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The Towing and Recovery Professionals of Maryland have an interesting and complex history, going back almost 20 years. At that time, there were already four county towing associations in existence in Maryland serving Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Montgomery County.
During the 1978 session of the legislature, John Sasser, Burt Greenwood, Jerry Wise and Pete Eilers met over coffee to discuss the current legislation and its impact on towers. A chance comment was made: What was really needed was a statewide towing association to manage and direct the interest of towers at Annapolis. But when the fire of current bill was doused, the spark died also. The following years a repeat meeting took place with additional participants: John Bassford, Tom Raley and Betty Cornwell. This time, when the topic of a state towing association was discussed, the spark remained and burned bright.
The story now moves to the Independent Towers of Montgomery County who hosted a special meeting in November 1979, to discuss the concept of forming a state-wide towing association. Seventy people were in attendance; the idea was approved and elections were set for January, 1980.
The first meeting of TRPM was hosted by Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA) and Virginia Association of towing and Recovery Operators (VATRO) President Henery Heath. The newly elected officers were Gordon Singer, Sally Wise, Tom Raley, and Jerry Wise. The Vice Presidents and Directors were Caswell Hartridge, Dorsey Bryan, Betty Cornwell, John Ferris, Bobby Wheeler and Art Brown. The dues were collected and TRPM was off and running.
By the end of the first year, John Bassford was serving as President a position he held for three years. In August 1983, TRPM hired its first administrator, monitored the legislature, merged two of the four county associations, and increased membership 350%.
Since those early beginnings, TRPM has grown in membership and in stature as a highly respected part of the statewide and national towing industry. TRPM has experienced several successful legislative years with the assistance of lobbyist Ellen Valentino. Our current lobbyist is Michael Canning.
The first Roadeo and Trade Show was held in 1980, and weekend-long Roadeos were held each year until 1989, when TRPM began cosponsoring the American Towman Expo in Baltimore. Since then, our Roadeos have been only one day. Several TRPM Roadeo winners have gone on to become Grand National Champions at the TRAA Roadeo.
TRPM has been an affiliate member of TRAA since its inception, our own Betty Cornwell served as President of the Council of State's Towing Association (COSTA). Several years ago, TRPM created an Executive Director position; Betty Cornwell has served in this capacity since then.
Over the years, TRPM has offered numerous educational opportunities for its members, to learn new skills, and keep updated on the latest equipment and techniques. TRPM has also participated in several philanthropic endeavors, including contributions to the Make A Wish Foundation, St. Jude's Hospital, and the Towing and Recovery Association of American's National Certification Program.
Today, TRPM is a strong and vital association that provides its membership with support and education, and also tackles the tough issues in an industry where professionalism is the key.