Thanks

_J

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From: Annie Pratt

Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 8:39

To: Hall, JeremyT

Subject: Re: Thanks for your testimony at the hearing

Jeremy,

Thank you for your kind words.  I was very nervous to get up and speak in public, but I spoke from my heart.  I wish I had been more eloquent or persuasive, but at least I can say that I did my best.  There were times when I thought I would never get my turn as the hour grew very late and I wanted to give up and go home, but I knew my 9 year old daughter would have been very disappointed in me if I could not say that I did my part. I very much appreciated your time and words you spoke on Monday night as well.  I hope you made the impact on the SCC that you made on me.

Thank you for encouraging me to not give up. I sincerely hope that the SCC does the right thing and I agree with you that if there is anything left that we can do to prevent these tower lines, I am willing to do it.

Thank you for being part of this.  There is strength in numbers and we certainly have plenty of citizens on our side. You are very kind to take the time to email me.  And your email was very encouraging.

Sincerely,

Annie

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From: Hall, JeremyT

Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 8:58 AM

To: Annie Pratt

CC: Karen Sheehan

Subject: RE: Thanks for your testimony at the hearing

 

Yep right there with ya, there was this moment when I walked down there, stood in front of the podium and was like

What am I doing up here? What am I going to say? 😉

But then I just started talking and the words started to make sense. I wonder if others had a similar experience?

It would be an honour to meet your daughter one day.

(including Karen for next steps]

So Karen, now what? Is there anything more we can do?

_J

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From: Karen Sheehan

Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 9:05 AM

To: ‘Annie Pratt’

Subject: RE: Thanks for your testimony at the hearing

Hi Annie – I am so glad you responded and that you are comfortable with his email to you being shared.  I can’t wait for people to be able to see your testimony once the SCC court reporter gets it posted!

Thank you!

We’re all in this together….

Karen

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From: Annie Pratt

Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 8:48 AM

To: Karen Sheehan

Subject: Re: Thanks for your testimony at the hearing

Karen,

Yes, Jeremy’s words were very kind and encouraging.  You may post them to your website.  I am very grateful to you and all those who have organized the opposition to these powerlines.  Many of my neighbors had not even been aware of the powerline proposal and these hearings, but several had received updates from the coalition. Our neighborhood is relatively new, with the last part of the construction being complete only late last fall. The sting of this lack of knowledge in our neighborhood about the powerlines is especially sharp when you consider that my neighbors who back up to 66 bought their homes with the promise of a sound barrier wall to buffer them from the highway (which is now being constructed). . . the idea of 110 foot powerlines being placed INSIDE of that “protective” wall is almost laughable if it weren’t downright offensive.

So thank you for all the time and effort you have put into this.  I sincerely hope that the SCC makes the right decision.

Annie

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