Hardwire CEO Explains Why He Abandoned County Plan

Editor’s Note: The following is a copy of the letter sent to the County Commissioners as well as residents and neighbors by Hardwire CEO George Tunis as well as the response from the citizens group in opposition to the plans.)

Hardwire

1947 Clarke Avenue

Pocomoke City, Md. 21851

Fellow residents and neighbors,

As I testified at the Snow Hill BZA hearing and told individuals on the phone or in person, I promised to listen to your concerns regarding the Newark Blast site.

I had actually made up my mind last week against using the site, after talking with several of you personally. For those of you that spent your resources on meetings, lawyers and yard signs, I am sorry you wasted your time.

However the real loss was to our local economy.

Note, the site is currently an unlimited blast range and sand strip mine. Our activity there would have put limits on the charges, added security, and a link to the community so you would not be surprised. We had planned to environmentally baseline the site and: closely monitor it. We were ready to further limit the site to scale testing only, something that is barely noticeable and the key thing that speeds our work. Working with the BZA and the county, we planned to let the public Witness the first few tests to be sure everyone was comfortable. Fear of the unknown is usually best battled with Simple reality. That is now lost. The range will continue to operate, as it has in the past, completely exempt and unlimited.

As one of the closest neighbors, the occasional noise does not bother or scare my family anymore than a random clap of thunder. I personally don’t want our local law enforcement officers dealing with the real thing in a live situation, untrained.

During this process, I have been surprised by a few specific individual’s public display of sensationalism and engineering ignorance. Images of nuclear explosions and narratives of jackhammers in people’s ears is ridiculous. It’s ok to say you won’t make the minuscule sacrifice to hear a loud noise once in a while to help protect American lives, but just come out and say it.

Solid science and responsible resource use should be the basis of any good decision where a community, a country and our warfighter’s safety is concerned. Since Hardwire’s inception in a South Point garage, the County Economic Development office, County Commissioners, State Government officials, Federal representatives and

most recently, the BZA, have all taken the time to understand the facts. They played key roles in helping create great products, good high paying jobs and tens of millions in tax revenues for the Federal, State, County and City Governments. As a prime example, the City of Pocomoke has been an amazing place to do business, and played a pivotal role in our speed and resulting success.

Our company has been entrusted with the lives of the individual war-fighters that are ordered to use our products. The soldier in the field does: not get a choice; he or she has to trust we have done our job. This is a responsibility we wanted, we earned and we will protect. As a CEO, as a father, and as an American, I will not

let anything stand in the way of doing the best job imaginable, as fast as possible.

Being right is not what’s at stake for us. It’s being on time with just one piece of armor that saves a life, a limb, a hand, or just a few surgeries.

For those of you that supported the effort, thank you … for the rest, I am sorry you will not experience the pride of knowing you helped when you could have.

George C. Tunis III

Hardwire Chairman & CEO

RESPONSE: ‘Seashore Not C-4’ community

We applaud Mr. Tunis’ and Hardwire’s recognition that the public property at the end of Langmaid Road, in Newark, MD,  is not an appropriate site for a privately-operated military testing facility.

However, the granting of the Special Exception use of this land by the Board of Zoning Appeals (“BZA”) is still of concern to the community.  Allowing bombing ranges in the Resource Protection District is not an acceptable use, nor is it an acceptable use anywhere in Worcester County.

Our concern is that even if Hardwire chooses not to use the site as a military testing facility, the special exception approval remains valid for a year and it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the BZA to turn down another similar application at this location, or other Resource Protection zoned properties in Worcester County. 

Given Mr. Tunis’ professed concern that the Newark and South Point communities “spent your resources on meetings, lawyers and yard signs”, it would be a neighborly gesture on the part of Hardwire to join our request to BZA to vacate their Octpber 13 decision.

Finally, this community wishes to comment on the substance and tone of Mr. Tunis’ October 18 letter to the Worcester County Commissioners. First, ‘jobs’ has never been an issue in this matter. Mr. Tunis, under oath at the September 8 BZA hearing, admitted that no matter what the decision of the BZA, Hardwire would remain in Pocomoke and he would not relocate.  The 60+ jobs his company provides in Worcester County would remain in Worcester County, even without Worcester County subsidizing Mr. Tunis’ business with a low or no-rent lease of County owned property on the shores of Newport Bay.

Second, ‘patriotism’ has never been an issue with regard to this matter.  This community has been very forthright in praising the work Hardwire does to protect our law enforcement, and military, men and women.  Mr. Tunis’ response in his letter today is insulting to this community, many of whom have served in the military or in law enforcement, have loved ones who have served, and yes, have loved ones we have lost during their service to their communities and country.

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