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1280px-Approaching_OmahaDonald Lewis stood crammed among a group of friends and fellow soldiers, trying not to lose his balance. The landing craft they were on was pushing toward its destination on Omaha Beach at Normandy, France. A strong current threatened to pull them away from their destination.

Lewis was a long way from his hometown of Thurmont, but he, along with millions of other young men, had been drafted to serve in the armed forces during World War II. Though he had entered the army as a private, he had risen to the rank of staff sergeant.

Lewis stood at the front of the landing craft hanging onto the edge of the wall. Around him, he could hear the explosion of artillery and see the explosions on the water and beach. Things seemed a mass of confusion, but it was all part of the largest seaborne invasion ever undertaken: the coordinated D-Day attack on German forces at Normandy, France. The invasion involved 156,000 Allied troops. Amphibious landings along fifty miles of the Normandy Coast were supported by naval and air assaults.

Lewis’ job in the invasion seemed simple. He was to go ashore first and mark safe paths across the irrigation ditches that crossed the beach.

However, the landing craft couldn’t make it to the beach. It grounded on a sandbar.

Lewis and the other men were still expected to take the beach, though. The front ramp of the landing craft was lowered and Lewis ran into the water. He suddenly found himself in water over his head, weighed down by a heavy backpack.

“I just had to hold my breath and walk part of the way underwater until my head was above water,” Lewis said. Though amazingly he was not wounded during that invasion, he was later wounded in the leg during an artillery barrage. His wound was near his groin, barely missing his groin. Lewis remembers laying in a hospital in England waiting to be taken into surgery.

“A big, ol’ English nurse comes walking up and she pulls back the sheet and looks at the wound,” recalls Lewis. “Then she says to me, ‘Almost got your pride and joy, didn’t they?’”

Another time, Lewis barely escaped being killed. He and other soldiers were up in trees along a road, waiting to ambush the Germans. However, the Germans were being careful that day.

“A sniper must have spotted me up there,” Lewis said. “I knew he hit my helmet. I started down that tree as fast as I could, grabbing limbs and dropping.”

When he got to the ground, he took off his helmet and saw that there was a hole through the front of it and a matching one through the back of it. Only the fact that his helmet had been sitting high on his head saved his life.

“People wondered why I didn’t bring the helmet home as a souvenir, but I didn’t want anything to do with it,” said Lewis.

Perhaps his most-pleasant memory from the war was when he was discharged from the Army. He was in line with other soldiers being discharged after the end of the war. The soldier at the front of the line would walk up to the officer at the front of the room, receive his discharge papers, salute, and walk away.

“When I got my papers, I let out a war whoop and woke that place up,” Lewis said.

Once back in Thurmont, Lewis went to work on the family farm. He met his wife, Freda, who was a farm girl, also from Thurmont, and they married in a double ceremony with a couple they were friends with.

Donald LewisLewis also had a political career. He served two terms as Mayor of Thurmont and one term as a Frederick County Commissioner. He said a group of people tried to talk him into running for governor, but he turned them down, saying, “I’m too honest for that.”

Lewis and his wife ran a sporting goods store and greeting card store on the Thurmont square for many years. He is now ninety-six years old and still living on his own. “I want to live to be one hundred,” he said. “After that, I’ll take what I can get.”

Veterans Day is on November 11. Make sure to thank any Veterans you know for their service, and attend one of the special Veterans Day activities going on in the area.

The Germans started firing on the beach and the landing craft. Lewis focused on his job and began marking the paths where troops could cross.

“When I looked back, men were laying everywhere,” Lewis said. “Just about everyone on the boat was dead.”

After the war, when he was invited back to Normandy for the anniversary of the D-Day invasion, Lewis always turned down the invitations. Now ninety-six years old, he has never returned to Omaha Beach.

“I’ve seen all I wanted to,” he said.

James Rada, Jr.

It might be Rube’s Crab Shack now, but in the 1930s, the building that sat on that piece of property was a chicken house…literally.

“My father got a tractor and dragged a chicken house down the road to there,” says Mike Fitzgerald.

Two gas pumps were added and the site became a gas station for travelers going north to Pennsylvania and Gettysburg. Mike remembers that the station sold Atlantic gasoline and that a person could buy five gallons for just 90 cents. That same amount costs about $16.00 nowadays.

“When Prohibition ended in 1932, my dad replaced the chicken house with an inexpensive six-sided building,” says Fitzgerald.

The business also started offering food that Naomi Fitzgerald, Mike’s mom, prepared. Advertisements proclaimed that Fitz’s had “Maryland’s Finest Hamburgers.” Diners could also get steamed crabs and soft-shell crab sandwiches there, which is something many Emmitsburg residents had never eaten before.

Before long, Mike’s father, Allen, was expanding that business to include a dining room and bandstand. He also added slot machines in the bar area.

“People on the road would stop in to play the slot machines in the bar and buy a hamburger for 10 cents and a beer for 15 cents,” Fitzgerald says.

Fitz’s soon became a popular off-campus place for Mount students to go and have fun.

“In 1963, a guy came in who knew Dad,” Mike says. “He was an attorney in New York. He said that when he went to the Mount and would run out of money, my dad would give him credit.”

That surprised him a bit, but it also answered a question that Fitzgerald and his mother had been wondering about.

“When Dad died in 1940, we found a cigar box filled with class rings,” says Mike.

While Allen was willing to extend credit to the Mount students, he would hold their class rings as collateral. Judging by the number of class rings in the box, a number of students never paid off their bar tabs.

Naomi took the rings and gave them to someone at the college in the hopes that they might be reunited with the owners. The Catoctin Banner inquired at the Mount about what happened to the rings. We were told that someone would check and get back to us about it, but that didn’t happen. So, once again, those rings are “out of sight, out of mind.”

Editor’s note: This is a new feature that The Catoctin Banner is introducing, where we tell the stories of the Northern Frederick County communities through the eyes of the older generation. If you have an interesting story that you would like to tell, contact us at

Lindsay Brandt

eyler stablesThe Eyler Stables in Thurmont now hosts weekend flea markets. The idea for opening the stables for weekend markets was that of owner, Niki Eyler, and her friend, Emily Kemp, who has been working a similar operation in Virginia.

The Eyler Stables property has been in the Eyler family for generations. Eyler’s great-grandparents started the facility in 1933, and it was then handed down to her grandparents, then to her father, and now to Niki, who was born and raised on the property. She took over the management of it in 1999. “This facility was just sitting empty for most of the month, and I just really wanted something else going on here,” Eyler said.

Eyler stated that the grand opening of the market was held on October 3, 2014. The market has had a good response from the community. Eyler recalls, “On the first day, we were going to close at 3:00 p.m., but I was here until a quarter after eight. People just kept milling in and looking around, and I was like, ‘well, just hang out, look around!’ It was great. I had two people who just came to browse and actually want to rent vendor space!” (Both indoor and outdoor are available.)

Eyler’s goal is to have as many vendors as possible. She hopes to fill the outdoor space and grow that portion of the flea market. She states that the property could hold limitless vendors, but easily accommodates over a hundred.

The flea market will ultimately sell anything and everything. “Most vendors are local; I have some people from Pennsylvania who have some things consigned, as well as from Virginia. We have some outdoor vendors who come from the tri-state area who will set up during the weekends.”

Among the many things Eyler has put up for sale, three small vases that she has acquired stick out to her. When she bought them, she discovered the items had pieces of paper stuck in them. When she pulled out the note in the first vase, she read, “Vase is given to Nancy, 1945.” Eyler then pulled the second vase closer, pulling out a second piece of paper, which read, “In remembrance for Nancy on her second birthday, from Mrs. Dudrear.” The third vase, and the last piece of paper, contained the information on Mrs. Dudrear’s obituary. “I just thought that was so neat, you know, a little bit of history tied to those vases.”

The Eyler Stables Flea Market will stay open (through the end of the year) every Friday and Saturday, from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; Sundays, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. They will take a short break before reopening in the spring.

For an indoor, 8-foot space, the cost is $40.00 a month. You stock your own merchandise and price it. If you want just a weekend at the market, the cost is $20.00 for one day, $30.00 for two days, and $40.00 for all three days.

Lindsay Brandt

Sharon-Burd-USEWhen the residents of Sabillasville, Maryland, travel to their local post office, they won’t be seeing the familiar face of their resident postmaster, Sharon Burd, kindly waiting to help them. Sharon Burd (pictured right) of the United States Postal Service retired from her post on September 28, 2014, after almost thirty-one years. “I like working here, because you get to see all local people you know every day,” said Burd.

Burd has been the postmaster at the Sabillasville Post Office since 2006. She started working for the United States Postal Service in 1983, and after working in both Frederick and Hagerstown, she wound up at the Sabillasville location when the post opened in 2006.

Burd grew up and attended school in Upstate New York. She met her husband, Dick, while in school, and they became high school sweethearts. As young high school students, they are pictured on the cover of their year book holding hands. Their family grew to include their five children, sixteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. They relocated to Sabillasville, because her husband, who was in the U. S. Navy, was stationed in the area.

Before working for the USPS, Burd taught classes part-time at the YMCA in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. In addition, for a span of twelve years, she volunteered her time as a Brownie and Girl Scout leader in Sabillasville, while also teaching Sunday school at St. John’s United Church of Christ, also located in Sabillasville.

Burd already has big plans for her retirement. She wants to continue the renovation of her 100-year-old house, and to cross a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum off of her bucket list. She plans to visit the museum with her sisters.

Burd has three sisters and three brothers. Though they reside at various points across the United States, she remains close with her siblings by talking with them each week by phone. She even had a recent surprise visit by her brother, who was in the area during a business trip from New York. She was working around the house and the doorbell rang, revealing her brother. They were able to spend some time together before they went to watch her grandson play football.

Her daughter, Shannon (Burd) Brown, said, “She worked nights for twenty years. She hardly slept, but she did all of this stuff. She is a very good mom, always doing fun stuff. I’m glad she’s my mom; I definitely got lucky in the mom category.”

Daughter, Pamela (Burd) Beard, said, “My mom had an outstanding career with the United States Postal Service. I remember how excited she was to become the postmaster at the Sabillasville Post Office. She was always courteous and professional to all customers. She provided customer service with a personal touch.” Pamela’s daughter and Burd’s granddaughter, Camelia Beard, expressed, “I really enjoyed going to work with my Grandma. I saw the importance of good customer relations. People came to the Sabillasville Post Office from all over the area. She did a great job.”

Her role of mother doesn’t just apply to her actual family. Her coworkers at the Post Office noted how she always said that they were her kids, too. “She worries about us from the time we leave to go on the road until the time we get back,” said Pam from the Sabillasville United States Post Office.

Throughout the years, Burd would bring eggs from her chickens to share with her employees. They even stenciled “Burd’s Eggs” on the cartons.

“It’s going to be sad after all this time,” Burd said.  Her coworkers in Sabillasville, including Pam, Davie, and Jay, stated that she was very easy to work for, adding, “We are going to miss her.”

Pet Show

The Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show Pet Show was held on Saturday, September 6, 2014, at Catoctin High School.

Judges for this event were Jim and Barbara Mofffatt of Mount Pleasant, Maryland, and Chairmen were Dave Harman and Dave Johnston.

The judges selected Amber Sanders and her Huskie dog as Champion. She received a gift certificate to Thurmont Feed Store and a rosette ribbon. Selected as reserve Champion was Maxine Troxell with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dog. She received a gift certificate to Main Street Groomers and a rosette ribbon.

Food coupons from Roy Rogers, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken were given to those participating and spectators. The Thurmont Feed Store, LLC donated pet food for the event.

Winners are listed as first, second, third, and honorable mention respectively: Cat with Prettiest Eyes—Abbey Shaffer, Paige-Maree Woods, Madison Flohr, Josie Kaas; Cat with Longest Whiskers—Peggy King, Madison Flohr (tie for first), Abbey Shaffer, Britany and Bethany Study, Josie Kaas (tie for third), Paige Marie Woods; Cutest Cat—Josie Kaas, Karen Kinnaird, Madison Flohr; Best Trained Pet—Jillian Fedor, Tracy Beeman, Gina McCracken; Dog with Wiggliest Tail—Maxine Troxell, Donnie Kaas, Debbie Howd (tie for second), Ashlyn Summerall; Prettiest Dog (25 pounds and under)—Chelsea Smith, Emily Kline, Lauren Ames (tie for second), Maxine Troxell, Anthony Miller; Prettiest Dog (26 pounds and over)—Amber Sanders, Gina McCracken, Melissa Fedor, Donnie Kaas (tie for third), Nicole Flohr, Debbie Howd (tie for honorable mention); Best Costumed Pet—Linda Herr, Paige Maree Woods, Anthony Miller (tie for second), Cole and Carley Hahn, Maxine Troxell; Largest Pet—Nicole Flohr, Gina McCracken; Most Unusual Pet—Brittan Sweeney, Madison Flohr, Britany Study, Tanner Seiss, Masten Rosensteel; Smallest Pet—Tanner Seiss, Britany Study, Madison Flohr.

Horseshoe Pitching Contest and Log Sawing Contest

 Winners in the 34th Annual Robert Kaas Memorial Horseshoe Pitching Contest were:  First place—Rick Wivell and Jeff Snyder; Second place—Roy Wivell and Dick Glass; Third place—Dave Wivell and Russell Kaas.

The 34th Annual Log Sawing Contest winners were: Children’s Division (14 years old and younger): First place—Ryan and Owen Liller (53:00); Second place—Gavin Valentine and Waylon Farmer (54:51); Third place—Rayn Tice and Wyatt Davis (1:14); Men and Women’s Division: First place—Justin and Ashley McAfee (20:00); Second place—Denny Willard and Kayla Umbel (24:10); Third place—Mark and Jessica Valentine (28:06); Men’s Division: First place—Justin McAfee and Jeff McAfee (21:00); Second place—Jonathan Hubbard and Robert Hahn (22:00); Third place—Johnny Kempisty and Dustin Hahn (34:76).

Decorated Animal Contest

The winners of the Decorated Animal Contest were: Champion—Peyton Davis (Sheep); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Goat). Other participants included Olivia Dutton (goat). The Judge of the Decorated Animal Contest was Emma Main, Regional Operational Manager of Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, located in Frederick, Maryland.  Each of the contestants received a ribbon, and prize money will be divided among all of the contestants.


Champions and Reserve Champions

Fresh Fruits: Champion—Chris Black (Cortland Apples); Reserve Champion—Wyatt Black (Sugar Giant Peaches).

Fresh Vegetables: Champion—Brian Harbaugh (Onions); Reserve Champion—Bernard Hobbs (Collection of five different vegetables).

Home Products Display: Champion—Roxanna Lambert; Reserve Champion—Charlotte Dutton.

Canned Fruit: Champion—Linda Franklin (Peaches); Reserve Champion—Linda Franklin (Applesauce).

Canned Vegetables: Champion—Deborah Howard (Spaghetti Sauce); Reserve Champion—Sarah Jones (Corn).

Jellies & Preserves: Champion—Donald Stanley (Blackberry Jelly); Reserve Champion—Dawn Hobbs (Strawberry Jelly).

Pickles: Champion—Deborah Howard (Asparagus); Reserve Champion—Dawn Hobbs (Watermelon Pickles).

Meat (Canned): Champion—Ann Welty (Fish); Reserve Champion—Kiristin Dugan (Chicken).

Baked Products – Bread: Champion—Maxine Troxell (Sweet Buns); Reserve Champion—Althea Wood (Dinner Rolls).

Cake: Champion—Dawn Hobbs (Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Filling).

Pie: Champion—Maxine Troxell (Pie–other variety); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Pecan Pie).

SDSC_1264ugar Free: Champion—Jill Holler (Chocolate Kaluha Cake); Reserve Champion—Roxanna Lambert (Diabetic Bread).

Gluten-free Baked Product: Champion—Sharon Lewis (Pecan Pie); Reserve Champion—Sharon Lewis (Gluten-free Cookies).

Sewing: Champion—Peggy VanDerCryysson (Embroidered Quilt); Reserve Champion—Frances Fields (Sewn Dress).

Flowers & Plants: Champion—Carol Maddox (One-Sided Floral Arrangement); Reserve Champion—Roxanna Lambert (Holiday Arrangement).

Arts, Painting & Drawings: Champion—Laura Day (Painting); Reserve Champion—Charlotte Dutton (Tole Painting).

Crafts: Champion—Robert Bittner (Mailbox); Reserve Champion—Constance Smith (Scrapbook).

Photography: Champion—Erin Merritt (Color Photo – People); Reserve Champion—Tim Ewing (Black & White Photo).

Corn: Champion—Brian D. Glass (Hybrid Corn); Reserve Champion—Brian Harbaugh (Hybrid Corn).

Small Grain & Seeds: Champion—Dallas McNair (Shelled Corn); Reserve Champion—Marie Free (Sunflower Seeds).

Eggs: Champion—Rick Matthews (Brown Eggs); Reserve Champion—Jacob Keeney (Brown Eggs).

Nuts: Champiion—Edward Hahn (Black Walnuts); Reserve Champion—Edward Hahn (Chestnuts).

Poultry & Livestock: Champion—Laura Dutton Poultry (Female & Offspring); Reserve Champion—Abby Adams (Bantams – one rooster and one hen).

Rabbit: Champion—Laura Dutton (Breeding Rabbit & Offspring – one female); Reserve Champion—Jonathan Hubbard (Breeding Rabbit – one buck and one female).

Dairy: Champion—Joseph Hubbard (Ayrshire Intermediate Calf); Reserve Champion—Joshua Hubbard (Brown Swiss Summer Yearling).

Dairy Goats: Champion—Olivia Dutton (2-year-old Goat); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (3-year-old Doe).

Hay: Champion—Jonathan Hubbard (Mixed Hay); Reserve Champion—Dalton Sayler (Alfalfa Hay).

Straw: Champion—Dalton Sayler (Barley Straw); Reserve Champion—Steve Strickhouser (Oat Straw).

Junior Department: Champion—Paige Baker (Flip Flop Wreath); Reserve Champion—Alex Contreras (Color Photo Collage).

Junior Department Baked Product: Champion—Caroline Clarke (Pound Cake); Reserve Champion—Jayden Myers (Frosted Red Velvet Cake).

Youth Department: Champion—Laura Dutton (Paper Mache Craft); Reserve Champion—Jeremy Ramage (Recycled Craft).

Youth Department Baked Product: Champion—Justin McAfee (Apple Pie); Reserve Champion—Matthew Lenhart (Chocolate Fudge).

Beef: Champion—Chris Coblentz; Reserve Champion—Breann Fields.


Sheep: Champion—Ashley McAfee; Reserve Champion—Kendra Keeney

Swine: Champion—Wyatt Davis; Reserve Champion—Kolton Whetzel.


 Market Goat: Champion—Kayla Neff; Reserve Champion—Olivia Dutton.

Decorated Animal Contest: Champion—Peyton Davis (Sheep); Reserve Champion—Laura Dutton (Goat).

Pet Show: Champion—Amber Sanders (Huskie Dog); Reserve Champion—Maxine Troxell (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Dog).

James Rada, Jr.

colorfest 7The incessant rain on Saturday morning, October 11, 2014, gave way to a cloudy day in the afternoon, transitioning into a sunny, more pleasant day on Sunday for the 51st Annual Colorfest weekend in Thurmont.

The crowds picked up as people turned out for unusual food like Southern-fried Snickers and one-of-a-kind gifts like robot sculptures made from scrap metal by Don Rea. In between, they browsed yard sales or listened to live music being played in front of the town office.

“The crowd started out light because of the rain, but people still came carrying their umbrellas and wearing their ponchos,” said Carol Robertson with Catoctin Colorfest.

The heart of the festival is the 240 juried exhibitors in the Community Park, although booths and vendors could be found throughout Thurmont, along roads, at the carnival grounds, around the American Legion, among others.

Janet Randall and her friend, Rusty, each pulled a collapsible wagon through Community Park looking to fill them with gifts. Randall’s big purchase had been an antique sewing machine that was decorated so that it was more of a craft item than an antique.

Randall said she comes to Colorfest from West River, Maryland, because of all the different crafters who display their goods. She calls all of the craft shows near her home “yard sales” in comparison.

colorfest 4“We’ll have to sneak all this stuff into the house so our husbands won’t see,” Randall said.

While Colorfest was a destination for Randall, Greg Teague and his wife, Beth, just happened to stop in.

“We were going to Gettysburg and were passing by and my wife said that it didn’t look too crowded,” Teague said.

So they parked and began shopping. For Teague, who lives in Frederick, it was his first visit to the festival.

“They have a lot of stuff here,” he said. “It’s a lot bigger than it looks.”

Beth added, “You can get visual overload from everything there is to see.”

It was author Bob O’Connor’s first time at the festival, too, and he was selling his historical novels and history books in Community Park.

colorfest 2“It’s a big crowd here, and they seem like they’re in a spending mood,” O’Connor said. “I mean when you see people walking around with wagons and carts, they are obviously looking to buy.”

Sharon Dustin is a regular visitor to Colorfest. Although she lives in Bowie, she’s been visiting each year for thirty years. It’s a family outing for them. In fact, her granddaughter, Alexis, first came to Colorfest when she was only three weeks old.

“I really like looking at all the stuff that people make,” Dustin said.

Set up for Colorfest begins during the week leading up to the event, with much of it taking place on the Friday before.

“It’s like a little city gets built here in a couple days,” Robertson said. “There are banks with ATMs. The post office is here. The food vendors are restaurants and the other vendors are the businesses.

On average, about 100,000 people visit Colorfest each year.

“The atmosphere of the quaint town of Thurmont, with a population of 6,000 residents, changes every year during the second weekend of October when the festivities of the annual Catoctin Colorfest take place,” states the Catoctin Colorfest website.

James Rada, Jr.

emmt election 2A new face was added to the Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners on Monday, October 6, 2014, when Joseph Ritz, III, was sworn in.

The Emmitsburg Town election was held on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, and residents were voting for a commissioner and mayor. Ritz ran against former town commissioner Patrick Joy and won 118-44.

Mayor Donald Briggs ran unopposed for his seat. Briggs was joined by family, as Frederick County Circuit Court Clerk Sandra Dalton swore him into office.

Board President Tim O’Donnell told Ritz that he had “a great responsibility, but you are the right person to bear that responsibility.”

After Mayor Briggs swore Ritz into his office, he took the seat of Commissioner Chris Staiger, who chose not to run for re-election.

Staiger’s parting words were short and to the point, “It’s a wrap. Thank you.”

O’Donnell thanked him for his service to the town at a job that could be “wonderful, tiring, brutal, great, fun.” He also commended Staiger for his ability “to solve problems with common sense.”

Ritz thanked the residents who voted for him and for turning out for the election. Voter turnout for the election was roughly ten percent of the town’s 1,726 registered voters.

Briggs talked about the economic investment of more than thirty-two million dollars that he sees coming to the community, and outlined the various projects that were going to start or be completed in the near future. He painted a bright future for the town.

“It all starts with dreams,” he said. “Let’s live them.”

Under the new Board of Commissioners, O’Donnell will serve as president. Cliff Sweeney will serve as vice president and planning and zoning liaison. Glenn Blanchard will serve as treasurer. Jennifer Mellor will serve as the parks and recreation liaison. Ritz will serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Ritz’s father already serves on the committee, but he said that he will step down to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

Briggs said that he had another committee in mind that Joseph Ritz, Jr., could serve on as a member.

Deb Spalding

Ebg Banquet 1On Saturday, October 18, 2014, the 90th Banquet of the Emmitsburg High School Alumni was held at the Emmitsburg Ambulance activities building on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Emmitsburg High School’s first graduating class was the class of 1898. Their last graduating class was the class of 1968. The late Ada Hollinger Sperry began the alumni banquets in 1921. During World War II, there were three years during which no banquet was held.  Thus, 2014 is the 90th year anniversary of Emmitsburg Alumni banquets.

The students who attended Emmitsburg High School were known as the “Liners” due to the school’s proximity to the Mason Dixon Line. The Class of 1968 was the last graduating class of Emmitsburg High School. The Class of 1969 held the distinction of closing down Emmitsburg High School a few months shy of their graduation. Thus, the Emmitsburg High School “Liners” combined with the Thurmont High School “Mountaineers” at the new Catoctin High School, where the first graduating class of Cougars received their diplomas in 1969.

Classes that were honored at this banquet were those graduating in 1934, 1939, 1944, 1954, 1959, 1964, and 1969. The class of 1949 did not have a graduating class, since the requirement to graduate was changed from eleven years to twelve years.

One member was present at the banquet, representing the class of 1934: Emory Motter. He did not actually graduate with the class, because he had to drop out after 7th grade to help on his family’s farm. He later received his certificate by attending night classes. Alumni President, Randy Valentine, awarded Mr. Motter an honorary Emmitsburg High School Diploma and year book. It was noted that Mr. Motter’s brother, William, drove the first school bus in the Emmitsburg area.

The Alumni Association awards annual scholarships to several individuals seeking further education. This year’s scholarships were awarded to four students: Shelby Maly, Elizabeth Shriver, Taylor Shank, and Taylor Joy. Shelby Maly, daughter of Scott and Barb Maly and granddaughter of Norman and Sandy Shriver (Class of 1959), is a sophomore at Shepherd University, majoring in Sports Marketing. Elizabeth Shriver, daughter of Dave and Denise Shriver and also a granddaughter of Norman and Sandy Shriver, is a Junior at Delaware Valley College, majoring in Agronomy, with a focus in Crop Science. Taylor Shank, daughter of Duane and Anita Shank, is attending Clemson University, earning a degree in Architecture. Taylor Joy, daughter of Elaine Moffett, is attending Stevenson University, seeking a degree in Elementary Education.  This year, an additional scholarship was derived from an anonymous gift in memory of Emmitsburg’s 6th grade teacher, Mary B. Scott, who taught for many years at the old Emmitsburg School. This scholarship was also awarded to Taylor Joy.

It is important to note that students who attended Emmitsburg High School at any time during their education, regardless of whether or not they graduated, are encouraged to be part of The Emmitsburg Alumni Association.

Next year, the classes that end in a 5 or a 0 will be honored. Alumni historian, Joyce Bruchey (Class of 1962), is missing photos of six graduating classes for the honor book: 1924, 1925, 1927, 1933, 1935, and 1938.  Please call Joyce at 410-775-7921 if you have one of those photos that she can scan. Ebg Banquet 2

Pictured are Emory Moffet, Class of 1934—banquet attendee from the earliest class; and Mike Humerick, Class of 1959—traveled the farthest, all the way from Alaska.Ebg Banquet Honor class 1969

Emmitsburg Alumni Banquet Honor Class of 1969.

Ashley McGlaughlin

More and more families are experiencing the loss of a loved one to drug abuse. The drugs being abused could be street drugs, or even prescribed narcotics from doctors. There is a wide range of reasons why people hurt themselves by doing this. Some intend to experiment ‘just once’, but end up becoming addicted forever. While “high” on drugs, you most likely have a different personality. It is completely horrible for a child, or a parent, to see their family member act differently because they choose to use these drugs. It is heart breaking, especially because this is something the abuser can control. We, meaning each and every one of us, need to take action now!

Peer pressure, personal problems, and even a reliance on something that is supposed to help us—pain killers—can lead a person to turn to drug abuse. We may be related to someone who is already demonstrating the example of substance abuse, we may see it on television, or we may be a friend of someone who is exhibiting the example. Peer pressure shows us that sometimes the people using drugs may appear to be popular or admired, so we try to do the same thing so we can also be admired and popular and accepted by others.

Painkillers are prescribed from a doctor, but the patient could easily take more than what they’re supposed to, trying to ease their pain. This leads to the patient’s painkillers running out, causing them to withdraw. Symptoms of withdrawal from drugs include aching joints, nausea, hot flashes, and even a short temper. The prescription pain pill abuser may feel so disturbed when they run out of their prescription, that they actually go buy illegal substances like heroine to ease their pain and cravings. Sometimes, without even realizing it, this becomes a recurring cycle every time their prescription runs out. Soon, this one mistake leads to a life time of disappointment.

By being addicted to heroin, cocaine, LSD, or even methamphetamine, whole families are impacted. Buying drugs is a waste of money, when the money runs out, the addiction causes financial stress. Soon, the abuser is using the cheap drugs to maintain their high. Street drugs that consist of unnatural materials that we put in our bodies will break down our natural body functions because our bodies don’t know what to do with the pollution we put in it.  Drug abuse is at an all-time high.  Couple that with the fact that the drugs on the streets are more deadly than ever, and we have a huge problem that has some impact on each and every member of our community.

At a Mackenzie’s Light Bereavement and Awareness Support Group meeting at the Thurmont Library in September, a father of a Thurmont girl who died from a heroin overdose said, “It [her death] blind-sided me! I thought she was drinking and I might get a call to come pick her up somewhere. But, I had no idea that she was into anything harder.” His daughter was a talented 20-year-old with a sunny personality. Like this father, your loved ones could be doing drugs without your knowledge. Your children could be taken away if you are a parent or a guardian who is found abusing these drugs. This affects your own children you have raised and the entire family unit.

There are children under the age of ten years old that have seen more drugs around them than what a grown man has seen. These children get placed in unfamiliar places like foster care, which changes their lives forever. Some don’t even get away from the drugs, they grow up thinking drugs aren’t that bad, so they also become addicted. It becomes a way of life and coping for them.

Here in our home towns, there have been multiple cases of heroin overdose, death, and other drug abuses. If you are using drugs, this is the time to stop, and to change your life. You don’t realize it while you’re under the influence, but every decision has a consequence, and it affects more people than you think. All of our lives involve choices and we all make hundreds of choices on a daily basis. Communication, observation, awareness, support, and sometimes even policing are of utmost importance.

Mackenzie’s Light Bereavement and Awareness Support Group meets monthly at the Thurmont Library. People impacted in any way by addiction are invited to attend. At the next meeting, Thurmont’s Police Chief, Greg Eyler, will talk about the statistics of suicide resulting from addiction. Stop by on Monday, October 27, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. Also, during this meeting, a recovering alcoholic parent will talk about grieving the loss of their child who committed suicide related to drug addiction. These are real problems, real losses, real people. Please call 301-524-8064 for more information or check them out on Facebook.

Project Hope in Thurmont, helps youth with positive reinforcement.  They are an anti-drug group with the goal of helping addicts find whatever resources that are available to help them get into recovery.  Project Hope will be there as a support team for anyone who needs help. Check them out on Facebook or read about them in this issue.

Our local health department is another source of help. If the individual is on state insurance through medical assistance in Frederick County, mental health and substance abuse is covered under that policy. Our local rehabilitation center accepts that insurance (i.e. United Health Care, Amerigroup, Riverside, Priority Partners, and Maryland Physicians Care) for inpatient treatment of substance abuse, to educate and assist addicts with the withdrawal process, as well as train them to deal with addiction as an illness.

All walks of life are affected by this disease.

Mount St. Mary’s and the Civil War

by James Rada, Jr.

Looking Back COLUMN photoIn the years leading up to the Civil War, Mount St. Mary’s enjoyed prosperity. The college celebrated its golden anniversary in 1858, and student enrollment was around 200 young men and growing.

“The Mount was thriving, as was most of the South thriving before the Civil War,” Father Michael Roach, instructor of church history at the Mount, said on the DVD “Mount St. Mary’s University: The Spirit Continues…”

This changed with the outbreak of war in 1860; the school began to lose students and faculty who were sympathetic to the southern cause. More than half of the students prior to the war came from the South. Not all of them headed home, and the school wound up supporting them because funds from the students’ parents could not make it north.

The college expenses increased while income fell off. During the 1859-1860 school year, Mount St. Mary’s had 173 students, not including the seminarians; two years later, the enrollment had fallen to 67 students, its lowest number in fifty years.

The remaining students and faculty began to take sides in the conflict, either pro-Union or pro-Confederacy. While this created some tension on campus, it never became open hostility. The consensus opinion seems to be that a majority of the campus supported the Southern cause.

“[President John] McCaffrey eventually, and some of professors, were monitored, observed, by President Lincoln’s loyalty police. These were men appointed all over the country to keep an eye on folks who might be or were suspected of being Confederate sympathizers,” Steve Whitman, associate professor of history at the Mount, said on the DVD “Mount St. Mary’s University: The Spirit Continues…”

Though Confederate in his sympathies, McCaffrey was not hostile to the Union. A Pennsylvania officer wrote, “Two miles from Emmitsburg, we passed Mount Saint Mary’s, and taking advantage of a moment’s halt, a party of three or four rode up to the main entrance…We were cordially received by the president and with characteristic hospitality a collation was in preparation for us.”

In the fall of 1862, the sounds of battle during the Battle of South Mountain could be heard at the college.

“As we were going up to Mass to the old church on the hill, and as we were returning from Mass, we could hear the firing distinctly. Yet, recreation went on the terraces and the ordinary routine of college life was followed, as if nothing unusual was happening,” Monsignor James T. Dunn, an 1863 Mount graduate, wrote after the war.

After the battle of Antietam in September 1862, six of the seven seniors remaining in the school slipped away to visit the battlefield, leaving only a note for McCaffrey that read: “Dear Doctor McCaffrey: We are very sorry for what we are going to do but we cannot help it. Please do not be worried about us: we will be back surely on Friday evening. Yours truly. Class of ‘63.”

This wasn’t the first time boys had left the campus without permission to see a battle or soldiers. McCaffrey decided to put an end to it. When the boys returned three days later, McCaffrey expelled them. However, within a month, he changed his mind and reinstated them.

Small Confederate raids occurred around the college and “Vice-President, Rev. John McCloskey, an excellent horseman and a notable figure on horseback, rode for quite a distance alongside the commander, General J. E. B. Stuart,” according to Dunn.

The next big event for the college was in 1863, as troops entered the area on their way to Gettysburg. “Many of us sat on the fences along the road watching and listening to their sayings. We naturally looked upon the men as sheep led to the slaughter, and we were not a little surprised when we overheard two of them closing a bargain on horseback with the remark: ‘Well, I will settle with you for this after the battle. Will that suit you?’ The other party readily assented. The whole period of life is treated as a certainty, even by men going into battle,” Dunn wrote.

He wrote that his commencement was held about a week earlier than planned “on account of the threatening appearance of everything without, and so that the students might safely reach their homes.”

Mount President John McCaffrey was known for his Confederate sympathies and refused to let the U.S. flag fly. “When Lincoln was shot, Federal orders were issued ‘for every house to display some sign of mourning. An officer visited the college, but there was no sign visible,’ until Dr. McCaffrey produced ‘a small piece of crape’ on a door which had been opened back so that it would not be visible until disclosed,” according to the Emmitsburg Chronicle.

In the spring of 1863, Mount student Maurice Burn was arrested by Union soldiers for sedition. Burn, who was from Louisiana, had written his father and expressed his Southern sympathies. Burn was jailed when he refused to sign an oath of loyalty to the Union. McCaffrey wrote Lincoln pleading Burn’s case, and the youth was released to McCaffrey’s custody.

In all, three students were killed during the war, according to “Mount St. Mary’s University: The Spirit Continues…” One of these young men was Maurice Burn, who had been arrested and paroled for sedition. Those young men were buried at the college cemetery on the mountain.

Deb Spalding

FF Memorial ladder trucks with flag by Bill Green for the NFFFIn preparation of the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service that is held in October in Emmitsburg, Maryland at the National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg’s fire personnel and volunteers fill multiple rolls year-round. For this year’s 33rd annual event held on the weekend of October 11 and 12, 2014, the folks at Vigilant Hose Company washed a huge U.S. flag then hung it to dry in the four-story stairwell at the station on West Main Street in Emmitsburg. Witnessing the flag, Wayne Powell, Executive Director of the National Fire Heritage Center (located within the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg) said, “It was something to see.”

This same flag was later suspended between two ladder trucks, Emmitsburg’s and Walkersville’s, to create the gateway through which guests entered the memorial. This is just one example of support services conducted by the folks at the Vigilant Hose Company and the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum to help the U.S. Fire Service. This year, the lives of ninety-eight firefighters who died across the United States in the line of duty in 2013 and nine firefighters who died in previous years, were honored during the memorial services at the National Fire Academy.

More than 5,000 people, including Members of Congress, administration officials and other dignitaries, members of the fire service, as well as families, friends, and co-workers of the fallen firefighters attend this event. Vigilant Hose Company’s Chief, Frank Davis, said, “In 2001, the night before the memorial service, I received a telephone call at 6:00 p.m. requesting seventy-five fire trucks on the grounds of the Fire Academy for the service the next day to prepare for the president to attend. We were up all night, but we did it.” President George W. Bush attended this service in 2000 and 2001. It was during the service in 2001, held just a month after 9/11, that President George W. Bush announced that he had to leave early in order to make a special announcement. That evening, he announced from the White House that our country was going to war.

Emmitsburg resident, Dr. Bill Meredith, is credited with dubbing Emmitsburg with the nickname,  Firetown, USA. After retiring as a professor from Mount St. Mary’s College, Dr. Meredith played in a band called the Firetown Band. The name caught on. Emmitsburg certainly lives up to its nickname. As home to the National Fire Academy and the grounds where the Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located, Emmitsburg sees a steady stream of firefighters and fire personnel throughout town. Vigilant Hose Company has become the most visited firehouse in the United States, even surpassing Station #10 and Ladder #10 at Ground Zero in New York City.

The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg is also the home to the National Fire Heritage Center. The Center houses many interesting artifacts from famous fires and data about the how firefighting has evolved over the years. Visitors may see fire station log books from Station #10 at Ground Zero on 9/11/2001, from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where volunteers responded to a plane crash in a field on 9/11; and from Arlington County, Virginia, Engine Company 10, where volunteers watched as a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. These log books and many, many artifacts make a trip to this museum fascinating.

On Saturday, despite some rain, the Red Helmet Riders cruised through Emmitsburg on their motorcycles to show support for the fallen. Later that evening, a quick procession of bag pipe bands traveled from the Vigilant Hose Company to the town square and then filled the Ott House Pub. These same bag pipe brigades and drum units—comprised of musicians from all over the country—came together to provide poignant music during the emotional memorial service on Sunday.

At the memorial service, families of the fallen received flags that have flown over the U.S. Capitol and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. What an honor it is to serve as hosts to such an impactful event. In the thirty-three years that this service has been held, Emmitsburg has been the host location for all services, except one. In 2002, due to the large number of firefighters who perished 9/11/2001, the service was held in Washington, D.C.

For a complete list of fallen firefighters being honored and a widget to display their information on your website, along with Memorial Weekend streaming information, videos, photos, and satellite coordinates, go to For information about the Vigilant Hose Company, visit the station in person at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg or online at For information about the National Fire Heritage Center, visit them in person on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg or online at

The People in My Life for Whom I am Most Thankful

by Jim Houck, Jr.

I have many people in my daily life at this time for which I am very thankful. I would like to start out by thanking my wonderful family. I thank my mother, Mary Jean Wantz Houck, for giving me life and guiding me through my informative years. I thank my sister Connie and my brothers, Bob, Tom, and Marc for helping to keep my youth exciting and adventurous. I am very thankful for them today, because if I need them, I know that all I have to do is contact them and they will be there. I am thankful for my wonderful wife, Joan Wormley Houck, for putting up with my weirdness for… let’s see, November 7, 2014, will be fifty years of marriage and two years of courtship—wow, that’s fifty-two years! I am thankful for my beautiful and talented daughter, Missy Houck Saylor, and my workaholic son, Jim Houck III, for making me so proud through the years. I am thankful for my six grandchildren and my thirteen great-grandchildren, and regret not seeing them as much as I would like. I love my family and thank God for them every day, and pray for Him to watch over them. I am thankful for all of my relatives in the community, and you know who you are—way too many to name in my column.

I want to thank all of the great people at Francis X. Elder American Legion in Emmitsburg and, especially, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 121. I have been their commander for a few years now, and I can truthfully say I am proud of them all and, especially, my officers. My 1st vice commander is Mark Zurgable. Mark is well known in the community and operates Zurgable Bros. Hardware Store. Mark is always willing to help with our many fundraising events to help the people in need throughout our community. Mike Hartdagen is my 2nd vice commander and takes care of our membership and does a great job. Mike is very detail-oriented, which comes from the many years he worked in the air conditioning and heating industry. He has health issues, as I am sure anyone who knows Mike is aware, and he still continues being a great aid mentally, if not physically, to our projects. My treasurer is Gary Stouter, and he does a great job at keeping our finances straight. Gary owns Mountain Liquors, and he not only helps with events, but he donates a lot of things we use at the fundraisers. Fred Hoff is my adjutant (secretary) and does a good job taking care to keep our minutes from one meeting to the next. I can call Fred to assist with something one of our members has been assigned to but is not able to attend, and Fred—if he is in the area—will always say yes. Dick Fleagle is my chaplain and takes care of our opening and closing prayers. He keeps check on our members; if someone is sick, in the hospital, or has passed on, he sends them and/or their family cards, fruit baskets, or flowers. Tim Hane is my sergeant at arms and maintains order at our meetings, makes sure the flags are in place, and my gavel is present. Tim also guards the door; when we have ceremonies, such as the swearing in of new members, he instructs and escorts them to their proper post.

I am very thankful for having these people and our members in my life. A friendly reminder to all SAL members: dues are now payable for 2015 and are $20.00, but if you wait until after December 31, 2014, dues will be $25.00.

I am thankful for VFW Memorial Post 6658 and their people, but especially thankful for VFW Men’s Auxiliary Unit 6658, where I am the senior vice president. The president of this great unit is Leo Hobbs, and he does a great job of leading us. Leo controls his meeting and reminds everyone we exist to help the children in our community. When Leo has a plan for a fundraising event, he gets right to the point, and after discussion by members, his plan usually is voted a go. We are having our annual Shrimp and Chicken Feed on November 8, 2014, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Please check the VFW website and Facebook for all the information about Feeds and other events at the Post. Leo’s junior vice president is Josh Weatherly. Josh is in charge of membership and has done a great job for a few years now. He also is at most of our functions and helps in many ways. Leo’s secretary is Steve Seidel, and he has been taking minutes for MAVFW Unit 6658’s meetings for a few years. Steve recently got married and has been “missing in action” for a few months. Steve Wojciechowski is Leo’s treasurer and keeps the checkbook in order. He comes out to help at most events and does a really good job. Mark Zurgable is the chaplain for the unit and never misses a meeting, unless he forgets—you know how old age affects some people. He helps with most events and is usually there from start to finish. Leo’s trustees are Dick Fleagle, Bruce Weatherly, and Lu Norris; they all do a great job of double-checking the treasurer’s report, as well as volunteering at our events. Bob Kuhn is Leo’s sergeant at arms and announces and escorts in anyone visiting our meeting. MAVFW Unit 6658’s officers are all people of whom I am very proud, and I thank God to get to work with such a great group of people.

AMVETS Post 7 Thurmont has some fantastic people in their organization, and I am thankful I know a lot of them. I am also proud and thankful to be a member of Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7 and an officer under the command of Commander Mark Zienda. This is Mark’s second year as commander of Squadron 7, and he has done a great job thus far. Mark, along with taking care of his ailing father, manages to do his job and more. Even if he has to get back to his dad, he puts in an appearance to let the members know he is behind them. Mark’s 1st vice commander is Dick Fleagle, and he takes care of membership—there is no one better at it than Dick. Dick is a very serious person when it comes to his job of membership; he could probably get around a few things regarding membership, but his ethics won’t allow him to do that. With Dick, it is either right or wrong, and you can bet your last dollar that it’s always going to be done the right way. I am Mark’s 2nd vice commander, and my job is to report to National SOA with all of our volunteer hours accumulated monthly to get credit, and to give our delegates more power to negotiate on Capitol Hill for our Veterans. Mark’s 3rd vice commander is Brian Payne; his job is to come up with events for fundraisers to aid Veterans and our community. Brian has been doing a great job, and we are proud of him. He also volunteers at various functions at the Post. Joe Forrest is Mark’s adjutant, and he keeps account of all things happening at our meetings. Joe volunteers at our functions and supplies lots of desserts at our events. Mark’s treasurer is Bob Gouge, and he controls the money flow for Squadron 7. Bob gives an accurate and up-to-date report at each meeting. He also volunteers at many of our events when possible. Craig Williams is Mark’s chaplain, and he reads the prayer before and after meetings; he finds out who is sick and who has passed and handles them appropriately. Tim McKinnon is Mark’s judge advocate and interprets our standing rules and bylaws and enforces them. Tim also volunteers at many functions. Jim Payne is Mark’s VAVS officer and attends meetings at Martinsburg Veterans Center; he keeps us informed of what is happening with our Veterans. Jim is an active volunteer, also. Mark’s provost marshall is Pauly Krygier, and he guards the door and escorts those to be sworn in to the proper position. I am truly thankful for being able to associate with such a great group of officers and members.

The Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS is another organization of which I am proud to be a part. The Commander is Ed Stely and he is a fantastic man. I really gained a lot of respect for him when he and I were in Memphis, Tennessee, at our National Convention. Ed’s 1st vice commander is Doug Penwell, and he is the right man for the job. Doug takes care of membership and stays right on top of things, because he has to account for membership at the Squadron level as well. Wade Clem is Ed’s 2nd vice commander, and he takes care of the reports for volunteers at Squadron level and reports to National. I am Ed’s 3rd vice commander, and it is my job to come up with fundraiser projects for the Department of Maryland and distribute them to the Squadrons. Bobby Stouffer is Ed’s adjutant and keeps the minutes from one meeting to the next, and he does a very good job. Joe Forrest is Ed’s judge advocate, and he interprets standing rules and bylaws. Ed’s chaplain is Dick Fleagle, and he does a fine job, as he does in everything else. I am Ed’s public relations officer, and it is my job to keep us in the spotlight. Ed’s VAVS officer is Jim Payne; and, for being new at it, Jim is doing an excellent job. Doug Penwell is acting treasurer for Scotty and doing an excellent job. Billy Kolb is Ed’s provost marshall and has always been good at it. I am proud and honored and very thankful to know and be a part of this great organization.

The Catoctin Banner is the best monthly community newspaper I have ever read. I am proud to call Deb Spalding a friend. And I think she understood a long time ago that if you are going to publish a community paper, you write about things happening in your community, not things happening halfway around the world. The community you live in and the surrounding communities are the world for the people living there. I am very proud to have had the opportunity to write for the Banner and will continue writing for her as long as I am mentally able. I listen to a lot of feedback from folks and I see lots of people, and I feel confident this paper will be around for many years, as long as it prints the quality material it has been writing. I am thankful to be associated with The Catoctin Banner and all the great people that help to put it together.

Thank God for the United States of America; my family; the American Veterans; and our community newspaper, The Catoctin Banner.

“Memories Afield”

by Bob Warden

In a few short weeks, we will all be sleeping off Thanksgiving dinner or watching football games with family and friends…and getting ready for opening day of deer firearms season! By getting ready, I don’t just mean getting our guns and gear together, I mean swapping stories from our many years of opening days.

Even though I hunt opening day of archery, I have always highly anticipated the Saturday after Thanksgiving in Maryland, and the Monday after Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania. I guess it’s a tradition we had as I was growing up. I grew up in the Baltimore suburbs, but my hunting adventures with my Dad (starting at age fifteen—wow, forty-one years ago) were always on a farm just outside of Emmitsburg. My first rabbit, first pheasant, and first deer, all came from that farm.

I also have memories at age fifteen of working at Clyde’s Sport Shop in Lansdowne, Maryland. On the Friday before the opener, crowds of people would get last minute supplies, ammo, licenses, etc. I heard stories of the previous year’s hunts, and as a kid, I tried to figure out which were the made up ones and which were the true ones. I still have trouble with that.

COLUMN-photo---Mineral-Bob-As we get older and have kids and grandkids, many of you know that our memories switch from “us” to “them.” I can still remember the first deer my son, Chris, shot on land not far from the Frederick watershed. It was a spike deer. Sitting in that tree stand and seeing him shoot, and the deer falling thirty yards away, is forever embedded in my memory bank, as I’m sure it is for him as well (even though it’s been many years)!

Some of you may remember that on opening day, if you got your deer early, you went down to the checking station to see the other deer being checked in. You know the questions: How many points? What did it weigh? What did you shoot it with? I sometimes wish we still had checking stations, as I’m sure many old timers do, too. It was like a reunion seeing friends with their deer, and seeing people you haven’t seen since the previous season.

Anyway, before I really put you to sleep like that Thanksgiving turkey (believe me I could, I have lots of stories and memories), let me leave you with some closing words and thoughts.

2COLUMN-photo---Mineral-BobAs you can tell, to me, memories afield are just as important as bagging our quarry. I hope you have many memories, and I hope  hearing a few of mine has helped you relive and revisit some of your special hunting or hunting-related memories. Maybe it brings a smile to your face, or maybe a tear to your eye like it does for me, because my Dad, my Uncle Frank, my Grandfather Warden, and all who instilled the hunting spirit in me are gone, but they have left the legacy to me to pass on.

So, to all you older hunters like me, and to all you young hunters, I wish you all good luck in the up-coming deer season!

But most of all: Hunt Safe, Hunt Ethically, and Make Memories!

Deb Spalding


A button is just a button, right?  If you notice how many buttons you rely upon, you might wonder what a button would say if it could tell others about its day. Buttons, like their zipper cousins, are so often taken for granted. Yet, they steadfastly secure our clothing without a bat of their eye. In our everyday lives, it seems they only garner attention when they are not where they are needed to hitch our clothing together or embellish an outfit.

To Helen “Tip” Mackley, a life-long resident of Thurmont, a button is more than just a button. Those that are part of her late mother’s large button collection are cherished keepsakes that commemorate her mother’s beloved hobby. They are souvenirs of times gone by.

DSC_1157Tip displayed the Ruth Holdcraft Mackley Button Collection at the annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show in September. Many of the unique buttons in the collection have a history, a heritage, and some even have a story. Tip’s favorites are those with the best stories.

At this past Community Show, Tip shared some of the buttons’ stories.  At a clothing drive that took place during World War II, her mom had sewn her name and address inside a coat she donated to the drive. The coat was purchased by a woman from Hungary. The Hungarian woman wrote to Ruth, and the two became friends. For years, they corresponded and sent buttons back and forth. There are several displays of the colorful buttons the Hungarian woman sent. If those buttons could, they would tell stories of travel and friendship.

In the battle of Iwo Jima. Tip’s uncle was a member of the Seabeas in the 5th Marine Division. One day, while the Marines were taking the air field, her uncle’s squadron was to stay below ground in a fox hole. Her uncle peeked out of the fox hole and noticed a Japanese soldier who was about to toss a hand grenade into their fox hole. Her uncle caught the grenade and threw it back at the Japanese soldier. Tip’s uncle sent her mother a button from the Japanese soldier’s coat. It was a Japanese officer’s uniform button. If that button could, it would tell stories of war and sacrifice.

Tip had another uncle in Ohio. A taylor from Austria had moved to his town and opened a taylor shop. When the taylor died, her uncle sent some of the buttons from his shop to her mother. If those buttons could, they would tell stories of serving a community in a new land.

While showing a long string of buttons, Tip called the string an Emory string. Back in earlier days, friends would exchange buttons and put them on an emory string. With a grin, Tip said, “When you reached 1,000 buttons, you were supposed to meet your husband.” If these buttons could, they would tell stories of friendship and possibly romance.

Tip’s father, Lloyd C. Mackley who passed away at age sixty in 1957, also contributed to his wife’s button collection. He was a member of several organizations. He picked up campaign buttons at different conventions he attended for work and volunteer interests. Also, Tip had another uncle in the service who was stationed in England in WWII.  He became friends with some firemen over there, and they gave some buttons from their company. Some of the buttons had sayings on them. If they could, these buttons wouldn’t tell you any stories, because they speak for themselves.

Some very colorful glass buttons are part of the collection. They were made between 1870 and 1875. They were made to match material and were only made during those five years. If they could, these buttons would tell stories in patterns.

In the 1940s, one button on display was worth $28. It has a moon that was added with a different material after the button was made. This very ornate button may be valuable today. If it could, it would tell stories about its value.

The Ruth Holdcraft Mackley Button Collection consists of approximately 100 display boxes of buttons. Tip said, “Mom just loved buttons.” She subscribed to a magazine called Just Buttons in the 1940s and 1950s. This publication can still serve as a resource for button collectors. Tip’s mother died in 1968. It is apparent that Tip enjoys sharing the stories of the buttons with others. The colorful, unique, and artistic buttons evoke “oohs and ahhs” from children, and admiration from adults. For those who express curiosity, they are entertained by Tip as she shares the buttons’ stories. Oh, the stories they tell.