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by Deb Spalding

Thurmont will “Think Pink” and glow pink, too, as light bulbs around the town shine pink for the month of October. But, that’s not all. Thurmont’s Main Street is pleased to announce their inaugural “Think Pink” event!

Thurmont Main Street, in partnership with the Town of Thurmont, is joining in the campaign to help promote awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research. Modeled after a Bel Air, Maryland, Main Street program that was started a few years ago called “Give Cancer the Pink Slip,” Thurmont’s program is based upon a huge partnership with businesses offering a discount on certain days, on certain items, or for a certain amount of time to shoppers in October. A percentage of sales during each business’ promotion will be donated to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund for cancer research. The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital was established in 1999 by Jeff and Patty Hurwitz, after Patty’s diagnosis of breast cancer. The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund is a fund of Frederick Memorial Hospital, a private, not-for-profit, community hospital with a 501 (c)(3) tax status. All contributions to the fund are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Visit for more information.

Businesses will be involved by not only hosting a coupon campaign, but also by displaying pink ribbons, decorating pink, and letting their pink light bulbs glow. This is an event that most certainly contributes to the cause that affects each of us, a loved one, or someone we know. Town residents and business owners can pick up a pink light bulb at the town office during business hours, 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.  The cost of the bulb is $1.00, with all proceeds also going to the Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund.  On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, businesses and homes will officially light up the town with pink lights at 8:00 p.m.  Everyone is asked to have their pink lights turned on each night during the month of October, from 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Town of Thurmont offices and buildings will also be illuminated with pink floodlights during the month, and Town Staff will be sporting pink shirts every Friday.

As Thurmont residents and business owners paint the town pink from all ends in October, there are some additional improvements to downtown on Main Street taking place. Jim Humerick, Thurmont’s Chief Administrative Officer, said, “We have a lot going on. In about five or six months, downtown will look completely different.”  Some of the improvements on the Main Street corridor are taking place because of grants that Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, Vickie Grinder, obtained to fund improvements, including benches, bike racks, and trash receptacles.

A Downtown Revitalization Project that includes sidewalk replacements is well under way. New decorative street lamps, benches, trash cans, bike racks, and parking meters posts will be installed.

After October’s dazzle of pink and the colors of autumn, think forward to November for the Thurmont Fall Gallery Stroll on Friday, November 7, 2014, from 6:00-8:30 p.m.  Local artists, entertainment, wineries, and food will entertain, as attendees are able to witness the recent improvements close at hand. Artist, Rebecca Pearl, will unveil her latest Thurmont print; and artist, Yemi, will also be at the Stroll.

Think Pink

The Thurmont Town staff are shown wearing their pink apparel in preparation for their Think Pink fundraiser throughout October. Pictured from left are: (front row) Tracy Schur, Wanda Stottlemyer, Debbie Ecker, Becky Long; (back row) Brad Weddle, Jim Humerick, John Kinnaird, Lori Kaas, Gary Hodges, and Lee Hanvey.

Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins Opens in Thurmont

by James Rada, Jr.

donkin donutsTraffic at the new Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins in Thurmont is steady as residents walk-in and drive-thru for a sweet treat. The new business opened its doors at the end of August, but its official grand opening will be on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

As popular as the new store has been, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been a Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins in Thurmont sooner.

“We looked at the area five or six years ago, but we weren’t too happy with the location we had,” said co-owner Brent Fauntleroy. “So we backed away and then got busy opening other stores.”

Fauntleroy owns and manages six locations with his business partner, Mike Kaminski. Together, they own four combo locations, one Baskin Robbins, and one Dunkin’ Donuts. The other stores are in Frederick, New Market, Taneytown, and Hyattsville.

Fauntleroy was named Combo Operator of the Year for Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins last year. Before becoming a business owner, he worked for Giant Foods as a produce manager for twenty-one years.

“I used to manage seven to nine employees and now we have over one hundred between all our locations,” Fauntleroy said.

He made the jump from produce to doughnuts and ice cream at the urging of Kaminski. He had wanted to own a Dunkin’ Donuts since he was a kid, but he needed someone to help him run the business and convinced Fauntleroy to become his partner.

“Thurmont has been waiting for our store,” Fauntleroy said. “It’s a treat. Everyone needs a treat.”

Besides doughnuts and ice cream, you’ll also find coffee, smoothies, ice cream cakes, bagels, and breakfast sandwiches. At any given time, you can choose from more than three dozen varieties of doughnuts and two dozen flavors of ice cream.

Fauntleroy says the store has already become a popular spot for Mount students. In addition, he’s considering opening earlier during the week to better serve his early morning customers before they head down US 15 on their way to work.

“I may start opening at 4:30 a.m.,” he said. “There seems to be a demand there.”

Currently, the store is open 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Pictured from left are employees, Matt, Danny, and Jean; manager Nick Cononie; owners, Mike Kaminski and Brent Fauntleroy; and employees, Sheri, Patricia, Michele, and Chasity.

Pivot Physical Therapy

by Ashley McGlaughlin

PivotAvailable at school, or even in the clinic, athletic trainers help student athletes return to the field from injuries. From a simple muscle strain to a torn ligament, athletic trainers work with the patients one-on-one to regain strength and range of motion. Licensed and Certified Athletic Trainer, Kristi Voigt, is sent by Pivot Physical Therapy to supervise the student athletes at Catoctin High School. One athletic trainer supervising the injuries of multiple student athletes at a high school is difficult to schedule around. This is why student athletes usually go to the doctor, clinic, or therapist to get treatment. Here in northern Frederick County and surrounding areas, as well as in nearby Frederick, people of all ages go to Pivot Physical Therapy.

“Many injuries come from wearing the improper equipment. A lot of cleats and sneakers are more for show rather than support,” Kristi Voigt explained. Improper equipment leads to shin splints, knee problems, and even fatal issues may occur. Physical therapists bring us outstanding information. Athletic trainers tell students to go to a rehab clinic even if they have a strain. What a lot of people don’t realize is that even a simple strain of a muscle can cause loss of strength, motion, and function. In most all cases, it’s better to send them to be safe.

Pivot Physical Therapy, which used to be known as Maryland Sports Care & Rehab, is a progressing business. Their goal is to provide professional healthcare for individuals with injuries on a one-to-one basis. They treat any injury; from breaking a bone, to recovering from an illness. Every visit, patients have an evaluation. That evaluation explains to the therapists what needs to be improved; this let’s every patient have a history folder to see the improvements made, and to see what specialized activities are for them to accomplish. The equipment that Pivot offers is especially made to restore strength. This opportunity allows the patient to get back to a healthier lifestyle.

Pivot Physical Therapy is also known for their supportive guidance during and after an injury happens.

A local student at Catoctin, and student intern for athletic training, Kareena Padgett, reported that, “This place [Pivot] has helped me get on my feet quicker; everybody who works there is so supportive throughout your injuries.” Along with other athletic trainers who work with patients, Kristi Voigt mentioned personally, “I care very much for the kids I work with.” A positive attitude and caring therapists lead to a healthier outcome, and get people back on their feet.

Visit for more information or call the Emmitsburg Pivot Physical Therapy at 301-447-1670 to set up your appointment today!

Cozy House of Curiosities

by Deb Spalding

pam millerPatricia Miller (pictured right), a seasoned collector of rare finds, has opened The Cozy House of Curiosities Antiques, Gifts and Collectibles in Sabillasville, Maryland. Collections of glass ware, vintage hats, vintage aprons, kitchen ware, and various other treasures are awaiting the curious customer in this cozy farm house in the country. You will notice the “open” flags as you pass the corner at Brown Road on Route 550. When the flags are out, Pat’s shop is open.

Pat’s not a newbie in this business. She started selling her collections about twenty years ago by renting space in the Emmitsburg Antique mall. Then she owned a business by the same name in a rented house (the “purple house”) near Cozy Inn in Thurmont. Now, in the farm house she formerly lived in before building a new home near it, you’ll find antiques, gifts, and collectible items that reflect her long-time collecting interests.

A lot of her inventory is from her own collections. Pat loves glass ware, and that’s a big attraction in the shop, with collections of Fire King, Fenton, Bake light, and Jadeite. You can’t miss the numerous salt and pepper shakers, figurines, Depression glass, ball creamers and pitchers, and granite ware. “Peanut butter glasses are popular right now,” said Pat. She even has a number of toys, linens, and Barbies on display.

Pat, who has raised three children, said, “Now it’s time to do this. This is what I love!”

The Cozy House of Curiosities is located at 16609 Sabillasville Road in Sabillasville, and is open weekends or by appointment by calling 301-241-3500 or 301-241-2095. Email for more information.

Thurmont Lions Club 2014 Christmas Ornament

The Thurmont Lions Club Christmas Ornament for 2014 is currently in production and will be ready this fall. This ornament is the sixth in a series of Christmas ornaments that have been sold by the Thurmont Lions Club. This beautiful ornament depicts one of the oldest historic buildings in Thurmont and is titled “Weller’s Tavern.” This large, beautiful stone house was built by Jacob Weller in 1805, and served as the first inn and tavern in Thurmont for many years. The house is currently the private residence of John and Carol Ford and is located on the corner of West Main Street and Altamont Avenue in Thurmont.

The ornament features the artwork of the very talented, local artist, Rebecca Pearl. As in the past, this ornament is a limited-edition treasure, with only 350 made, and at $10.60 (including tax), is expected to sell out quickly. This ornament truly makes an excellent, thoughtful Christmas gift or host/hostess present.

If you are interested in ordering an ornament for 2014, contact Lion Joann Miller at 301-271-3913 or email your order along with your name and phone number to

Reference their advertisement on page 13.


by Joan Fry

Pastor Commings retiresPastor Janet I. Comings will retire from the ministry on October 31, 2014.  Everyone is invited to her official retirement service at St. John’s United Church of Christ in Sabillasville, Maryland, on October 19, 2014, at 11:15 a.m. Associate Conference Minister, Marie Bacchiocchi, will preside. Pastor Comings will be preaching. Her last Sunday to preach at St. John’s will be October 26, 2014. She is also pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sabillasville.

Pastor Comings was installed at St. John’s on September 16, 2001. She has always been reliable, conscientious, and willing to go the extra mile for regular members and attenders of both churches, as well as local families who were in need of her specialized assistance. Well-known in the community, she could be seen putting up flyers at local businesses for church-related activities and going door-to-door with information concerning St. John’s and St. Mark’s events.

Her passion is cooking. She was instrumental in cooking suppers once a month for Hope Alive in Sabillasville and the homeless shelter in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, with the help of church members.

She has always been diligent concerning her pastoral duties, providing exciting programs for the youth and Christian social opportunities for the community, such as monthly senior lunches at St. Mark’s, free bingo evenings at St. John’s with free supper and prizes, Vacation Bible School for the community, and bi-monthly joint Bible study.  These events were open to everyone.

On Saturday, October 25, 2014, there will be a joint sendoff gathering for those who wish to attend. Drop by St. John’s Parish Hall in Sabillasville (across from the church) anytime between 3:00-6:00 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Pastor Comings will be greatly missed.








Pastor Janet I. Comings, who was installed at St. John’s United Church of Christ in 2001, will be retiring from the ministry on October 31, 2014.

Lewistown Elementary School fourth grader, Nik Contreras, is passionate about the NBA. That’s not unique until you realize it’s not the National Basketball Association but rather the National Bison Association that has sparked Nik’s curiosity!

According to Principal Shirley Olsen, Nik and his parents traveled to the Michigan Bison Bash, a one-day educational meeting. Nik attended lectures on the outlook of the bison industry, food processing, and bison veterinary medicine. Nine-year-old Nik is a junior member of the NBA, and the first junior member of the Eastern Bison Association. On September 11, 2014, Nik headed to the Capitol, with other NBA members, to meet with members of Congress, the Senate, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Nik’s mother, Cindy Burnsteel, is a division director at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. She says that through the NBA, Nik has had many opportunities to visit bison herds and meet with the herd managers one-on-one. Nik has visited seven bison ranches, including five privately owned ranches and two public herds: Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake and Custer State Park bison. “NBA members and the herd managers have treated him as an equal and answered any questions he had,” she said. Nik hasn’t met a bison producer who doesn’t want to talk to him about bison. Nik says, “Eat bison!”

Principal Olsen states that Nik’s learning, when combined with the work he does in the classroom, will prepare him to be college and career ready.

“His experiences before our country’s legislators and USDA staff with NBA members will enrich his classmates’ learning,” Olsen adds.

lewistown elementary student - meets congress






Nik is shown at the train station in downtown Frederick the morning he left to meet with legislator and USDA members.

Mother Seton School announces the appointment of Sister Joan Corcoran, D.C. as the school’s assistant principal. The position had been previously held by Mr. Gordon Love before his retirement in 2012. “I’m very happy to be joining the school team,” Sr. Joan said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Sr. Brenda, the teachers, staff, and parents in offering our children a quality, faith-based education.”

Sr. Joan was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, as one of seven children. A product of Catholic education, she went on to receive a B.A. in Business Administration from SUNY at Fredonia. Before joining the Daughters of Charity in 1982, she worked in the corporate world, but a desire to teach led her to change her career focus. She received a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, and embarked on a ten-year teaching career. In addition to teaching at the grade-school level, she worked in parish ministry and served in Brooklyn, New York, helping adults earn their GED.

Sr. Joan has extensive experience as a vice principal and principal, leading schools in New York and Delaware. Last September, she was assigned to the Seton Center in Emmitsburg, which provides supportive assistance to low-income families. She will continue to volunteer her time there in a limited capacity.

by James Rada, Jr.

DSC_1127Mrs. Herrmann, Colby Runge, Skyler Holman, Michaela Stull, and Taylor Garner dip ice cream during the opening ceremonies of the Show.

Jared White (pictured center) officiated, as Logan Willard and Dustin Hahn participated in the log sawing contest on Sunday.

Craft entries at the Community Show.

Kathy Foster with Thurmont Child Care is shown at her business booth on Friday evening.

DSC_1280Josie Kaas is shown with her Siamese cat, Ben, during the pet show on Saturday.

DSC_1173Rodman Myers served as Master of Ceremonies during the opening ceremonies of the Show.

Karen McAfee spent a long day on September 5, 2014, at Catoctin High School in Thurmont. During the morning, she helped check-in youth department entries for the 58th Annual Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show. The entries needed to be sorted by class and displayed.

At noon, her role became that of a judge, walking around the gymnasium and judging the entries.

After that, she continued helping get things ready for the opening of the show. By 7:00 p.m., as the halls filled up with people, she looked around with satisfaction at a job well done.

“I love the people here,” McAfee said. “I was born and raised in Thurmont, and I’ve been coming to the Community Show since I was born. It’s a big, family show.”

During the Community Show’s opening exercises on Friday evening, Tommy Grunwell, the former morning show host of WFMD, was the keynote speaker.

“I was walking around a little while ago, and I could see how much effort goes into this,” Grunwell said.

DSC_1321With the approaching bicentennial of the Battle of Fort McHenry and the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” much of Grunwell’s comments focused on the American flag and the National Anthem.

Dr. Theresa Alban, superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, also made a few remarks when she was introduced.

“The pride in this community is evident in so many ways,” stated Alban.

For more than half a century, the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show has been highlighting the role of agriculture in northern Frederick County and spotlighting the talents of area residents. More than $12,000 in prizes were awarded to the hundreds of exhibitors.

The weekend’s events featured livestock auctions, a petting zoo, music, pony rides, pet show, horseshow pitching contest, log sawing contest, baked goods auction, decorated animal contest, and more.

IMG_7377Members of the Community Show also said goodbye to one of their own this year. The contributions of Jean Myers could be seen throughout the weekend. Myers had worked with her husband, Rodman, for years organizing each year’s show, including this year’s. She passed away at the end of June.







These folks (pictured above) were on hand on September 7, 2014, to participate in the 35th Annual Horseshoe Tournament at the Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show, held at Catoctin High School: Gary Miller, Richard Brown, Roy Wivell, Rich Willard, Gary Hoffmaster, Anne Shubert, Jim Shubert, Carl Willard, Gary Willard, Dave Wivell, Justin Willard, Johnny Buhrman, Jeff Snyder, Dick Glass, Dale Kaas, Jeff Helfrick, Donnie Kaas, Jason Kaas, Scott Hurley, and RussieKaas.

Tournament winners were: 1st Place—Rich Willard and Jeff Snyder; 2nd Place—Dick Glass and Roy Wivell; and 3rd Place—Dave Wivell and RussieKaas.

by Labella A. Kreiner

This past month has been filled with exciting events surrounding the beginning of the fall season. Our sports teams have trained relentlessly the past couple of months to prepare for the games and competitions ahead.

The Thurmont and Emmitsburg Community Show was a great success, and many of our students participated and were supported by the members of our community.

The great Frederick Fair was held September 13-20, 2014, with many of our students participating in the 4H, FFA, and individual competitions. Homecoming is Saturday, September 27, 2014, with the theme “A Red Carpet Affair.” Discussions regarding prom have already begun. There is a lot to be look forward to this month.

Catoctin held their annual Spirit Week throughout the week of September 22-26, 2014. Catoctin students dressed to match the themes created by our student government. Monday’s theme was Maryland Pride Day, where students sported their favorite Maryland apparel; Tuesday was Tie Dye Day; Wednesday was Hawaiian Day; and Friday was Catoctin Spirit Day, in celebration of the Homecoming Game that evening. It was amazing seeing all of our students showing their school spirit by dressing up to match the different themes each day. Some of our students went all out by wearing the most apparel matching each theme. It was truly a sight to behold.

Our Web Design students have begun taking on the project of uploading our daily bulletin into a video, utilizing the PowToon program, and posting it on our school’s website every morning. This is a great way for student’s parents to stay updated with daily news and upcoming school events. In addition, some of our teachers have used this as a fun alternative to begin class in the morning as a reminder to students of what is coming up in our school.

In October, our football teams have a lot going on. Our freshmen and junior varsity boys will be dueling against Brunswick, Urbana, Middletown, Frederick, and Governor Thomas Johnson. Our Varsity team will be battling against Williamsport, North Hagerstown, Boonsboro, and Smithsburg. Though the beginning of the season has been rocky for all of the teams, there is no doubt that by the end of this month, these mighty cougars will be crushing their opponents.

With Colorfest coming up, some of our students will be active volunteering in the community. The Thurmont Leos will be teaming up with the Thurmont Lions Club to help serve food out by the Community Park. Also, there will be many of our students out working with the venders; so be sure to go out and support our students during one of the most festive times of the year here in Thurmont.

Our Catoctin Literacy Magazine has begun accepting applications from our creative students. This is a great opportunity for students with artistic talents, as it enables them to have another way to express themselves through word and image. The theme decided for this year’s magazine is “Dreams,” with no limitations as to where to go with the theme. The editors have requested both visual and literary entries, and plan on opening the visual applications to all students instead of keeping them reserved for our visual art classes alone.

As always, thank you for
supporting our students by staying informed. Also, thanks to everyone who came out to the Community Show to support the businesses and families in our community.

Next month will bring the closing of the fall athletic season, so remember to stay updated on our school’s scorings and rankings. There’s no doubt that more excitement awaits us in the future. Again, thanks for reading and supporting our students. For more frequent updates and information, check out our school’s webpage at and our school’s twitter @CatoctinHS. I pray everyone has a fantastic October.

If you have any suggestions or comments about this article, please feel free to email me at

by Carie Stafford

On Sunday, August 24, 2014, Venturing Crew 270 was walking down Main Street in Thurmont when the sound of crunching metal was heard from the Thurmont Carnival Grounds.

Upon arriving, the Venturing Crew found one vehicle on its side and another next to it with front end damage.  There were several injured people outside and inside the two vehicles:  thirteen patients and eight Venturing Crew members. Venturing Crew 270 relied upon their first aid training and went about helping the people that were injured the best they could, using only the supplies they had in their first aid kit.

Kelsey Stafford, President of the Venturing Crew, took charge and instructed crew member Chris Beard to call 911.  Making sure the scene was safe for the group to advance, they went about triaging, bandaging, holding C-spine traction, and assisting the walking wounded safely away from the area of the crash until EMS (Emergency Medical Services) arrived.

This was the scenario of an actual MCI (Mass Casualty Incident) drill. Trainings such as these are needed for EMS personnel to practice their skills like they would in a real emergency situation. “Train like you fight and it becomes second nature when the real world happens,” stated Jamie Drawbaugh of MFRI (Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute).

Since the inception of Venturing Crew 270 in 2007, there had not been an MCI drill in Thurmont. This training not only helps the Venturing Crew with their training requirements, but it assists the EMS departments with essential training.

The successful coordination and planning of this recent MCI drill goes to Becky Ott, EMT at Thurmont Ambulance Company 30. As a trainer, she has taught Venturing Crew 270 Wilderness First Aid and recently reviewed the new Jump Start Triage system. Putting those trainings together, the Venturing Crew was able to achieve positive comments, such as “exceptional job,”  “calm and in control,” and “great communication and discipline” from evaluators and emergency medical and fire personnel present at the drill.

During the drill, each area, Venturing Crew 270, Emergency Medical Services and Fire Services were assigned evaluators.  The object of the evaluators was not to criticize but to take note of things that could have been done better or smoother. It was a “good learning experience for everyone,” stated Assistant Fire Chief, Charlie Brown, of the Thurmont Guardian Hose Company 10.

Assistant Fire Chief Brown had no idea what Venturing Crew 270 was all about. “I am impressed with the amount of knowledge the Venturing Crew had about first aid, and I am pleased to see the younger generation involved in the EMS field.”

Jamie Drawbaugh of MFRI and an evaluator of the fire side of the drill stated, “I was very impressed with the extent of care the Venturing Crew did with the limited amount of experience they have.”  “It was a good drill, well organized, and a learning experience for all involved. Great job.”

Venturing Crew 270 would like to thank all those involved in making this MCI drill a success:

Thurmont Ambulance Company 30, The Guardian Hose Company 10, Emmitsburg Ambulance Company 26, and Graceham Fire Department Company 18. Dispatchers: Tracy German of Frederick Co. 911 and Jeremy Heflin and Kristy Dutrow, Supervisors at the Frederick Co. 911 call center. Evaluators: Master Firefighter/Paramedic Chuck Farkas, Montgomery County; Ann Messner, retired Chief of Emmitsburg Ambulance Company 26; Jamie Drawbaugh, MFRI; and Kiona Black, Department of Fire and Rescue in Frederick Company. Moulage artists: Sarah Pysell, EMT-P Thurmont Ambulance Company 30, and Ann Messner. Volunteer patients were EMS personnel, family members, and friends.

Venturers participating in the drill were: Chris Beard, Trevor Bostian, Keegan Coolidge, Jacob Dumbroski, Alex Mayhew, Jared Snyder, Devin Stafford, and Kelsey Stafford

Venturing is a program for young men and women, 14 (or 13 and graduated the 8th grade) through 20 years of age. For more information, please see CREW270.COM or email

(right) Pictured from left are: Kelsey Stafford, President Venturing Crew 270; Keegan Coolidge (standing), Boy Scout Troop 270; Leo Coolidge, victim; Rose Latini, EMS Incident Commander; Chris Beard, Venturing Crew 270; Emily Coyle, victim (back boarded).

(left) Emmitsburg Ambulance Company 26 crew John and Beth Ruppell, EMT-B, providing a secondary assesment on a car crash victim with c-spine traction held by Jared Snyder, Ventruing Crew 270, and Devin Stafford, Venturing Crew 270, assisting with the back board to package the patient.

30th Annual Convention — August 13-16, 2014, Memphis, Tennessee

by Jim Houck, Jr.

I was so excited when I received a letter from National Sons of AMVETS inviting me to our Annual National Convention being held in Memphis, Tennessee. I had always wanted to attend a National Convention, but it seemed like something always came up preventing it. I checked my calendar and it seemed that all the things I had booked for that time frame could be changed. I received a phone call from our Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS commander, Ed Stely, and he asked if I would like to attend the convention and share a hotel room with him, as his wife, Carole, was unable to attend the convention. I said yes, I would be honored to attend and share a room. Ed said he would take care of all the arrangements necessary for our stay. He called me later and told me all arrangements were made and we would leave on August 9.

This past February and unknown to me, Tony Wivell, whom I consider a good friend, asked Deb Spalding, the owner and publisher of The Catoctin Banner, a community newspaper for which I write a column about veterans, if he could use my column’s space in March’s issue for a surprise story he had written about me. Deb told him yes and when the March edition came out, I looked for my veterans story as usual, but was very surprised when I read what was in my column.

I was so honored to find out they thought I was deserving of all the wonderful words written about me. I then received an email from Deb Spalding saying that she received an email from Dennis Solis, webmaster for National Sons of AMVETS web site, asking permission to use the story on the web site. Deb said she gave him permission and I opened the website and sure enough there it was.

I then got word that the story was being used in our national newsletter. I started receiving word from several places that I had been nominated for National Son of the Year 2014. I found this incredible, because I was awarded Son of the Year 2014 by AMVETS Post 7 and also Maryland State Son of the Year 2014 at our Maryland Convention. I was deeply honored to be nominated for National Son of the Year.

Finally it was August 9, and I was on my way to meet Ed at AMVET Post 10’s parking lot in Hagerstown, Maryland. Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7’s 1st Vice, and my good friend, Dick Fleagle, was my driver. Dick was using my vehicle to deliver me to meet Ed and his vehicle. We arrived around 5:15 a.m. and shortly thereafter Ed arrived. We transferred my luggage to Ed’s vehicle and exchanged goodbyes and safe trips with Dick and were on our way.

Ed and I made a few rest area stops and food stops on the way, but after 13 1/2 hours of driving, we arrived at our hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. We took our luggage to our room and we were tired from the drive, so we rested for about an hour before we went to find a place to eat supper. We returned to our room after a bite to eat and then settled in for the night.

The next day being Sunday, and registration not being until Monday, we decided to go to Graceland and take the tour. We met up with friends that were also there for convention and decided to go to Graceland together. Ed, Rusty Baker and his wife Joanne, Brenda Stauffer, and I, loaded up in Rusty’s van and he drove us to Graceland. I have to say I enjoyed everything there immensely, and I am sure all my friends did too. I know that Brenda enjoyed being there, because Ed and Rusty had to get on either side of her and escort her out of one of the gift shops. Eventhough it was time to leave, she did not want to go. When we got back and parked the vehicle, we went to our hotels to rest and then Ed and I found a place to have supper and then returned to the room to rest for Monday.

Monday morning, we received a phone call from Rusty wanting to know if we wanted to get some breakfast and do a little sightseeing before registration that afternoon. We met at their hotel lobby and decided to find breakfast on Beale Street, since we had heard how great the food was there. So we asked the lady at the information desk how to get to Beale Street. The lady said go six blocks up Main Street and we would find it. We walked and walked and figured we had walked at least six blocks but we hadn’t found it yet. A man on the street (we had been warned about the street people) approached us and asked if he could help us. We said we were looking for Beale Street and he said, well follow me as that is where I am heading now. We again walked and walked and finally we were there. The man then told us he was living on the streets and he said he needed a shower and it cost $7.00 at the mission, we said we didn’t have any money and he said ok and led us to a restaurant called Miss Polly’s. I saw Rusty walk over and slide him a few dollars and I did the same and he thanked me and off he went. We had breakfast at Miss Polly’s and it was great food and great hospitality. We then did some sight seeing on Beale Street and Brenda had to do some Elvis shopping. We returned back at our hotel in time to rest a little and then catch a late lunch and then head over to the convention center for registration. When we were done registering, we were told Tuesday was a free day and the National Auxiliary was sponsoring a trip on Tuesday to St. Jude’s Children Hospital and we could sign up to attend for $10.00 and that would go as a donation to St. Jude’s.

Ed and I signed on and when Tuesday came we loaded onto the bus for the tour. That was probably the best $10.00 tour I have ever taken.

We arrived at St. Jude’s and were directed to the welcome center and asked to look around and enjoy the architecture and information area until a guide was available to give us a tour of St. Jude’s Hospital. I took lots of pictures and I think I read all of the information about Danny Thomas and how he started St. Jude’s and why he started St. Jude’s. I was really wrapped up in the welcome center when our guide showed up. I have had experience with guides before and I just thought they were all the same, monotone drone-like voices who are only there to get the tour over with and collect their paycheck on pay day. I will never think they are all that way again. We had a guide who, I think, was proud to be a part of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and truly loved what she was doing. She had a vast knowledge of all phases of the operation of St. Jude’s. I thanked God for getting this guide, because we passed a few other guides and there it was, the drone and their eyes rolling up, as if saying why do I have to do this job. I am sure our guide did not even consider what she was doing as a job. Well, I will say I learned a lot about St. Jude’s that day and in this man’s opinion I think any child with a life threatening diagnosis needs to be referred to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Wednesday morning, it was time for us to dress in our suits and patriotic ties and start our business meetings from 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. We then had two hours to go to our room and rest and then dress in casual attire for the banquet at 8:00 p.m. We enjoyed a dinner consisting of Bar-B-Q ribs and chicken with sides and dessert and open bar. The entertainment was an Elvis tribute and the Elvis look-alike did a good job. Brenda was in paradise trying to catch his sweat scarves and finally caught the last one he threw. We left the banquet around 10:30 p.m. satisfied with a good meal being well entertained.

Thursday morning, we were back in our suits and patriotic ties for an awards breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7 picked up some awards and Sons of AMVETS Squadron 9 picked up some awards. I heard the remark, I thought you would never stop accepting awards, from someone behind us. I was not awarded National Son of the Year, but was very honored to have been nominated.

A deserving Son from Florida received National Son of the Year 2014. We Attended a business meeting at 2:00 p.m. After the meeting, we went back to our room and changed and rested and then went to Westy’s for Bar-B-Q ribs and catfish. I think they have the best BAR-B-Q ribs and baked beans I have ever tasted. The catfish was very good, also, but I am partial to SOA Squadron 7’s fried catfish.

On Friday morning, we were back in our suits and ties attending business meetings. Afterwards, we rested and then went investigating more of Memphis and its charm. I took a lot of pictures of the parks and building in downtown Memphis and horse and buggies and of Beale Street establishments. I took pictures of sunsets and riverboats and barges and people, but when we visited Graceland, I forgot my camera and did not get any pictures of the mansion or contents therein. I hope Brenda will send me some picture of Graceland and I know she has plenty of them, because I don’t think she missed getting a shot.

Saturday morning, Ed and I dressed in our suits and patriotic ties for our last business session ending with the election of officers being held from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. We left the meeting and went back to the room and changed and decided to tour the parks and streets again ending up on Beale Street where got some lunch at Miss Polly’s and then made our way back to our room. We took our time getting ready for the Officers Dinner aboard the Riverboat Island Queen to begin at 7:00 p.m.

We had a great meal of Bar-B-Q ribs and chicken with sides and desert, I think that must be the standard banquet type meal in Memphis, and we were entertained by a group of musicians that were very talented. I went to the top deck a short time after I finished eating and enjoyed the night lights along the Mississippi River. After the fantastic meal and riverboat ride, Ed and I went back to the room and packed all our things except what we would need in the morning and loaded them in the car so we could get an early start in the morning.

Sunday morning, we left Memphis a little after 5:00 a.m. and about 13 1/2 hours later we were meeting Dick Fleagle, and after transferring my luggage to my vehicle and saying goodbyes and have a safe trips, I was on my way home.

I want to thank Ed Stely, Dick Fleagle, Department of Maryland Sons of AMVETS, Sons of AMVETS Squadron 7, and everyone else who made this adventure possible. I had one of the greatest times of my life and met some amazing people while enjoying myself so much. I am looking forward to next year’s National Convention being held in Birmingham, Alabama and I am hoping to take my wife, Joan, along to make up for not having her along to see her favorite star’s mansion, Graceland.

I would like to say in closing as usual: God Bless the United States of America and God Bless our American Veterans.

National Convention Memphis Tenn_ 2014 (42)




Jim Houck, Jr. at the National Sons of AMVETS Annual National Convention held in Memphis, Tennessee, August 13-16, 2014.

Fall is a wonderful time to get out and run! The ESP Performing Company is pleased to announce their 4th Annual Autumn 5K Run Fundraiser. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 18, 2014, at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. The dancers at ESP Performing Company always enjoy giving back to their community, almost as much as they love dancing. Last year, they were able to donate $900 to The Hurwitz Breast Cancer Fund. The Hurwitz Fund directly benefits folks in our community by helping breast cancer patients at Frederick Memorial Hospital. ESP proudly dedicates the 5K fundraiser in memory of Pamela Grey Hobbs, a former dancer at ESP.

The ESP Autumn 5K Run is always a ton of fun. The event is open to all levels of fitness. The course is on the beautiful campus of Mount Saint Mary’s University and includes both paved and soft surface terrain. There are a few inclines mixed in with quite a bit of flat, easy pathways. The ESP 5K is great for experienced runners and a wonderful opportunity for first-timers. First-timers should consider a “Couch to 5K” type plan to prepare for the event. These training programs can be found on a number of sites online.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at several different levels. For sponsorship information or for runner registration, please contact any ESP Performing Company Dancer or contact David Mitchener at 240-315-4379 or email  All runners registered by October 11 will receive a custom Gnarly Artly ESP Fall 5K T-shirt.

In addition to fundraising and community service, the Award Winning ESP Performing Company loves to dance! The company dancers have just returned from Groove National Dance Competition in Atlantic City, where they received numerous awards and special recognition. The dancers are already hard at work preparing for the 2014-15 dance season. Your first opportunity to see them perform will be Saturday, September 13, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. at the In The Street Festival in downtown Frederick. October will bring their annual crowd pleasing Colorfest performances. ESP will dance both Saturday and Sunday Colorfest weekend in the Thurmont Town Park. At the end of October, the dancers will return for a ghoulish performance at Halloween In The Park.  In November, the ESP Performing Company begins their competition season, which will take them up and down the East Coast, culminating with Dance Makers National Finals in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in June.

ESP Dance is currently enrolling students for the fall session.

ESP offers classes of all levels in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, acro, pointe, and Zumba.  Additionally, they are offering an open percussion class on Sundays, 2:00-3:00 p.m. For more information about ESP Dance or to register for classes, please call the studio at 301-271-7458 or stop by 15 Water Street in Thurmont, Monday through Thursday, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. The fall schedule is now available online at Check them out on Facebook.

by James Rada, Jr.

DSC_0280Two of Vigilant Hose Company’s most-active members are going to be getting busier outside of the fire company. Frank Davis and Tim Clarke have been promoted in their day jobs and are taking on more responsibility.

Fire Chief Frank Davis has taken a new position in Clark County, Virginia, as the director of rescue and medical services. It’s a brand-new position in the county, and he will begin work on September 7, 2014. He will commute back and forth between Emmitsburg and Clark County.

“It’s a small county, but it has a large farming community,” Davis said.

After working thirty-five years in the government, Davis retired to take this new position. He will also continue serving the citizens of Emmitsburg in the Vigilant Hose Company.

Vig-Tim-ClarkePresident Tim Clarke is staying with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office; but instead of being a captain, he was promoted to the rank of major in June. He is now in charge of operations at the sheriff’s office.

“It wasn’t a big change from what I was doing, and I’ve got a lot of good supervisors under me,” Clarke said.

Clarke has been with the sheriff’s office for twenty-six years and served as a captain for eight years. He applied for the job opening. When Col. Fred Anderson retired earlier this year, it caused a shifting of job positions in the sheriff’s office.

On Saturday, August 23, 2014, the “Crowning Jewels” of Thurmont were unveiled amidst a sea of umbrellas appropriate for the rainy day. Five additional murals were unveiled at the entrance to the Thurmont Guardian Hose Carnival Ground on the historic Trolley Substation building. Many members of the Thurmont Community and surrounding areas were present to witness this event along with county and state dignitaries. The event was sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club to celebrate their 85th anniversary in the Thurmont Community.

Last year for the 2013 Make a Difference Day project, the Thurmont Lions Club decided to do a “Beautify Our Town” project. Several Lions members along with co-chairs Nancy Dutterer, Joann Miller, and Shirley Long commissioned local artist Yemi to do a mural “Thurmont Rail History” depicting the Train and Trolley history of the area.

Earlier this year Lions Nancy and Joann felt that the project was not complete and jumped in and started working on the plans for additional murals to the substation. Once again artist Yemi was asked to do the murals according to the vision expressed to him by the committee. Yemi said, “Shirley, Joanne and Nancy were like sisters. Admonishing, encouraging and giving power so he complete this project.”

With funding provided by grant monies from the Community Legacy Grant through the efforts of Main Street Manager, Vicki Grinder, and Shirley Long along with Jenifer H. Almond, Project Manager of Division of Neighborhood Revitalization, grant monies were awarded to the town of Thurmont for this project. Thurmont’s Main Street Manager, Vicki Grinder said, “We worked together throughout the entire weekend to re-work the grant to include the project. During discussion, Shirley brought up Yemi. I had no prior knowledge of Yemi and asked, ‘What’s a Yemi?’” As it turned out, Yemi is a very talented and colorful artist who brought the project to fruition after 500 hours of work a project he called, “a labor for love, Thurmont’s precious jewel.”

The Acacia Masonic Lodge #155 of Thurmont also made a challenge to the Thurmont Lions Club and the Thurmont Community, that they would match up to $5,000.00 excluding any grant monies that would be donated toward this project. The town of Thurmont along with area businesses responded in an overwhelming way and the funding for the project was well underway. This truly is a Community project reflecting the power of a partnership between two community service groups, private citizens, business and public government to create a legacy for the Town of Thurmont and visitors alike.

The five murals depicted represent attractions, both current and historical, of northern Frederick County, Main Street Thurmont, two area covered bridges, Cunningham Falls, Camp David, Mechanics Park, Memorial Park, Catoctin Furnace, orchards and agricultural areas, as well as historical buildings and houses both past and present.

Ten years ago, the Thurmont Lions Club began the Trolley Trail Project, celebrating their 75th Anniversary and the vision of then Lion President Shirley Long and her husband Gene, combined to ensure the success of the refurbishing of the Thurmont Trolley Trail which was dedicated in September 2007. This one mile trail from East Main Street to Moser Road has become a mainstay in the lives of many, many Thurmont residents. Whether walking, hiking, biking or running, the trail is an important part of the Thurmont Community. This mural project for 2014 is not only a complement to the Trolley Trail but also a celebration of the Thurmont Lions Club’s 85th year of service to the community. Truly all six of the murals on the Trolley substation building are Thurmont’s Crowning Jewels.

As part of the celebration, Commemorative items will be for sale at local businesses in Thurmont. Those businesses include Timeless Trends, Browns’ Jewelry Store, Gateway Farm Market, Catoctin Mountain Orchard, Mountain Gate Family Restaurant, Catoctin Mountain Trains & Hobbies and Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery. These items include a limited edition signed print of all six murals celebrating the 85th Anniversary of the Thurmont Lions Club. Prints of the individual murals and a “Thurmont Established 1751” etched ornament are also for sale.

Lion Joanne Miller gave special thanks to the Lions who participated in the project and the community for their donations to fund the murals. For more information about the Thurmont Lions Club, visit


Untitled-1Documentary filmmaker and video producer, Conrad Weaver of Emmitsburg, announces that his film, The Great American Wheat Harvest, will make its Maryland debut at the Holiday Cinemas in Frederick, Maryland, on Thursday, August 28, 2014. The evening will begin at 6:00 p.m. with a meet and greet with Weaver, with the film showing at 7:15 p.m. There will also be a Q & A time after the film shows.

Weaver produced the documentary over the past four years that took him on a journey of more than 100,000 miles. “The Great American Wheat Harvest is a compelling story that few people know about. It’s a story about agriculture, and about the process of harvesting that helps get our food from the field to the table,” Weaver explains.

The film tells the story of five harvesting families and crews who travel from Texas to the Canadian border each year harvesting wheat. “At first I thought it would be a film about big farm machinery and beautiful landscapes—and those things are there—but it’s really a story about people.”

The harvesting families and farmers Weaver met over the past four years have become some of his best friends, and the film explains how they take incredible financial risks most people wouldn’t dream of taking in order to make a living. The work they do enables the rest of us to have food on our tables.

The Great American Wheat Harvest had its national Premiere at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on National Ag Day in March, and has since been screening in theaters and special events around the country. According to Weaver, thousands of people have already seen the film and the response is overwhelmingly positive. Weaver says he hopes people will have a better understanding of where their food comes from and what it takes to get a loaf of bread to the table.

In addition to the film, Weaver has recently published a coffee-table book containing beautiful photos of harvest scenes he and his crew shot while making the documentary. The photo book is available for purchase at the film website: and will be available at the Frederick event.

Weaver is releasing a DVD and Blu-ray disc in October that will contain the feature film, as well as many extra features not seen in the film.

For more information about the film, or to pre-order a DVD or Blu-ray, visit