By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(March 1, 2018) After spending the last three months in hospitals and rehabilitation centers in three different states, Pocomoke Mayor Bruce Morrison came home Sunday to a town parade led by Worcester County and Pocomoke police, fire and emergency services personnel.
Morrison experienced a traumatic brain injury on Nov. 29 and was rushed to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. He was transferred to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware, and on Jan. 2, was taken to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Pennsylvania.
Now, the three-term mayor is recovering at home.
“It was a very emotional day for sure,” Councilwoman Esther Troast said. “I couldn’t contain my emotions as the tears flowed and seeing the expression on his face as he entered town was priceless.
“The abundance of love on the downtown area as the crowd was gathering was very evident of the love and respect the citizens of Pocomoke have for our Bruce,” she added.
Troast, a longtime friend and the acting mayor, organized the homecoming that included the police color guard.
At about 2 p.m., sirens heralded the parade as it crept across the Pocomoke City Bridge on Market Street. Morrison followed, driven by his wife, Laura, in a white SUV.
Morrison could be seen sitting in the passenger seat, smiling and waving with his left hand.
The marquee on the Mar-Va Theater read “Welcome Home Mayor Bruce” and citizens lining the streets held up handmade signs.
“All the agencies that showed up for the homecoming were there not because I asked, but because they wouldn’t have had it any other way,” Troast said. “Our fire company family is amazing. A few months back, when I was faced with a similar situation with my husband, they were there for me, they were my rock and my support.
“I couldn’t have made it through the tough days without them and they were there yesterday for Bruce in full force,” she added. “What an amazing town we have, we are family. My heart is full with love for my town and it is an honor to serve it.
“[Sunday] was beyond amazing. It was a true testimony of just how much this city cares for Bruce and his family, and I was overjoyed that I could be a small part of it,” Troast said.
City Manager Bobby Cowger underscored the fact that Morrison still has a long road of recovery ahead, but said the parade was an important moment of togetherness for the townspeople.
“It’s nice in a small town like we’ve got to see the people rally and see how much everybody cares for each other,” he said. “They go out of their way to really support and help us when we get down. They showed that with all the people coming out and supporting him when he came home.”
Sen. Jim Mathias was in the street during the parade, broadcasting video through Facebook Live. In the video, Troast could be seen with Morrison’s daughter, Caitlin, as they both cried with joy.
Mathias later continued the video at Morrison’s home, where friends, family and members of the Pocomoke Fire Company greeted him.
Morrison sat in a wheelchair in the driveway, smiling and laughing. He was given a quilt from friend Donna Clarke, stitched with dozens of well wishes.
When the mayor spotted the senator, he reached out and pointed to the camera, visibly grinning.
“God bless you, man. We love you,” Mathias could be heard saying as the two embraced. “I’m so happy you’re home.”
Reached for comment on Tuesday, Mathias said he’s known the Morrison his family for about 15 or 20 years.
“It was hugely gratifying to see him,” Mathias said. “I’ve had challenges in my life, and to know you’re making forward progress and see all these people that care for and love for you – there’s no words.”
Mathias recalled talking to Morrison about the Pocomoke Christmas parade last November, just days before the apparent aneurysm occurred.
He said the homecoming had a uniting effect for the Pocomoke.
“Through adversity you become stronger – stronger as a family, stronger as a community, stronger as a people,” Mathias said. “He is beloved here.
“The day in your life when you’re richest is when you have your family, your friends and your health. And in that case, they were all right there,” he added. “He’s a very wealthy person with his family and his friends – and we’re working on his health.”