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Full text of opening remarks by Board President Parks

The following is a statement from Ocean Pines Association President Doug Parks read during last Saturday’s board meeting:

Everyone is aware of the terrible tragedy that occurred last summer regarding 14-year-old Gavin Knupp. No one can imagine the grief and suffering being endured by the parents at the loss of their child. As the investigation into this tragedy is ongoing, it is no surprise that frustration is growing as the time passes without official action by the State Attorney and the State Police conducting the investigation.

Beyond the foundation that was created in Gavin’s honor and the wonderful things that have been accomplished, a Facebook group named Do It For Gavin was formed to among other things, share information and opinions regarding the issue.

We have been told that for the most part the group discussed things in a reasonable manner but at some point, the tone changed from sharing information to targeting businesses and conducting protests and boycotts.

Quite frankly, while some may disagree, we see no issue at all with that course of action. However, their actions also included bullying of the business staff, bullying of children at school and threatening organizations, customers and OPA board members. Their actions demonstrated a move away from justice to a support for vengeance.

What we have issue with is, given that the targeted business has been sold, the group has now turned its attention to Ocean Pines. Their tactics have been to bully and threaten organizations and entertainment providers from having events at our Yacht Club.

As an example, because of the harassment that was going on in the community by this group, the Ravens Roost organization decided to move their planned fundraising event from the Yacht Club to another location.

The Veterans Memorial Fund-Raising event was disrupted by this group as the planned entertainer backed out from performing. Organizers were told if the event was held at the Yacht Club, that the Memorial was going to be vandalized.

On another note, the band that was scheduled to perform at the St. Patrick’s Day event last week backed out at the last minute due to being harassed by this group. Do these actions convey a desire for justice or vengeance?

When will they stop? I can answer that – they won’t!! This is a call to all Ocean Pines Association members – raise your voices and be heard. We cannot let this vigilante group run roughshod over our community. By their actions and social media posts, they have demonstrated they care nothing about Ocean Pines and will go to whatever lengths it takes to disrupt our community and our livelihood.

We would welcome a conversation with representatives from the Do It For Gavin group with the hope of understanding why they want to disrupt the Ocean Pines community and how their actions would serve to move forward with justice.

Trust that justice regarding this case is what all of us want. Perhaps we could convince them that their anger should be directed towards those who are in charge of the investigation.

Talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors and talk to other Association members to let them know these situations are taking place and that this group is promoting a level of disruption to our community that at some

point will affect us financially, which in turn will most likely lead to an increase in annual assessments.

We must continue to do what it takes to protect our community and the amenities we have paid to enjoy. I ask the members of the Association to continue to support our amenities and fund-raising events as together we can maintain the things that make our community what it is for us.

We all want justice for Gavin and our hope is that the case is resolved as soon as possible.