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Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services Dives In to Help ‘Make-A-Wish' Request Come True for Six-Year-Old From Damascus

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The nonprofit Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic was working on a plan to build a backyard swimming pool this spring for a six-year-old from Damascus who has a neurological condition and whose major comfort comes when she is in a pool. However, the project was being held up a significant need for property records, which the family was having a hard time obtaining. That is when the Montgomery County Department of Permitting Services (DPS) stepped in so the wish could more quickly become a reality.

Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic, which for decades has granted wishes of all imaginations to local children with critical illnesses, had put in motion most things needed to build a pool for Hannah since a request was made in Fall 2019. When Hannah is in the water, it is one of the only times she does not need physical assistance. The water allows her to move around freely while she wears a floatation device and it helps relieve her joint and muscle pain.  

Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic granted more than 375 wishes in the Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. region in 2019. The organization knew Hannah’s wish to have a swimming pool was going to help improve her quality of life.

Make-A-Wish was making progress in getting records and paperwork in order to get the pool constructed this spring, but had trouble accessing certain records regarding the family property. There are few people who know about records like those who work at DPS, so Claire Kruse of Make-A-Wish called the department seeking assistance. DPS Permit Technician Rebecca Jones quickly moved to assist. 

Although DPS continues to perform most of its functions remotely during the COVID-19 health crisis, Rebecca and her manager, Gail Lucas, were able to locate the missing records and coordinate the final aspects of the permit request process.

The permit to build the pool was issued on June 5 and the pool is now under construction. It is scheduled to be completed within the next few weeks.

“We are really appreciative of everybody pulling together on this project,” said Hannah’s mother, Kristy. “It is such a complicated process, and everybody was so kind and helpful. Hannah really loves the water and we are so thankful to be able to get her swimming this summer.” 

DPS Director Mitra Pedoeem said that her department is constantly seeking ways to make the permit process easier for projects of all types. However, when special circumstances apply, she wants DPS to be able help in every way possible.

“I am excited that our team was able to come up with a creative solution to serve this family,” she said. “As DPS moves forward, my goal is to ensure that this is the type of customer service DPS is known for.”

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Release ID: 20-340
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-205-1915