James Rada, Jr.

Five young Labrador retrievers bounded into the Frederick Youth Center on a cold Thursday night, pulling their trainers behind them. Still puppies, they wanted to romp, play, and explore. They slid on the wooden floor, as they strained their leashes to visit nearby people or other puppies.

This wasn’t a play-date for them, though. Pretty soon, they were calmed down and one-by-one they were asked to show their mastery of basic commands. They had to go to their rug and lay down on command and come to their trainer on command. They were also walked around the room to experience different smells and tactile sensations.

These puppies are destined for bigger things than chasing squirrels around a yard. They are only puppies now, but in a couple of years they will help blind people lead independent lives. These puppies are part of the Guiding Eyes For The Blind Program.

“Our job is to raise the puppies to be sent to New York, where they can be trained to be guide dogs,” said Beth Propps of Emmitsburg.

She and her family have raised three dogs, from approximately eight weeks old until they are eighteen months old. Propps first got involved with the program in 2009, when she saw a newspaper ad asking for volunteers.

“We do miss the puppies when they leave—they’re all such characters—but we know going in we’re only going to have them for a short time,” Propps said.

Guiding Eyes has been around since 1954, so they have developed a program based on seeing what has worked in the past. Since all of the puppies that the organization trains each year can’t be trained in New York, where the Guiding Eyes headquarters is, local organizations like Guiding Eyes Catoctin have been set up to handle the pre-training of puppies.

“They tell you exactly what needs to be done each day,” Propps said. “Then the puppies are evaluated weekly to see how they are doing.”

The pre-training involves things that are good for every dog to know. House manners. Obey voice commands. Control their youthful exuberance. The local families also make sure to expose the dogs to a variety of stimuli, such as train noises, crowds, and farm animals.

Not all dogs are cut out to be guide dogs, though. When the dogs are eighteen months old, they are evaluated for the New York program, and again upon completion of the program. Those dogs that don’t make the cut are often used as companions for autistic children or police dogs to be trained to sniff out drugs or bombs. A few might be used in a Guiding Eyes breeding program. If none of those options work, then the dog is adopted out to a loving family.

Guiding Eyes depends on volunteer puppy raisers to provide the love, support, and direction the puppies need to prepare them for formal training as future guide dogs. No prior experience is necessary, as Guiding Eyes provides training and support for raisers; raisers attend local classes and puppy evaluations. 

For more information or if you are interested in becoming a volunteer puppy raiser or simply want to learn more, take a look at these websites: Guiding Eyes Catoctin: guidingeyescatoctin.org and Guiding Eyes For the Blind: guidingeyes.org.


Puppy-in-training, Endora, is shown with her raiser, Susan Allen.

Photo by James Rada, Jr.


James Rada, Jr.

You may notice some new road signs in Thurmont indicating that you are on The Gateway Trail.

The signs were approved by the Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners in January, as a way to start promoting the new hiking and biking trail before the weather turns warm.

Thurmont Main Street Manager Vickie Grinder told the commissioners that the idea was “to create a buzz” about the trail.

In 2012, Catoctin Mountain Park had nearly 250,000 visitors, but only a small portion of those visitors extended their visit into Thurmont, according to Grinder. She believes that The Gateway Trail will help encourage visitors to come into town after their visit to the park.

The trail begins at the Trolley Trail in town. From Memorial Park, it runs along Park Lane to Frederick Road to South Altamont and west along West Main Street. At that point, the trail will tie in with a trail that the National Park Service is developing down to the Lewis Property. Once complete, visitors will be able to hike from Thurmont up onto Catoctin Mountain and back.

Eventually, the goal is to run the trail through Community Park and build a bridge at the back of the park that crosses the highway and ties into the Lewis Property from that direction.

The mayor and commissioners approved $350 for up to twelve signs to mark the trail. This would allow people to start using the trail this season. Grinder said that it would put the trail “on the map” for possible funding for trail improvements next year.

“This can work,” Grinder told the commissioners. “It will work. It is just going to take a concerted effort by all parties.”

TT-Nunsense-2015-castIn 2007, the Thurmont Thespians started the Nunsense series with the original Nunsense, which was a huge success for the local theater group.  They followed that up in 2009 with Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, which was also well received by the area theater goers. Now six years later, they are bringing another hilarious entry from the Nunsense series back to the stage with Meshuggah-Nuns: The Ecumenical Nunsense, and will once again be directed by Steven Ross.         

Playing the part of Reverend Mother is Allison Banzhoff from Hagerstown, Maryland, making her debut with the Thurmont Thespians. Kelli Donaghue from Woodsboro, Maryland, will be playing Sister Robert Anne, and Travis Sanders from Fairfield, Pennsylvania, will be taking on the role of Howard Listz. Making her stage debut is Jessica Paguingan from Thurmont, playing Sister Gnu and understudying the role of Sister Amnesia. Rounding out the cast are Thurmont natives Anna Perry as Sister Hubert and Emily Cofer as Sister Amnesia.

Meshuggah-Nuns sets sail for laughs and fun on the high seas with the Little Sisters of Hoboken attempting to put on a show for the Faiths of All Nations cruise. They are joined by Howard Liszt, the only cast member from the ship’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” not affected by sea sickness. Hilarity ensues when these characters join forces to put on a wacky-review show that is part Catholic, part Jewish, and part disaster movie, with a little “Gilligan’s Island” thrown in to top it off.

The show dates are March 20, 21, 27, and 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and March 22 and 29 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15.00 per person. Dinner theater is on March 28 at 6:00 p.m. and is $35.00 per person. 

All shows are presented at the Thurmont American Legion, located at 8 Park Lane in Thurmont. Reservations can be made by calling 301-271-7613.

Indoor Yard Sale at Elias Lutheran Church

Catch the Indoor Yard Sale, taking place at Elias Lutheran Church in Emmitsburg, on March 5-7, from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. They will be hosting a Church Supper on March 7, starting at noon.

EVAC Bingo Bash

Don’t miss Bingo Bash at Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) on March 21, 2015. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m., with games beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $40.00 if purchased in advance, and $50.00 if purchased at the door the night of the event. Bingo features twenty-two games, paying $250 each, with three $1,000 jackpots, plus a meal.

Save the Date for The Rock & Roll Relics

Enjoy original rock and roll sounds from the 50’s and 60’s on Saturday, March 14, 2015, from 8:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m., at the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company building, located at 17701 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Tickets are $15.00 when purchased in advance; $20.00 when purchased at door the night of the event.

Gateway Candyland’s Easter Egg Hunt

Don’t miss the Easter Egg Hunt (ages 10 and under) at Gateway Candyland, located at Rt. 15 and North Franklinville Road in Thurmont, on March 29, 2015, at 1:00 p.m. (weather permitting).

Ladies Spa Day for the Eyes at Thurmont Eye Care

You won’t want to miss Ladies Spa Day for the Eyes (ages fourteen and up) at Thurmont Eye Care on May 2, 2015, from 2:00-5:00 p.m. The event is free, but RSVPs are preferred. They will have drinks and appetizers, gift bags, and prizes, eye make-up application lessons, and much more!

Thurmont Lions Club Bingo

The Thurmont Lions Club is holding a Bingo on Friday, March 27, 2015, at the Guardian Hose Company Activities building in Thurmont. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m., with bingo starting at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $20.00 when purchased in advance; $25 when purchased at the door the night of the event. Bingo features beautifully filled Longaberger baskets and Coach purses, door prizes, and more! Bring a pair of glasses to donate and receive an extra door prize.

Speaker at Morning Star Family Church

Guest speaker, Dr. Gail Januskiewicz, Professor, Faith School of Theology, will be at Morning Star Family Church on Sunday, March 22, 2015, at 10:45 a.m.

St. John’s UCC Spaghetti Dinner

Mark you calendar for a Spaghetti Dinner, being held at St. John’s United Church of Christ (UCC) Parish Hall in Sabillasville on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The church is located at 16923 Sabillasville Road in Sabillasville. The cost is $10.00 for adults; $5.00 for children, ages 5-12; free for children, ages 5 and under.

His Place Car Show

Mark your calendar for the 6th Annual His Place Car Show, being held on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at Mother Seton School, located at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Event features three awards each, for five categories; raffle, food, door prizes, and more.

Annual Ladies Day

Join Catoctin Church of Christ for their Annual Ladies Day on Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Guest speaker will be Janet Dill. Registration and light breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m.

Thurmont Food Bank’s Grand Opening

The public is invited to the Thurmont Food Bank’s Grand Opening celebration on Saturday, March 7, 2015, at its new location at 10 Frederick Road in Thurmont, from 10:00 a.m.-noon. Enjoy refreshments, door prizes, and a tour of the new facility. Please bring food donation to place on new shelves.

Woodsboro American Legion Spring Bazaar

The Woodsboro American Legion is holding a Spring Bazaar on Sunday, March 29, 2015, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Bazaar will feature over fifty crafters and vendors, food, baked goods, and more! Event benefits the Woodsboro American Legion 282 Auxiliary Community Service Program. The Woodsboro American Legion is located at 101 W. Elizabeth Street in Woodsboro, Maryland.

FRCC 2015 Bass Fishing Series

Fort Ritchie Community Center (FRCC) is holding a 2015 Bass Fishing Series, sponsored by Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, on March 28, April 11, and May 24, with the championship on June 20 (event winners qualify for championship; must be 18 years of age or older). The cost per event is $15.00 for youth, and $35.00 for adults. Register for all three events by March 6.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield will host the following events in March 2015: March 1—Cash Bingo at 1:00 p.m.; March 6, 13, 20—Bar Bingo at 7:00 p.m.; March 7 and 21—Wagner Shoot; March 14 and 28—Meat Shoot; March 21—Steak & Shrimp Feed, 4:00-7:00 p.m.; March 27—Meat Raffle and Buffet; March 28—Hunter Safety Course.

Celtic Concert: The ShamRogues

The Emmitsburg and Thurmont Libraries present Celtic Conert: The ShamRogues on Thursday, March 19, 2015, at 7:00 p.m., in the Marion Burk Knott Auditorium at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. Tickets are required. You can pick up your free tickets (limit four/person while supplies last) at Emmitsburg or Thurmont Libraries, beginning on March 2 at 10:00 a.m.

Vigilant Hose Company’s Annual Spring Fling

The Vigilant Hose Company will host their annual Spring Fling event on May 16, 2015, on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s University. It’s time to get your ticket. Contact Chris Stahley at 301-447-3081, John Glass at 301-447-3648, Gabe Baker at 301-447-2212, or Bill Boyd at 717-6423-9717 for more information or to arrange your purchase.

The Palms Restaurant Adds New Hours

Deb Spalding

Terry (Orndorff) Ryder and Doug Long, proprietors of The Palms Restaurant, located at 16-20 West Main Street in Emmitsburg, will now open the restaurant on Tuesdays, from 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.

Customer hours the rest of the week remain the same: Wednesdays through Saturdays, 7:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m.; Sundays 7:30-11:30 a.m., with only breakfast served; Closed on Mondays.

Terry has a long history at the restaurant. She was hired in 1981 by Adam Mott, and worked there full-time for seven years. She left for a job at the Provincial House.

“In 1999, Frank Davis talked me into coming back full-time,” said Terry. His mother, Dot Davis, needed the help, so she worked with Frank and his wife, Julie, to run the establishment. In August of 2001, Terry and Doug purchased the business.

The restaurant stands on a solid reputation for good food. “Everything is homemade,” said Terry.

Customer favorites include soups, crab cakes, the crab & cheddar melt, the real hot turkey sandwich with fries, and the desserts. Despite the chilly weather, the soft ice cream machine is up and running for hot fudge brownie sundaes and pie a-la-mode. Breakfast is also popular at The Palms Restaurant.

“On Sundays, if you get in before the door locks, you will get your breakfast,” said Terry.

The bar at The Palms is also open. Stop by for the popular Orange Crush that also comes in Ruby Red Grapefruit, Orange Cranberry, and Watermelon flavors. When the restaurant is open, The Palms’ bar is also open. Stop in until 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays; 11:00 p.m. on Thursdays; and 12:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Specials this month include Roast Turkey on Thursdays and Pan Fried Chicken on Wednesdays.

Call 301-447-3689 for carryout.


Pictured are Terry Ryder and Doug Long, owners of The Palms Restaurant in Emmitsburg.

Photo by Deb Spalding

Main Street Groomers Open Shop in Emmitsburg

Deb Spalding

Judy Cochran opened the first Main Street Groomers shop with her twin sister, Cindy Grimes, in Thurmont a few years ago.

Since that first opening, Cindy has shifted her attention to her real estate business, while Judy has opened additional shops on several Main Streets: Taneytown, Walkersville, Middletown, and, most recently, Emmitsburg.

Greta Gray is the full-time groomer at the Emmitsburg location. She’s been grooming for over a year, having completed her training at the Thurmont shop.

Main Street Groomers is a full-service groomer for dogs and cats. They will give your pet a bath, a shave, a haircut, a clipping, a nail trim, clean their ears, brush their teeth, and so on.

“Most people will choose their groomer by location. We have a great reputation for being a full-service, friendly groomer. We take very good care of our dogs and cats,” said Gray.

Shop owner Judy Cochran said, “It’s important to me to ensure that our customers receive the best of care. Our pets are members of our families, and we treat them as part of our family while they visit.”

Customer, Eric Lewis of Emmitsburg, took his boxer named Koolie to the Emmitsburg Main Street Groomers, because he received their colorful flier in the mail. “I chose this groomer because of location. Greta is doing a great job,” said Lewis.

Emmitsburg’s Main Street Groomers is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. until the last appointment. Appointments are requested for all services, except nail clipping. Walk-ins are accepted for nail clippings for $10.00 (mornings are recommended).

Please ask about their Bath Therapy program for dogs with allergies or skin issues!

Pets of all sizes, colors, breeds, and temperaments are welcome to the shop. All pets will be pampered equally. Services start at $25.00, but specific prices will be determined when the scope of services is defined.

Stop by 321 West Main Street, Suite 1, in Emmitsburg, or call 301-447-3100 for more information. Find Main Street Groomers on Facebook and online at www.MainStreetGroomers.net.


Greta Gray at Emmitsburg Main Street Groomers with Shay Gray and Koolie Lewis.

Photo by Deb Spalding 

Seton Village Now Fully Leased

James Rada, Jr.

It didn’t take long for the new Seton Village Apartments in Emmitsburg to fill up. The apartments were open for occupancy in November 2014 and the last of the forty-three units was occupied in early February 2015.

“The people who are moving in love the property, and they love the community,” said Karen Williams, the community manager for Humphrey Management, who handles the leasing of the apartments.

Homes for America, a non-profit housing development corporation, redeveloped one wing of the Daughters of Charity Provincial House and converted the A wing into forty-three senior apartments. The apartment sizes range from 600 square feet to 900 square feet. They include a mix of one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and handicap-accessible designs.

Homes for America is based in Annapolis, Maryland. It specializes in creating affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households, in particular those that include seniors or people with special needs. Since 1994, Homes for America has created 67 housing communities that contain 5,258 rental units in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware.

Williams said that the apartments and its residents have integrated well with the other non-profit and business operations in the building. The apartments share their building with the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Daughters of Charity Archives, and St. Joseph’s Ministries.

While some of the residents in Seton Village already lived locally and simply relocated, other residents moved into the community from out of state.

“We have residents from Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas,” Williams said. “With the family from Texas, their family lived locally and was able to relocate them here when they heard about the apartments.”

Seton Village, which began two years ago, received a federal loan to help purchase the property. As long as the community continues to meet certain conditions, the loan will not have to be repaid.

Getz Computers and Communications Opens in Emmitsburg

Deb Spalding

Getz Computers and Communications is now open to service all of your IT needs at 402 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. Proprietor, Brian Getz, of Emmitsburg, has eighteen years of experience in basic networking and cabling, personal computer repair, laser printer repair, laptop repair, virus removal, spyware removal, operating system upgrades, and just about anything to do with a personal computer.

Before opening the store, Brian worked out of his house. He had two reasons for moving into a retail space: (1) Internet service—he did not have good service in his home; (2) Retail inventory—he’d like to sell retail computer items such as mice, keyboards, HP computers, print cartridges, and the like.

Call Brian Getz at the new Getz Computers and Communications shop for all of your IT needs at 301-447-4292. Brian can also help to dispose of old equipment, but he cautions customers that there may be a cost involved, especially when the customer would like the data on the hard drives to be erased or shredded before a computer is junked.

Brian can also coach computer “dummies” with the basic use and function of their computers. He will go to your location or you can stop by the shop.

There is convenient free parking on both sides of the street outside of his shop.


Pictured are Brian Getz and his son, Zachary.

Photo by Deb Spalding

DSC_0208The Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet in their banquet hall on February 7, 2015.

President Donald Stull, Sr. presented the welcome, Renae Coolidge gave the invocation, and Chief Vicky Martin gave chief’s comments. Donald Stull awarded Life Membership to Joe Linton. About Joe, he said, “His pay’s about like mine… a big ‘Thank you,’ but we have a lot of fun!”

This past year, new floors and gear lockers were installed in the department’s engine bay. Drills were conducted for water rescue and vehicle entrapment extrication. The company handled 653 calls, more than the previous year.

Eric Smothers of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association swore in the officers. He said, “Traveling the county, I know it takes a lot of folks to make a department run. It takes a constant effort to get volunteers across the county and nationally. Thank you all very much for volunteering.”

Administrative officers included: President, Donald Stull, Sr.; Vice President, Chuck Jenkins; Secretary, Karen Stull; Assistant Secretary, Shari Jenkins; Treasurer, Lena Stull; Assistant Treasurer, Delbert Stull; and Board of Directors, Jacob Howell, Donald Martin, Kenny Miller, Scott Stonesifer, Steve Stull, and Wayne Stull.

Line Officers included: Chief, Vicky Martin; Deputy Chief, Wayne Wachter, Jr.; Assistant Chief, Doug Wallick, Jr.; Assistant Chief, Mike Fogle; and Captain, Scott Stonesifer. Scott Martin was assigned as Chair of the Training Committee.

A seven minute video was presented showing a review of the year in pictures. Renae Coolidge held a memorial service for Rosalie Keyser Garver who passed September 12, 2014.

ToDSC_0204p Fire Responders were:  Mike Stull (46), Lisa Monday (56, 70 EMT), Jake Howell (67), Donald Stull (83), Steve Stull(83, 46 EMT), Frani Wachter (83, 41 EMT), Mike Fogle (91, 41 EMT), Donald Martin (126), Wayne Wachter, Jr. (130, 122 EMT), Wayne Stull (133, 123 EMR), Beth Wachter (136. 122 EMT), and Top Responder Vicky Martin (175, 111 EMT). Also recognized for EMR responses were Brianna Wachter (81) and Stephanie Wachter (93).

Members of the Fire Police were recognized: Steve Stull, Thomas ‘Doc’ Wachter, Ronnie Myers, Diana Bryant, Mike Toms, and Bobby Black. Also recognized were new Fire Police Donald ‘Bud’ Howerton, Kenny Miller and Fred Baudrau.

Allison Rostad

DSC_0170-1The Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company held its 26th Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 31, 2015, at their station. The event included a social hour with music by Mike Mahoney of Dr. Mudcat’s Medicine Show D.J., followed by a dinner buffet provided by Sunnyway Catering Services. Father John Holliday of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church led the invocation.

The awards ceremony opened with Eric Stackhouse, assistant chief operational officer and vice president administrative officer, emceeing the program. Stackhouse first introduced guest speaker Clarence “Chip” Jewell, Director/Volunteer Chief with the Division of Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS), who gave a presentation on the necessity of having volunteers remain within the field. Following Jewell’s presentation, Company President Mary Lou Little, gave her remarks on the past year’s trials and tribulations.

“Members have learned to work very well with each other,” Little explained about the company and their overall reaction to being placed on second due status this past year. “Our supporters never gave up on us,” she continued, “they stuck by us as always.” The banquet’s underlying message was unity and perseverance.

DSC_01811“Another big challenge we faced was having our county funding withheld, because we’re not running first due calls due to the career staff being removed and housed at the fire company,” said Little. “We now had to pay 100 percent of all operating costs…we live every day, every week, every month by our original income budget. We raise every dime to continue to save the county millions of dollars.”

Although the company was hit with a tough year, they managed to raise over $5,000 to donate to scholarships to help students at Catoctin High School and Mother Seton School, as well as other non–profit organizations within the community. 

Little stated, “It is very important to us to be able to ‘give back’ to our community.” To close her remarks, she asked that each member of the ambulance crew stand so she could recognize them with the 2014 President Award, as it was a “no brainer” for her to choose the entire company for their efforts in keeping the company up and running.

 Chief Rose Latini then took the stage to present her remarks on the past year as well, calling the station “The little engine that could.” 

Although the company was on second due status for the majority of the year, they still managed to gain twelve new operational members, and are still recruiting.

“The past year has been a very rewarding road,” Latini explained, referencing Little’s statement about losing the career staff. “It allowed us time to take a look into the house and work with DFRS to get things where they are today. We’ve bonded as an operational team. I realized during that time the passion that our operational members had,” added Latini.

She applauded the members and presented the 2014 Chief’s Award to all members of the company saying, “There’s not one person in this company that did not rise to the occasion.”

Stackhouse returned to the stage and began calling the names of every member, as they all were to receive a reward from both the chief and president for their outstanding achievement throughout the year.

DSC_0175-1Little then presented Life Membership awards to members who had earned their gold cards: Eric Stackhouse, Beth Ruppel, and John Ruppel. The Training Award was presented to Smiley and Judy White, who came down to the station to help train EVAC members so they could qualify for their certifications.

Dan and Anne Reaver were presented a special award by Little, where she mentioned that the Company, “wouldn’t know where they’d be without them.”

Stackhouse recognized the Top 10 LOSAP: Pam Bolin (267); Vicki Long (285); Ed Little (349); Diane Kelly (380); John Ruppel (398); Kim Bolin (427); Beth Ruppel (513); Mary Lou Little (572); Dallas Bucheit (582); and Jim Wormley (596).

Top 10 Responders were:  (1) Rose Latini; (2) Jennifer Frushour; (3) Eric Stackhouse; (4) Colt Black; (5) John Ruppel; (6) Beth Ruppel; (7) C.N. Burriss; (8) Dallas Bucheit; (9) Brandon Burriss; (10) Lisa Eichelberger.

Lastly, Stackhouse recognized the members of Thurmont Ambulance Company 30 with a bronze plaque of their new social hall being built as a thank you for all their assistance throughout 2014.

As part of closing the ceremony, Stackhouse had a few presentations he wanted to give away himself. He invited both Little and Latini back up to the stage, where he presented each with an award. For Little, the Board of Directors decided to pay for the first month of internet service to be set up at her house, as she’s only been able to send and receive emails while at the station. She was also rewarded with a gavel from Stackhouse to have and use at meetings. For Latini, she was awarded a Company 26 winter jacket, as it seems she’s always cold. A round of applause was given for both for their hard work and dedication.

DSC_0178-1Judith White, Secretary of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, installed officers. Operational Officers: Chief—Rose Latini; Assistant Chief—Eric Stackhouse; Lieutenants—Sara Johnston, Rose Mercandetti, and Rachel Rosebrock; Sergeants—Beth Ruppel and John Ruppel; and Honorary Lieutenant—Ed Little. Administrative Officers: President—Mary Lou Little; Vice President—Eric Stackhouse; Secretary—Vicki Long; Assistant Secretary—Kim Bolin; Treasurer—Pam Bolin; and Assistant Treasurer—Beth Ruppel. Board of Directors: Bob Dinterman—Donna Miller, Diane Kelly, and Ed Little.

During the Open House and Dedication Ceremony for the Town of Thurmont’s new Municipal Building, held January 31, 2015, Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird was obviously very proud. His message was one of great appreciation for all the parties involved in bringing the project to fruition.

Town Commissioner Wayne Hooper had broached the idea of purchasing the former Daily Funeral Home property, located at 615 East Main Street, and renovating it for use as a new town municipal building. At the time, Town Commissioner Marty Burns was mayor and helped to jumpstart the project. Mayor Kinnaird took office as the bidding process for construction was about to begin.  Mayor Kinnaird stayed very involved in the project as it progressed.

Mayor Kinnaird asked former Mayor, now Commissioner, Burns to cut the ribbon. Burns was sure to point out that no one person gets all of the credit for the project. It was truly a combined effort by many, including Bill Blakeslee for applying for the money and grants to purchase the building and completing many of the renovations.

After the ribbon was cut, Mayor Kinnaird welcomed special guests, starting with Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. Gardner offered congratulations for a beautiful renovation that will serve the community for many years.

Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter said, “It’s a good day for Thurmont. Congratulations!”

Kinnaird recognized Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler; Thurmont Police Lt. Alan Droneburg; Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins; Lonestar Builders; Green Brothers Construction; Cornerstone Heating and Air Conditioning; Tier One Technology Partners; Quick Connect Communications; former Mayor Eileen Waesche; Lisa Nolan Humerick; Lowman Keeney with the Thurmont Ambulance Company; former Thurmont Superintendent of Public Works, Joe Fraley; Donna Voellinger, President of the Thurmont Historical Society; Carol Robertson, President of Catoctin Colorfest; Butch West and the Thurmont Public Works Department; Jim Brown, Project Manager; and other Town staff, including Harold Lawson, Randy Eyler, Tim Eyler, Brad Weddle, Dave Stevens, Gary Hodges, Lee Hanvey, and Russell Sanders. Town of Thurmont office staff members were also introduced, including Becky Long, Senior Administrative Assistant; Tracy Schur, Chief Financial Officer; Wanda Stottlemyer; Melody Dix; Lori Kaas; Debbie Ecker; and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick.

Mayor Kinnaird gave praise to all parties involved and also recognized Jim Castle with the Department of Housing and Community Development, stating that, “We wouldn’t have gotten the grant money to purchase the building and complete the project without his help.”

A historian at heart, Mayor Kinnaird noted the history of Thurmont Town Offices. They were first housed in the basement of the Thurmont Bank Building on the square, and then moved in 1956 or 1957 to the Frederick Street location. Moving now to a property that was once owned by one of Thurmont’s former mayors seems fitting.


Pictured from left are Town Commissioners Bill Buehrer, Wayne Hooper, Marty Burns, Wes Hamrick, and Mayor John Kinnaird during the Dedication Ceremony for the Town of Thurmont’s new Municipal Building on January 31, 2015.

Photo by Allison Rostad

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show committee met recently to begin planning the 59th annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. The show will be held at Catoctin High School on September 11-13, 2015. Officers elected at the meeting were: President—Rodman Myers; Vice President—Robert Valentine; Secretary—Brian Hendrickson. Other committee members are Sue Keilholtz, Jessica Valentine, Robert Wiles, David Harman, Cheryl Lenhart, Ray Martin, Humberto Benitez, Michael Lewis, Sharon Lewis, Denise Valentine, Amanda and Paul Dennis, Clifford Stewart, Helen Troxell, Cathy Little, Karen Myers, Sue Sanders, Patty Johnston, Laura Keilholtz, Jim Barth, Kay Barth, Hannah Barth, Thad Bittner, Amy Jo Poffenberger, and Daniel Myers.

On Friday night, the 2015-2016 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. The baked goods auction will begin following the program, and the grand champion cake, pie, and bread will be sold at 9:00 p.m. 

Entry of exhibits will take place on Thursday evening, September 10, 2015, from 6:00-9:00 p.m., and on Friday, September 11, from 8:30-11:30 a.m., in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area. Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 11, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m. 

On Saturday, September 12, 2015, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 10:00 p.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Showing contest from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Ag Center at the school. The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m. outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, and pony rides will also be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The Thurmont Grange will serve their Turkey and Country Ham dinner in the school cafeteria from 3:00-7:00 p.m. on Saturday night. The Catoctin Mountain Boys will perform in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m. There will be no admission charged for this entertainment.

The 41st annual Catoctin FFA Alumni Beef, Sheep & Swine sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night. 

Activities begin on Sunday, September 13, at 9:00 a.m., with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show and Decorated Animal Contest. The decorated animal contest will begin at noon.

At 12:00 p.m., the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. The 36th annual Robert Kaas horseshoe pitching contest will begin at 1:00 p.m.

The Log Sawing Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. under the show tent in the Ag Center area. A peddle tractor contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., also in the Ag Center area. The Catoctin Mountain Boys will perform from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in the auditorium. 

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 13, 2015, from 3:00-6:00 p.m.  Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

If you would like to be a new advertiser in their show booklet, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 to obtain advertising information or via email at thurmontemmitsburg communityshow@gmail.com. Past advertisers will be receiving letters for advertisements in the near future. The deadline for advertisements is May 15, 2015. The community show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses in late July or early August. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland. Some minor additions and deletions will be made in some of the departments. Departments include:  Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department. There is no entry fee. Please visit their website for updated information at www.thurmontemmitsburg communityshow.webs.com. 

The Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.

They have a way with words. They are the Scribbler’s Club at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg.This group of third through fifth graders meets on Tuesdays to learn more about writing better and to share their stories.

Whether it is a story about sibling rivalry or a poem about Harry Potter, these young writers are anxious to try new ways to express themselves through the written word.

“This is creative outlet for these kids,” says Club Advisor Lynn Tayler. “A lot of kids love to write, and they get to do that here.”

She said that her goal is to have the young writers contribute at least one story to an end-of-the-year journal that will show off the best that the Scribbler’s Club has to offer.

The club meets on Tuesdays after school in the library. They come in with journals filled with stories, poems, and ideas that they have been working on throughout the week.

“I like writing because it allows you to express your feelings,” said Ella Lowry, a third grader.

The club is currently made up of approximately a dozen students. About two thirds of them are girls, but the different writing interests are evenly spread among the group members.

Fourth-grader Beckett Taylor likes writing action and adventure stories. “I like being able to write whatever stories I want and not just what I have to for school,” he said.

Club Advisor Lynn Tayler and her co-advisor, Dianne Hoffman, introduce the students to new types of writing and have them experiment with them. It might be through writing prompts or worksheets with examples of different types of writing.

For Valentine’s Day, the group experimented writing different types of poetry.

“It exercises my head,” said Gray Grube, a third grader. “I like it.”

The goal of the club is to encourage these young writers to not only engage their imaginations but to be able to express those ideas.

Fifth-grader Mia Furraro says that she has always loved to write. “I love to express how I feel through words and with my imagination, and I want to get better at it,” she said.

Third through fifth grade students in the Scribbler’s Club at Mother Seton School meet every Tuesday to share their stories and to express their ideas and creativity through writing.


Photo by James Rada, Jr.

Mother Seton School Alumni Present Gift for Scholarship Fund

The Jack and Shirley Little Scholarship Fund at Mother Seton School (MSS) will help a few more families this year, thanks to the efforts of the Little Family. On December 15, 2014, Tony Little, Mary-Lou Little, and Jane Moore, presented MSS Principal Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. with a check for $10,000 (the proceeds from the annual Angels Above Alumni Golf Tournament). The 2014 event was held on October 3 at the Mountain View Golf Club in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

The tournament began as a promise made to their dying father that the Little siblings would do something to repay the generosity shown their parents when they sent their six children to MSS in the 1970s and 1980s. Tony, a graduate of MSS in 1978, followed through with that commitment and, with his siblings—Tim, Mary Lou, Pam, Scott, and Ed—launched the golf tournament as a means to raise money for the Jack and Shirley Little Scholarship Fund at Mother Seton School.

To date, the tournament has raised over $60,000 for the fund and helped numerous families afford the cost of tuition to MSS.

“We want to continue to help Mother Seton School grow and thrive, and not have money be an issue (for families who wish to enroll their children),” Tony Little said.

“We are grateful to the Little Family for their generosity and continued commitment to Catholic education,” said Monahan. “Mother Seton School helps students to integrate their faith into every aspect of life. Our students excel academically and have the opportunity to experience a diverse selection of extracurricular activities. Thanks to the support of the Little Family, we can meet the growing demand for financial assistance so that families can choose and remain in a Catholic School.”

Tony Little remains humble about his and his siblings contributions. “None of us do this for recognition, only to keep mom and dad’s dream alive. For that reason, we will continue our efforts to contribute to the scholarship fund.”

The next Angels Above Alumni Golf Tournament will be held on October 2, 2015.

The Little Family donated $10,000 towards the Mother Seton School scholarship, named for their parents, Jack and Shirley Little. The donation came from proceeds from the annual Angels Above Golf Tournament that the family hosts. Pictured from left are Sr. Brenda Monahan, D.C. (Principal), Mary-Lou Little, Tony Little, and Jane Moore.

Car Cruise Fundraiser in Memory of Jacob Loudon

Catoctin High School students, Mikey Clise and Rob Reaver, will hold a Fundraising Car Cruise in memory of senior, Jacob Loudon, who recently passed. Cruisers should meet at Catoctin High School at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The cruise will begin at noon, and travel towards Frederick.

Memorial decals will be sold for $7.00 each, and there will be a donation box. Proceeds go to the Loudon Family. Please call Rob Reaver at 717-398-6276 with any questions or text 240-397-3806.

Who Will Be 2015 Teacher of the Year?

Do you know a teacher who goes beyond what is expected? Is there a teacher who has made an impact on your life or your child’s life? It’s time to recognize these special teachers by nominating them for the Thurmont Lions Club Teacher of the Year Award. Anyone, including parents, students, and fellow teachers may nominate a teacher.

This award is open to full-time teachers, pre-K through grade 12, in the Catoctin feeder school system: Catoctin High, Thurmont Middle, Thurmont Primary and Elementary, Sabillasville Elementary, Lewistown Elementary, Emmitsburg Elementary, and Mother Seton School.

One finalist from each of the eight schools will be announced during a reception in April. The Teacher of the Year will be selected from these finalists by a committee of community leaders, and will be announced at the Thurmont Lions Club’s Education Night on May 13, 2015. Nomination forms are available at www.thurmontlionsclub.com and at the Thurmont Regional Library.  Nominations are due by Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at 5:00 p.m.

Catoctin-Ettes Host Twirling Extravaganza

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc., recently hosted their annual year-end twirling extravaganza. Members of the organization performed dance-twirl style routines on stage for an audience of family and friends.

Highlights of the show included an awe-inspiring competitive pom pom number by the group’s Jr. Pom Team, who captured the 2014 Regional and State Pom Team Championship titles. Members of this group include Abby Adams, Rachel Bechler, Alexis Bond, Kiara George, Shyanne George, Caitlyn Purdum, and Paula Jean Sharrer. The group was coached by Angela Ridenour.

Tiny Tots, Adelaide Flanary, Hannah Gonzales-Diaz, Emily and Lauren Holtzople, and Bethany Study performed a specialty group number to the fun song, “Simon Says.”

In an exciting number combining many different levels of baton twirling with a ribbon stick performance, the group’s juveniles and complimentary units brought enthusiasm to the evenings’ activities. The girls in this number were Abby Adams, Rachel Bechler, Alexis Bond, Gracie Flanary, Kiara and Shyanne George, Tamour-Lin Nanan, Erika Oland, Greta Smith, and Amanda Study. Their musical selection was “Shake It Off.”

The organization’s most advanced twirlers exhibited a stunning performance with their routine to the music, “Rock and Roll All Night.” Members of this group were Caitlyn Purdum, Kelly Reed, Angela Ridenour, Amber Rothhaupt, and Paula Jean Sharrer.

In addition to the group performances, several of the organization’s twirlers performed amazing feats of baton twirling and juggling in individual and duet show-twirling numbers.

Following the entertainment portion of the show, the marching corps also presented awards for exceptional performance and attendance throughout the 2014 year.

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc. is hosting its annual free baton-twirling course for beginner twirlers, ages five and up. The course began on February 17, and will be held on four consecutive Tuesday evenings at the Emmitsburg Elementary School. Classes run for 45 minutes in length; class time will vary according to age.

The course is absolutely free, with batons on loan for class time at no charge. During this course, basic twirling skills and marching are presented by experienced staff coaches of the marching organization. This introductory course is an excellent way to determine a child’s interest in twirling with no financial outlay whatsoever.

For more information or registration, please contact the group’s director, Donna Landsperger, at 301-271-4326 or email DONITO@aol.com.

CHS Softball to Hold Crab Cake Dinner

The Catoctin High School (CHS) Softball Team will hold a Crab Cake Dinner Fundraiser on Friday, March 13, 2015, at the fire hall in Emmitsburg (25 West Main Street), from 4:00-7:00 p.m. Dinner includes two crab cakes (a Vigilant Hose Company specialty), baked potato, green beans, roll, drink, and your choice of a dessert. The cost is $15.00 per dinner (eat in or carryout).

Purchase tickets from any softball player or call Coach Jess at 301-788-0976 or email at jessica.valentine@fcps.org to hold your tickets at the door.

All remaining tickets will be sold at the door until dinners are sold out.

by Chris O’Connor

A Sketch of An Artist

Artists are visual historians with the ability to record, enhance, or influence the human condition with a variety of media—paints, charcoal, pencil, pen, ink—on a variety of surfaces, from cave walls to homes to houses of worship to the polished corridors of galleries all over the globe. Steve Burdette is one of those artists.

The artist who greeted me from his front porch the day of my visit was an affable guy, making me laugh within moments of meeting, and quite often throughout our meeting, as he recounted many anecdotes. He was introspective, too; at junctures in our conversation, he yielded to a more serious tone while commiserating about current events.

As I was going through his prints, he took time to explain the painting techniques he had used in one piece or another. He even waxed poetic about his granddaughter’s use of color when they spend time together painting in his workspace. 

Originally hailing from the rolling farm country of Damascus, Maryland, Steve Burdette spent his formative years instilled with a sense of wonder and appreciation of nature—the outdoors and architecture reflected in his art.

Steve and his wife Kathy have three adult children, two grandchildren, and a grandchild on the way. He and Kathy reside in Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania. Steve remains a working artist, with an extensive and varied portfolio of oils and watercolors and other media. Many works in progress rest around his home studio.  

A painting I’m looking forward to seeing upon its completion is of Steve’s mom in her garden. He credits her for recognizing his artistic nature when he was just a child, and saving money earned from babysitting to pay Charles Jones, a Damascus, Maryland, art instructor, under whom Steve studied for fourteen years.

The body of Steve’s work has something for everyone. There are landscapes and architecture, including a multitude of barns and rural outbuildings. There are tractors, and my personal favorites: the florals and the paper birch trees and creeks in all seasons.

Some of Steve’s most evocative works are renderings of his vision of the Battle of Monterey Pass in Blue Ridge Summit. It occurred as the Confederate soldiers were in retreat, following the Battle of Gettysburg.

I first saw prints of Steve’s works, including the Battle of Monterey Pass, at the Martin House Bed and Breakfast, although he has had exhibits at venues such as the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, Maryland. Lynn and Duke Martin, owners of Martin House Bed and Breakfast, proudly display and market prints of Steve’s art at their Bed and Breakfast. After seeing Steve’s art, I was truly looking forward to meeting the artist who exhibited such a wide range of skill, style, and creativity.

For the Battle of Monterey Pass, Steve spent hours on the old Maria Furnace Road that runs into the forest behind the new museum at Monterey Pass Battlefield Park. He imagined the wagon train of defeated Confederates, many already mortally wounded during battle at Gettysburg, sustaining an attack by Union soldiers. He envisioned the darkness, lightening, thunder, and blinding rain. In his mind’s eye, Steve saw that horrible night and painted what he imagined.

Generally, the artistic process for Steve may be the stereotypical one of an artist setting up outdoors and, weather permitting, sketching or painting away. But Steve often asks his wife Kathy, a talented photographer in her own right, to snap scenes or subjects he wants to paint that she later downloads onto the computer.  He then sketches the image from the screen and later paints from his sketch.

Steve has enjoyed the support and encouragement of his wife, Kathy, and their three adult children.                                                                                                                                      

At one time, they also had a gallery at Tracey’s Corner in Blue Ridge Summit that they decided to close during the nation’s economic downturn. It may have been a blessing in disguise, actually benefiting Steve’s creativity and, ultimately, all who love and appreciate his art. He believes an artist may overlook a beautiful subject because it may not “sell,” and considers that the demise of art. As the gallery doors drifted to a close, Steve felt his joy of creativity revived and renewed. He felt free to paint subjects that made him happy, rather than subjects he felt compelled to paint to fulfill market demands.

This artist wears yet another other hat, or two.

Steve grew up a firearms enthusiast with his brother, but he put up his guns to gather cobwebs after his brother passed away. But one day Steve decided to remember the years of gun training he had enjoyed with his brother, and chose to carry on their shared legacy and bond, forged in guns and marksmanship.  Steve and Kathy joined a gun club, where they can utilize the shooting range; Steve often forays into the deep woods to shoot targets, while stealthily trekking through the timber.

He tells of being “unfriended” on social media by some that are averse to his gun totin’ ways. But what an image: a guy in full camo, armed with a  30.06 rifle, juxtaposed to the same man who can paint a soft pink apple blossom in watercolors, or capture the facets of sparkling freshly fallen snow on the forest floor.

Last but not least, the artist and marksman is also a man of deep faith. Steve Burdette is a pastor of a non-denominational church, conducting Sunday service at his and Kathy’s home. He also frequently visits other churches to share his ministry.

He is the proverbial “man for all seasons,” a man of faith who treasures his wife and family, and the great outdoors that has inspired his art.

Steve’s art will be showcased at the Mountaintop Community Spring Fair on Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Blue Ridge Summit Fire Hall in Blue Ridge Summit, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.


Pictured is artist Steve Burdette.

by Valerie Nusbaum

Scenes From A Marriage

I’ve known and observed a lot of couples who have been married for a long time, and it appears to me that the longer a couple is together, the more they begin to think and act alike.  That’s certainly true for Randy and me.  It’s surprising how often we look at each other and utter the same thought.  Sometimes we don’t speak at all.  We can tell by a look or a raised eyebrow what the other is thinking.  I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  Maybe it’s just what happens when two people live together for years.

Some couples complement each other like Yin and Yang.  We knew we were perfect for each other the first time we ate broccoli together.  I only eat the florets and Randy only eats the stalks. There’s no waste at our house! Thankfully, I haven’t adopted my hubby’s other odd eating habits. Did I ever mention that he puts gravy on macaroni and cheese?  Or spaghetti sauce on Brussels sprouts?

Marriage changes people both physically and mentally.  We’ve each changed a lot from our single days. Before we got married, Randy had horrible sinus and allergy problems. I, on the other hand, had nary a sniffle. I used to be smart. I’m talking high school valedictorian and 4.0 GPA in college smart.  Now, he’s the one making all A’s in graduate school, and I’m the one with the runny nose.

Married couples do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do in order to find common ground.

I’ve been to three NASCAR races.  I bought the tickets and took Randy to see The Who because they’re his favorite band.  I’ve cooked for hundreds of picnics and dinners, gone to football and baseball games, and clocked a million miles on road trips. Not to mention all the movies and television shows I’ve watched with Randy because he enjoys them. Truthfully, I’ve enjoyed most of it right along with him. I like seeing him have a good time.

Randy has taken me to a lot of concerts, too.  I had great times, but he seemed to enjoy them more. He made a friend named Sarge at the Barry Manilow concert and danced with him.  He disappeared during the Cher concert, and I saw him on the Jumbotron dancing with the lady who ushered us to our seats. I was eating a giant boat of nachos so I didn’t care.  Randy did “The Locomotion” with Little Eva, and sang and danced to “YMCA” with the original Village People.  He was moving and grooving along with The Temptations, too, but one of them stopped singing long enough to tell Randy to sit down because he was throwing off their rhythm.

Also under the heading of “Things We Do for Love,” Randy met Richard Simmons. My friend, Roxann Welch, and I were keeping in shape by working out to Richard’s exercise videos (this was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, ok?), and when we found out that Mr. Simmons was doing a personal appearance at a local mall, we decided to go.  Randy went along with us.  Richard really seemed to like Randy. I have pictures.

Randy has taken me to see the circus more times than I can count, and he always holds my hand when the clowns come out. I love the aerial acts, but I’m terrified of clowns.

Married people learn to pick their battles. Some things aren’t worth fighting about. I remember a yard sale we held a while back. Randy made some signs advertising it, but he didn’t put our address on them—just arrows pointing in different directions. No one came. I made him go back downtown and put our address on the signs. He did, and a car pulled up right away. He said “Don’t even say it.”  I held my tongue, but I gave him the look and lifted my eyebrow.

Even after a lot of years of marriage, spouses can still surprise each other. I was doing the laundry in the basement.  I complained to myself—as I do often about so many things—that there just wasn’t enough light for me to see what I was doing. Randy was at his workbench fiddling with something, and I assumed he wasn’t paying attention to me. A couple of days later, I went to the laundry room to do another load, and there, hanging above the washing machine, was a big fluorescent light fixture with a red bow attached to it. Now, a lot of wives might have gotten upset over that, but not me. I was tickled that Randy had not only heard me, but he’d actually listened. And after only eighteen years, I finally had enough light to do the laundry, which, by the way, Randy still claims he can’t sort properly.

Husbands and wives support each other through difficult situations. I don’t know what I would do without Randy. He’s been in many a waiting room while I’ve undergone medical tests and waited for results. Years ago, I had to have an MRI of my brain, and the neurologist put me through a battery of tests. I was scared, and we were both relieved to hear that my tests were normal. The doctor, however, did diagnose Randy with a brain disorder, simply from symptoms I was explaining. Someday, I’ll tell Randy that we were just messing with him. Hey, married couples get their kicks where they can.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you! 

F_X_Eby Jim Houck, Jr.

Note: This is the story titled “History of the Francis X. Elder Post, No. 121 American Legion From its Beginning,” as written by “Abigail,” a writer for the Emmitsburg Chronicle. The article was published in the Emmitsburg Chronicle in 1940.

Original Post Founded In 1920. Present One Originated in 1936. Lester J. Damuth and Charles J. Rowe Instumental In Its Formation.

By Abigail

An American Legion Post was organized here in 1920 for the first time and was named Francis X. Elder Post No. 75. The original Post was the nucleus of American Legion activities in the community and undoubtedly served as an incentive to augment the membership and the splendid spirit that is a part of the present Post.

It was not until March 12, 1936 that the present Francis X. Elder Post, No. 121, Department of Maryland, was organized by Mr. Lester J. Damuth and his committee. State Commander Charles S. Houck, of Walkersville, addressed the veterans and assisted in the organization of the new Post. Those veterans who were members of the organization at that time follow; John H. Rosensteel Jr., C. C. Combs, Charles J. Rowe, Louis H. Stoner, Clarence Baumgardner, Gerald N. Ryder, Lester J. Damuth, Maurice H. Moser, Clarence G. Fraley,  James M. Alvey, J. Ward Kerrigan, George Wagerman, Raymond Baumgardner, Guy C. Angell and J. Ralph Angell.

It was agreed to name the Post the Francis X. Elder Post in honor of the first Emmitsburg boy to enlist and the first to be killed in action. Francis X. Elder, son of the late Mr.  and Mrs. James B. Elder, was born in Emmitsburg on June 30, 1893. He inlisted in the service of his country on May 9, 1917. He was in France from June 15, 1918 until death. He was killed in action on October 11, 1918. Others killed in action were Captain Henry higbee Worthington and Martin Hahn. Killed by accident was first lieutenant john Reading Schley. Died of disease, Charles Francis Gelwicks, Francis Edward Rowe. Robert Bruce Reifsnider, Arthur Bentzel and Vernon Ross Ohler.

The following Officers were elected for the year of 1936-1937; Post Commander, Lester J. Damuth; Post Adjutant, Charles J. Rowe; Vice Commander, Maurice H. Moser; Finance Officer, Louis H, Stoner; Historian, C.C. Combs; Sergeant -at-Arms, George Wagerman; Chaplain (Temporary), Reverend Father Francis Dodd; Membership Chairman, Clarence G. Frailey; Grave Registration Chairman, Gerald N. Ryder; Service Officer, Charles J. Rowe; and Child Welfare Chairman, Clarence Baumgardner. The Executive Committee was composed of John H. Rosensteel Jr., Clarence Baumgardner and James M. Alvey, and was asked by the Post Commander to draw up the by-laws of the newly formed Post.

During the year, the Post took an active part in flood relief by sending food, clothing and money to the relief committee of the Francis Scott Key Post in Frederick. They were one of the first Post to receive the “Community Service Citation”.

All veteran’s graves were marked and registered this year. In November the by-laws submitted by the above named executive committee were unanimously approved. The Armistice Day Services were held on November 8 in Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rev. Francis Dodd, Post Chaplain was in charge of services.

A military funeral was conducted for John S. Hobbs, a World War veteran, at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in December of that year.

In February 1937 the Post donated $47.00 for flood relief in the Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio River section. The money was sent to the Red Cross. Again the Post received the “Community Service Citation”.

In March 1937 the local Legion Post celebrated its first anniversary in the Fireman’s Hall with a banquet and dance at which 135 Legionnaires and their guests were present. The Colors of the Legion were presented to the local Post by Bryon Hobbs, Department Commander. At the same time C.L. Shrine, Vice Commander of the Western Maryland District and Morris Frock, Post 42 of Hagerstown, presented the charter and citation. Among the notables present were; Major Elmer J. Munshower, Superintendent of Maryland State Police; Rev.John L. Sheridan, President of Mt. Saint Mary’s College; Rev. William J. Groeninger, Pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church; Rev. E.L. Higbee, Pastor of the Reformed Church of the Incarnation; Rev. Phillip Bower, Pastor of the Elias Lutheran Church; Rev. Francis Dodd, Chaplain of the local Post; Miss Louise Sebold, President of St. Joseph’s College Alumnae; and Mr. John D. Elder, brother of Francis X. Elder and Editor of this paper.

In May of 1937 the Post sponsored the Walk-a-Show, on Decoration Day the services were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church at 3 pm; Rev. Raymond E. Cook, Department Chaplain, delivered the sermon. Charles J. Rowe, Post Adjutant introduced the speakers after a brief talk and introductory remarks.

In July the following Officers were elected for the year 1938; Post Commander, Maurice Moser; Vice Commander, C.C. Combs; Adjutant, C.J. Rowe; Finance Officer, Louis H. Stoner; Sergeant-at-Arms, John Walter; Historian, William S. Sterbinsky; Chaplain, Rev. Francis J. Dodd; Raymond Baumgardner was named to the Executive Committee. A committee of two was named to investigate insurance for the colors, Charles J. Rowe and James Alvey.

In September Adjutant Charles J. Rowe announced that the Mayor and Commissioners granted the Post permission to take over the Doughboy War Memorial. The Armistice Day services were held in the Reformed Church of Incarnation and the Pastor, the Rev. E.L. Higbee, delivered a very eloquent address for the occasion. About 30 members were present.

In January 1938 the Posttook action to reduce hazards to motorists on Tollgate Hill. On January 19, the Legion turned out for the funeral of Mrs. James B. Elder, mother of Francis X. Elder, for whom the Post was named. in March of 1938 about 75 Legionnaires, Ladies of the Auxiliary and friends attended the second annual banquet of the Post held in Hotel Slage. Post Adjutant, Charles J. Rowe, presented two rifles to the Post, purchased by his mother, in memory of her son, Francis Edward Rowe, who died at a Naval Training Station during the war.

The memorial services in this year were held at the Presbyterian Church, with the Pastor, Rev. Irwin N. Morris, delivering the impressive sermon. In June the following Officers were elected for 1939; Commander, C.C. Combs; Vice Commander, Raymond Baumgardner; Adjutant, J.E. Prendergast; Chaplain, Rev. Francis Dodd; Historian, William S. Sterbinsky; Treasurer, Dr. O.H. Stinson; Finance Officer, Charles D. Gillelan. Charles J. Rowe and James Alvey were appointed as delegates to the State convention with C.C. Combs and Allen Rosensteel named as alternates.

In August the newly-elected Officers were installed by the State Commander, Bruce Blair. A bugle was accepted as a gift from Mr. Ralph S. Sperry. In September the Post was honored in having one of its members elected as one of the State’s Vice Commanders. This outstanding Legionnaire was Charles J.Rowe. The Armistice Day services were held at Elias Lutheran Church. The Pastor Rev. Phillip Bower, gave a very appropriate and impressive address. In the afternoon the Armistice Day Parade was held with the following

Posts represented; Drum Corps of the Francis Scott Key Post No. 11, Frederick, members of the same Post with the Forty and Eight; Members of the Morris Frock Post, Hagerstown; Carroll Post, No. 31, Westminster; Hesson-Snyder Post, No 131, Taneytown; Drum and Bugle Corps of Albert J. Lentz Post, No. 202, of Gettysburg; and the colored Post of Frederick of Frederick with its band. Immediately following the parade all assembled on the local Community Athletic Field where the Hon. Judge J. Fred Johnson, of Washington gave the principle address. State Commander Herbert L. Rhodes, and past State Commander Bruce Blair, both spoke briefly. There was singing by the entire assembly led by Post Historian, William S. Sterbinsky, accompanied by the Fairfield High Band.

On November 20 the Post attended the funeral of Mrs. Edward H. Rowe, the mother of the Vice Commander, Charles J. Rowe, which was held from her home.

On March 23, 1939, the Post celebrated its third anniversary in the Green Parrot Tea Room with about sixty guest present. Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Frailey was the principal speaker and District Vice Commander, Charles J. Rowe, disclosed some interesting information concerning the local Post.

Memorial services were held this year at the United Brethren Church, in Thurmont. The Rev. Ivan Naugle, a recent member, and the Pastor, was in charge of the services. At a meeting held on September 4 the following Officers were elected for the ensuing year of 1940; Commander, Raymond Baumgardner; Vice Commander, L. Mackley; Adjutant, J.E. Prendergast; Treasurer, Lesley Fox; Historian, Allen Rosensteel; Sergeant-at-Arms, Henry Warthen. The new committees were appointed by the Commander.

The Charter Members of the Post follow; James Alvey, Guy Angell, Ralph Angell, Morris Barrick, Clarence Baumgardner, Raymond Baumgardner, C.C. Combs, Lester Damuth, Francis J. Dodd, Lesley Fox, Clarence G. Frailey, William Frailey, Edgar Freeze, David Gall, Vincent Hartdagen, J. Winfield Houser, Luther Kelly, Harry Knight, Arthur Malloy, William Miller, Maurice Moser, Allen Rosensteel, John H. Rosensteel Jr., Charles J. Rowe, Gerald N. Ryder, Arthur Starner, William Sterbinsky, Dr. O.H. Stinson, Louis Stoner, Harry Valentine, Robert Valentine, George Wagerman, John Walter and Curtis Weddle.

The deceased members of the Post are John H. Rosensteel Jr. and Robert Valentine.

The present total membership is sixty-one.


I would like to share with you the last words written by Francis X. Elder in a letter to his mother from the front line in France.

                                                         Dearest Mama,

As I am about to enter the big fight for Democracy it is my desire now, whilst I have the opportunity to pencil you a few lines briefly, and bid you, Papa and all, a sincere farewell and may our dear and most precious God always protect you in this life, and knowing this, I will die cheerfully for a good cause, if it to be his holy will, otherwise it will be the happiest moment of my life when I can once more kiss those motherly lips. If the worst happens to me, take the news, courageously be brave!, as I am going to try and be. If I come through O.K. I will write at once and let you know.

Hoping for the best and trusting I will see you all on earth, or that we will meet in Heaven, I am your most affectioate and loving son.”

                                                                                                                                  Farewell,                                                                                                           Priv. Francis X. Elder


Happy Birthday, Francis X. Elder American Legion Post 121.

God Bless America, God Bless our American Veterans, and God Bless You.