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Besides a Catholic Saint who once lived here, Emmitsburg has a famous riflemaker in its history, as well as other artisans. It’s a town heritage that Town Planner Sue Cipperly would like to see developed in the future.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs and Cipperly told the Emmitsburg Commissioners that an effort was underway to find a place where a statue of riflemaker John Armstrong could be placed. Artist Gary Casteel has expressed an interest in creating the statue.

Armstrong is most famous for the variation of the Kentucky long rifle. His rifles are highly sought-after collector’s items today. However, he is not the only artisan or famous person to come through Emmitsburg.

The Eyster Family had a number of notable clockmakers, and John Hoover was also known for the clocks he made. One of them can be seen in the Maryland Room of the C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick. George Miles, author of the unofficial Confederate National Anthem, came from the town, as well as Stanley Krebs, a noted psychologist. Then there are the authors, artists, and notable graduates from Mount St. Mary’s.

“I would love to try and showcase more of the earlier history of Emmitsburg,” Cipperly said. She said that occasionally people bring artifacts and other pieces of Emmitsburg history into the town office, hoping to find more information about them. “We have a lot of people who know quite a bit about the history of the town.”

While there are already established sites in Emmitsburg connected with its religious history, Cipperly would like to see other areas developed. Depending on what is developed, a walking tour through town could be put together that includes the Elizabeth Ann Seton sites, fire museum, and other significant points of interest.

“There’s not a lot of towns our size that have the amount of history that we have,” said Cipperly.

While the developing Emmitsburg’s cultural history is on her radar, it is not something to pursue in the immediate future. The town has major projects ongoing with the Route 140 bridge, sidewalks, and town square going on right now.

Christine Maccabee

Everyone loves flowers, and who doesn’t love seeing young children having fun with milkweed fluff (shown right)? Fun was mixed with work in February, when members of the Green Team and their children spread wildflower seeds in the wild area along Woodside Drive. Last year, many beautiful flowers bloomed there during the spring, summer, and even into the fall. The tallest flowers were already there naturally, and those along with our seeding project  provided not only beauty for people, but essential nectar and pollen for pollinators and seeds for birds. There are even cattails in the ditch!

This year, the project is continuing. A mixture of twenty other wild native seeds had been previously mixed with fine play sand for better distribution over a large area. This mixture was put in multiple buckets and then distributed by adults and children over areas not seeded last year. It was a cold February day, but everyone had the right attitude, and the distribution went smoothly. Once that work was finished, Cindy Poole led the children in the fun of letting milkweed seeds and fluff fly!

Participants that day were Amie and Charlie McDaniels, Marilyn Worsham, Nova and Ily Rothrock, Cindy Poole, and Christine Maccabee.

The Green Team also has a Community Garden with plots for anyone interested in growing their own vegetables. Get in touch with

The Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet to recognize its members and to install its new officers on Saturday, February 4, 2017, in the department banquet hall in Lewistown.

The members and other guests recalled the fun that they had in serving the community in 2016. The company had a busy year, with 415 fire calls and 380 EMS calls, but the Lewistown VFD members had turned out to help.

“Without these guys, this would not have been possible,” said Fogle.

In recognizing the top ten fire and EMS responders, many of the same names appear again and again, demonstrating the dedication of these members. In fact, the top two responders in both categories were a husband and wife team that competed for the top spot.

The top ten fire responders for 2016 were: Wayne Wachter (125 calls), Beth Wachter (117 calls), Wayne Stull (116 calls), Steve Stull (95 calls), Donald Martin (90 calls), Michael Fogle (89 calls), Frani Wachter (84 calls), Mike Stull (80 calls), Vicky Martin (72 calls), and Vince Schrader (59 calls).

The top ten EMS responders were: Beth Wachter (157 calls), Wayne Wachter (156 calls), Wayne Stull (143 calls), Stephanie Wachter (127 calls), Michael Fogle (69 calls), Brianna Wachter (66 calls), Steve Stull (55 calls), Frani Wachter (53 calls), Vicky Martin (44 calls), Vince Schrader (44 calls), and Mike Stull (35 calls).

After the catered dinner, the members enjoyed a good laugh at their own expense as Steve Stull handed out the Oopsy Awards. Stull called them a “celebration of the human condition, and, boy, were you guys human this year.” The awards recognized members for getting vehicles stuck, running over a skunk, driving down U.S. Route 15 with their gear on the hood of the engine, and chewing up a mat with a snowblower.

Frederick County Director of Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Chip Jewell swore in the new company officers.

Line Officers: Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.; Deputy Chief Vicky Martin; and Assistant Chief Scott Martin.

Administrative Officers: President Donald Stull, Jr.; Vice President Chuck Jenkins; Secretary Karen Stull; Assistant Secretary Mary Frances Bostian; Treasurer Lena Stull; and Assistant Treasurer Lisa Monday.

Board of Directors: Paul Stull, Donald Martin, Scott Martin, Scott Stonesifer, Steve Stull, and Shawn Wetzel.

The company also remembered the members it lost in 2016 with a bell-ringing and candle-lighting ceremony. The members who passed away were: past chief Raymond Stull, Jr.; Rose Marie Williar Powell; Eve Ziglar; Janet Marsh; and Joseph Linton.

The company has been proudly serving Lewistown, Utica, and Mountaindale since 1970. That was the year Company 22 was formed and housed on Hessong Bridge Road. The first meeting was held on June 3, 1970, and the company purchased Engine 222 in August for $1,800. It was the first diesel engine in the county.


Lewistown VFD new administrative officers: Secretary Karen Stull, Assistant Secretary Mary Frances Bostian, Treasurer Lena Stull, and President Donald Stull, Jr.

Lewistown VFD new line officers: Deputy Chief Vicky Martin, Assistant Chief Scott Martin, and Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.

Photos by James Rada, Jr.

Grace Eyler

On January 26, 2017, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company (VFC) members and their families came together to reminisce and recognize their achievements from the previous year. The banquet was held at the New Midway Volunteer Fire Company.

Rocky Ridge VFC President Dale Kline began his review of 2016 by recognizing the members who passed away in the previous year, and called upon Pat Riggs to join him to lead a memorial prayer.

Betty Brown, born on September 27, 1933, was the last surviving charter member of the Rocky Ridge Fire Company’s Auxiliary that began in 1955. She spent her time serving food to participants at the “Penny Bingo Games.”  Through the years, Betty helped with banquets, dinners and the carnival. She passed on July 20, 2016, at the age of eighty-three.

Edna “Libby” Myers grew up in the Creagerstown area, but spent much of her time in Rocky Ridge. She operated her own hair salon, “Libby’s,” out of her home, located next to the fire company. Libby joined the Auxiliary in 1969, and became a member of the fire company in 1984. Libby even volunteered her time in-between appointments at the salon. She made homemade goods for dinners, banquets, and the carnival, but was most known for her “Chocolate Pudding Pie, made from scratch.” In 2008, she was recognized as an honorary member of the Auxiliary. She passed on December 18, 2016, at the age of ninety-four.

After Pat’s touching speech and memorial prayer, Pr. Jim was welcomed to provide a memorium.

President Kline then spoke proudly about the company, “This company has been in service for sixty-seven consecutive years, serving the Rocky Ridge community and surrounding areas very well.” He spoke about the many activities the company hosts each year, including the annual carnival; country butchering; Ridgefest; a Halloween party; and a community favorite, Santa’s Detail. Smaller benefits include bingos and gun raffles on a more frequent basis.

President Kline gave special recognition to the butchering volunteers. “I used to think these guys were doing it to be helpful, now I understand they come over just to eat!” he said with a smile and the entire audience laughed, admitting that he had been there to eat, too, and, “It is very, very good.” For this year’s butchering, they expect at least five hundred people to pass through for fresh meats and breakfast line.

Kline recognized Company 10 members who weren’t in attendance as fill-in for Rocky Ridge. He also recognized the Maryland State Fire Association, calling upon President Mike Davis to introduce his table. Also in attendance was Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner. Gardner said, “You really exemplify the idea of people helping people… you save the tax payers of Frederick County a lot of money through volunteerism and fundraising.” Also in attendance were Frederick County Councilmen Bud Otis and Kirby Delauter.

President Kline invited the President of the Auxiliary, Betty Ann Mumma, up to join him. “It’s just so good, as we all support each other and everything pretty much works out in the end. We are fraternal friends, and I think that is all that matters in this life,” said Mumma. She then presented Kline with a check in the amount of $20,000 from their fundraising efforts in 2016.

Linda Northrup and Bonny Hurley came forth to provide 2016’s awards. The first award presented was “Outstanding Junior Award.” The ladies mentioned that before this person became a volunteer for the company, she was already volunteering her time every Saturday night at Bingo. The award was presented to Brianna Kaas, who volunteered 64 hours of her time at various activities in 2016.

Next, the “Charles Mumma Firefighter of the Year Award” was presented to Paulette Mathias, who has been a member of the company since 1984. She was recognized for her work on several different committees, helping with the annual butchering, Holiday House Tour, and spaghetti dinners.

The “Robert Albaugh Outstanding Volunteer Award” was established because Robert loved all components of the fire company. In order to receive this award, a volunteer must be a member for at least three years and also work off of LOSAP system. This year’s recipient has been a member since 1994 and treasurer of the auxiliary since 1972. Having donated 382 hours during 2016, Betty Lee Mumma received the once-in-a-lifetime award.

Ronnie Eyler was presented the “Honorary Member Award.” He has volunteered for thirty years with the company, serving in many committees, as well as serving a previous vice president for the company. Ronnie, being a recognized driver for the company, has even been privileged to utilize the Model A Fire Truck.

Vice President Denny Mathias and Secretary Paulette Mathias presented the Five-Year Pin awards to: (5 years) Jerry Free and Steve Myers; (10 years) Franklin Free, Robert Free, and John Reese; (15 years) Debbie Eyler and Patsy Wetzel; Shirley Brown, Robbie Eyler, Jamison Mathias, Theresa Kaas, Clarence White, and Wilton Smith (20 Years); Tom Myerly (30 Years); James Willard and James Glass (40 Years); and Barry Burrier (45 Years).

Luke Humerick presented awards to the Junior Fire Company for volunteer hours. Humerick stated, “They’re a bunch of hard working kids; they are willing to help whenever we ask. We couldn’t ask for a better group to jump in and give a hand.” Those recognized were: Jolene Mathias (21 hours), Jacob Dolly (28 hours), Josie Kaas (55 hours), Breezy Combs (88 hours), Brianna Kaas (64 hours), Wayne Lewis (61 hours), Heather Hurley (54.5 hours), Robert Albaugh (57 hours), Hunter Hurley (43 hours), and William Kaas (38.5 hours). The tiniest of the junior company, Devin and Blake Youngermen, recieved an award as well.

Chief Alan Hurley provided company statistics and presented this year’s Chief Award. “This year, I started a little something to recognize our top ten firefighters.” He recognized Matt Moser (178 calls), Alan Hurley (155 calls), Bonny Hurley (140 calls), Christina Hurley (134 calls), Luke Humerick Jr. (99 calls), Kevin Albaugh (97 calls), Leon Stover Jr. (95 calls), Kerri Gasior (77 calls), Craig Hovermale (58 calls), and Wesley Burrier (53 calls). Steve Orndorff was recognized for being Top Responder for the Fire Police. The all-volunteer fire company tended to 233 emergency calls, totaling 1,300 volunteer hours over the year. The highest volume of calls occurred on Thursdays (a total of 38) and the busiest month for the company was November, with 31 calls.

President Dale Kline closed the ceremony by presenting the President’s Award. Dale reminisced about working with the recipient of the award for forty-five years. He said, “When I was nineteen, he [recipient, Dennis Mathias] was probably twelve or thirteen and was already on the fire trucks, learning how to pump water and so forth.” Kline then asked for Vice President Dennis Mathias to stand. Kline recognized that Dennis’ family, from parents down to grandchildren, have volunteered their time with the company.

Rocky Ridge’s Volunteer Fire Company is always looking for new recruits, however, it’s very clear that instead of joining a company, it’s really a family of volunteers working together for the greater good of Rocky Ridge.


(left) President Dale Kline presents Vice President Denny Mathias with this year’s President Award.

(below) President Dale Kline receives a check from President of Ladies Auxiliary, Betty Ann Mumma, in the amount of $15,000.

Photos by Grace Eyler

Allison Rostad

As another year has come and gone, Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company acknowledged their past year’s accomplishments at their annual banquet and awards ceremony, held January 28, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., in their social hall. Members, family, and special guests enjoyed a catered meal provided by Bollinger’s Restaurant, with background music DJ’d by John Zeigler prior to the evening’s speakers and presentations.

Emcee of the night, Eric Stackhouse, introduced special guests of the evening. Guests included members of surrounding companies; Mayor Don Briggs, who gave his appreciation to members when announced; and Eric Smothers, president of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association; among many others. Smothers began the evening identifying the importance of volunteers, “We’re the frontlines of our homeland security…you never know what’s coming to your front door, whether it’s a mass shooting, a major fire, or a horrific accident. Our volunteers are the first showing up to answer that call.” Nearly 93 percent of the nation’s Fire, Rescue, and EMT departments are volunteer, and 2,000 volunteers are in Frederick County, alone. Wishing the company well and much success in the upcoming year, Smothers turned the audience back over to Stackhouse who proceeded to introduce 2017 re-elected president, Mary Lou Little.

“We had another very successful year of fundraising,” Little addressed the audience as she took stage. Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company had been fundraising strictly through bingo for the past several years. The successes from their weekly bingos and their sporadic special bingos have not only helped to raise well over $300,000, but they’ve been able to reinvest money back into the Community. In 2016, they were honored to donate to the Eric Latini Memorial Ride Scholarship Fund, Emmitsburg Community Heritage Days for their fireworks, Emmitsburg Community Food Bank, The Lions Club Christmas food baskets, The Seton Center Outreach Program, and The Angels Above Scholarship Fund for Mother Seton School.

Selling over 1.3 million game tickets during bingo, Little said has helped pay the bills tremendously. “We continue to chip away at our mortgage. We started this building payment at $2.3 million dollars. We’re now in the $1.5 million dollar range,” Little enthusiastically congratulated supporting members. The ambulance company will continue fundraising through bingo again this year in the hopes to keep continual success.

Stackhouse and newly-elected 2017 Chief Amber Zimmerman took the stage together to give an overview of the past year’s stats and accomplishments, as well as the goals for the year ahead. Stackhouse noted that of the twenty-eight company members, there had been a combined 11,000-plus volunteer hours given, not including meeting hours for 2016. With a significant rise in calls run in 2016, of 1,056 total calls, volunteer hours were necessary, and the ambulance company’s members showed up not only willingly, but happily.

To meet the predicted increase of call volume for the current year, Zimmerman announced the planning phase for a “good neighbor” policy between the company and the National Training Academy. “The academy has graciously extended the offer to have qualified and licensed providers from the state of Maryland to assist us in answering the calls during their stay in our beautiful town,” Zimmerman shared with the audience.

The company also looks forward to implementing an official mentor program to help newcomers adjust, learn, and grow within the company. They’re also looking forward to replacing Ambulance 269 for a new, up-to-date, state-of-the-art ambulance, to better respond to calls and transport patients.

The evening brought several award presentations. Linda Miller was presented the Donald B. Bower Humanitarian Award. Pam Ellison received the President’s Award. The Jamie Eyler Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Chad Zimmerman. Seth Delarchic was awarded the Top Responder for Frederick County. Rookie of the Year was Ashley Grimes. Nicki Burriss received the Driver of the Year Award and Lisa Eichelberger was presented the EMS Provider of the Year Award. The Chiefs Award was shared between Amber and Chad Zimmerman.

Top Responders for the 2016 year were Amber Zimmerman, Chad Zimmerman, C.N. Burriss, Brandon Murdorff, Lisa Eichelberger, Rose Mercandetti, Rose Latini, Eric Stackhouse, John Ruppel, Brandon Burriss, and Ashley Grimes.

2017 Administrative Officers: (from left) Linda Miller, Vicki Long, Pam Bolin, Eric Stackhouse, and Mary Lou Little. Not pictured: Beth Ruppel.

2017 Operational Officers: (from left) Brandon Murdorf, Lisa Eichelberger, Ed Little, Chad Zimmerman, Eric Stackhouse, and Amber Zimmerman. Not pictured: Beth and John Ruppel.

Local Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) First Responders played important roles on Friday, January 20, 2017, in Washington, D.C., during the Presidential Inauguration. Neither political nor partisan in nature, their public safety duties included filling in at a District of Columbia fire station, due to the fact that the City’s normal call volume can increase three-fold on this particular day every four years, plus many D.C. emergency services units are committed to responsibilities directly associated with the day’s public events (from which they cannot be easily released). Emmitsburg personnel, along with other emergency personnel from Frederick County’s emergency services, were approved for their unique duty assignments (after having been cleared to serve by the U.S. Secret Service, the DCFD, and our own Frederick County Government / Department of Fire and Rescue Services).

Frederick County provided a total of four ambulances, two engines, two ATV’s, and a Battalion Chief. VHC members staffed Emmitsburg’s Engine 63 and were assigned to D.C. Fire and EMS Station 20, located in the Tenleytown section of the City (on Wisconsin Avenue, just south of Tenley Circle in upper northwest), plus special assignments like staffing an EMS ATV (all-terrain vehicle) near the Washington Monument and driving an ambulance stationed along the parade route.

VHC Chief Chad Umbel, who for weeks helped plan the support effort, said, “It was a great honor for our small department to be selected, and our people were treated very well,” adding that, “their day started before 4:00 a.m., not getting back home until 9:00 p.m., followed by cleanup of the unit. It was something our personnel are certain to always remember.”
Leading the crews were VHC Lieutenants Alex McKenna and Doug Yingling, along with President and former Chief Frank Davis, who drove the Engine. In addition to Davis, McKenna, and Yingling, staffing Engine 63 and accomplishing related duties in the Nation’s Capital were VHC Firefighters Matt Boyd, Vance Click, Greg Sterner, Shawn Wetzel, and Dave Zentz.
Adequate coverage here on the home front was planned for in advance, knowing that a number of VHC’s operational response personnel were helping to assure an orderly transition of American power—a hallmark of the nation’s democracy.

VHC Engine 63 became ‘Engine 906’ for the day, their assigned designation under the Washington Council of Governments’ regional emergency services plan (Frederick County units use the ‘900’ series while each county in the metro area has its own unique designation to avoid confusion in the event of a major regional disaster.

Pictured left to right are Matt Boyd, Shawn Wetzel, Greg Sterner, Dave Zentz, and Alex McKenna.

Members of Company 30, also known as the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service, Inc., held their annual awards banquet on January 21, 2017. This banquet was the first event held in their new event facility on Lawyer’s Lane in Thurmont.

Company President Lowman Keeney served as the master of ceremonies during the banquet. The banquet meal was catered by approximately fifty members of the Rocky Ridge 4-H Club and their parents.

Lowman Keeney expressed appreciation to all involved with the progress made by the company throughout 2016, including the demand of the construction of the new facility, and, in spite of that demand, members staying up-to-date on training and conducting the primary day-to-day operations of the busy company. (See article on page 1 about the new event facility for more information about the building.) The building took two and a half tough years to build. “It was a tremendous undertaking. Thank you to all the members,” said Keeney.

Keeney also acknowledged Venturing Crew 270 for completing a substantial stonework project in December 2016 that took 25 days and 739 volunteer hours. The stonework project was spear-headed by Keegan Coolidge. Another project by Venturing Crew 270 was led by its president, Devon Stafford, during which 112 trees were planted on the property.

Company 30’s secretary, Joyce Stitely, worked diligently over the course of a full year, from February 2016 to January 2017, to make 300 hand-made baskets to commemorate the opening of the new Thurmont Ambulance Company Event Complex. The sight of the baskets lined up for distribution at the banquet was worthy of appreciation and awe. Each attendee was able to exit the event with one in hand, as a commemorative gift.

Lowman introduced the recipient of the President’s Award, James Wolf, stating, “He’ll do anything in the world for you.”

Chief Dennis “DJ” Ott reviewed that Company 30 responded to 1,258 calls for the year 2016. “We’re busy. We run a lot of calls.” He reviewed that, in addition, members participate in, and conduct, a lot of training. They had just sent two ambulances to Washington D.C., and had helped prior to that with the Marine Corp Marathon. He reviewed that an ambulance was purchased by Company 30 in 2016. It cost $271,000, empty, before adding top-of-the-line equipment. He said, “We had a good year, but we can absolutely do better.” He thanked the Town of Thurmont employees and police for their support.

Chief Ott acknowledged the Top Five Responders: Jen Frushour (416), Rose Latini (188), Brooke Kennedy (184), Lisa Eichelberger (95), and Jared Snyder (93). He awarded individuals for operational support: Lowman Keeney, Denny Ott, Glenn Muth, Bob Lookingbill, and Walt Kelch were acknowledged. He also cited Joyce Stitely and Shirley Stackhouse for their dedication to the company.

Chief Ott presented the Chief’s Award to Judy White. About her, he said, “Without this person, we wouldn’t be sitting in this building. She stops what she’s doing at any time to help.”

Incoming officers were sworn in by the president of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, Mike Davis. He said, “The camaraderie found in this community shows what it used to be about for other communities (that have since grown large and lost the small-town closeness). We’ve wained from that, especially when we have to have 350 hours to be an EMT.” He assured, “I am behind you.” 2017 Company officers include: President Lowman Keeney, Vice-President Bob Lookingbill; Secretary Joyce Stitely; Assistant Secretary Shirley Stackhouse; Treasurer Judy White; Assistant Treasurer Dennis Ott, Sr.; and Board of Directors, Glenn Muth, Jim Wolf, Tim Wiltrout, and Dave Place. Operational Officers include: Chief D.J. Ott; Assistant Chief Rose Latini; Lieutenants, Brooke Kennedy and Renea Coolidge; and Sergeant Jen Frushour.

Life memberships were awarded to Kevin Albaugh, Sue Moss, Jason West, Sarah Pigula, Dan Harbaugh, and Eugene “Sonny” Grimes (recently deceased).

The invocation and memorial for active member, Franklin Lee Shriner, who passed recently, was given by Pastor Ben Hays of Life and Liberty Baptist Church in Walkersville.

Honored guests included Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird and his wife, Karen; Thurmont CAO Jim Humerick and his wife, Lisa; Thurmont Commissioner Wes Hamrick and his wife, Kim; Thurmont Public Works Butch West; Thurmont Chief of Police, Greg Eyler and his wife, Brenda; John and Maggie Doll of Gateway Farm Candyland and Liquors; Frannie Black of Catoctin Mountain Orchard; Frederick County Councilman Bud Otis and his wife, Rose; Frederick County Sheriff Tim Clarke and his wife, Becky, and Jason West; Medic 30’s Walt Kelch and Steve Adams; Frederick County Fire and Rescue’s Michael Davis and his wife, Ann; Mount Carmel Church’s John and Kathy Dowling; Guardian Hose Company’s Vice President Terry Frushour, Treasurer Bev Frushour, and Doc Simmers and his wife, Pat; Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company’s Dennis and Paulette Mathias, and Alan and Ethel Brauer; Wolfsville Fire Company’s Steve Nalborczyk and Tammy; and Vigilant Hose Company’s Carl White and Karyn Myers. The Middletown Fire Company was acknowledged as the fill-in crew during the banquet.

Thank you to local businesses for their support of Company 30 and donation of door prizes: Bollinger’s Restaurant, Hobb’s Hardware, Cousins ACE Hardware, Mountain Gate Restaurant, Weis, Jen’s Cutting Edge, Food Lion, At Home Primitives, No. 1 Nails, Direct To You Gas Station, Wendy’s, Gateway Candyland, Rocky’s Pizza, and Fratelli’s Pizza.

Company Officers are shown (top to bottom): (left) Vice-President Bob Lookingbill; Secretary Joyce Stitely; Assistant Secretary Shirley Stackhouse; Treasurer Judy White; Assistant Treasurer Dennis Ott, Sr.; (center) President Lowman Keeney; Board of Directors, Jim Wolf, Glenn Muth, Tim Wiltrout, and Dave Place; (right) Operational Officers: Chief D.J. Ott; Assistant Chief Rose Latini; Lieutenants, Brooke Kennedy and Renee Coolidge; and Sergeant Jen Frushour.

Top Five Responders are pictured top to bottom: Jen Frushour (416 incidents), Rose Latini (188 incidents), Brooke Kennedy (184 incidents), Lisa Eichelberger (95 incidents), and Jared Snyder (93 incidents).

Company 30’s Secretary, Joyce Stitely, made 300 baskets by hand to commemorate the opening of the Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Event Facility. A basket was given to each banquet attendee as a gift.

Grace Eyler

On January 7, 2017, Mother Seton School’s gym in Emmitsburg was the setting for Vigilant Hose Company’s 133rd annual banquet. While members and family members found their seating, GT’s Catering prepared a fresh meal to serve the crowd.

The invocation was given by Fr. Kreig from St. Joeseph’s Parish in Emmitsburg. Past president, Tim Clarke welcomed other fire company representatives, their neighbors from the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company, County Executive Jan Gardner, County Councilmen, Kirby DeLauter and Bud Otis, and other special guests. The three county representatives joined together to give their thanks to Vigilant. Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs stood up to praise Vigilant for their service in Emmitsburg. Mayor Briggs also recognized other members of the company, commissioners, recently-retired town manager, Dave Haller, and other Emmitsburg Town staff who attended the banquet.

Chip Jewell, Director of Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services, led the formal installation of Company 6’s 2017 officers. This year, Vigilant’s officers consisted of President, Frank Davis; Vice President, Dave Wilt; Treasurer, Steven Hollinger; Assistant Treasurer, William Boyd, Jr.; Secretary, Steven Valentine; Assistant Secretary, Thomas Vaughn; Board of Directors, Hugh Boyle, Elyssa Cool, Randy Myers, Douglas Orner, David Stonesifer and Carl White. Operational Officers include Chief, Chad Umbel; Deputy Chief, James Click; Assistant Chief, Chris Stahley; Captain, Joshua Brotherton; Lieutenants, Alex McKinna, Derek Rosensteel and Douglas Yingling. Fire Police include Captain Lynn Orndorff; 1st Lieutenant, Stephen Orndorff; and 2nd Lieutenant, Samuel Cool. Auxiliary Officers for 2017 include President, Tina Ryder; Vice President, Sharel Boyle; Secretary, Joyce Glass; Financial Secretary, Mandy Ryder; and Historians, Jennifer Boyd and Katie Davis.

Following the installation of new officers, a moment of silence was taken to remember the ones lost over the year during their Memoriam. In 2016, Vigilant lost five valued members including Charles ‘Shorty” Hartigan, Sterling Orndorff, Larry “ReRun” Ridenour, Carroll “Gene” Newcomer, and William “Billy” Wilson.  Tim Clarke fondly recalled special memories of each individual while recognizing the family members in attendance.

After recognizing those who passed, the company presented the video “The Fallen and the Brave,” a video developed by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, and produced by Dave Carroll in Emmitsburg. Many of Vigilant’s volunteers were a part of the production.

Members applauded the moving presentation, Tim Clarke lightened the mood with some humor about the Christmas season. He called upon President Davis to recognize the Auxiliary for all that they do for Company 6. “Without them, we wouldn’t be what we are. That is in every way. They are there during major fires, fundraising, and most importantly their financial support that is a major part of our budget… we don’t say thank you enough,” said President Davis. Auxiliary President, Tina Ryder, stood to recognize the accomplishments of her team and present Vigilant with a check for $45,000.

In 2016, Vigilant tended to 461 fire calls in Emmitsburg and the surrounding areas, with an average of eleven volunteers attending each call. The average time of response from the time of dispatch to being on the scene was a mere six minutes and fifty-eight seconds. The total fire loss this year was $93,500. The busiest days were tied between Wednesdays and Saturdays with 72 calls on each day and Monday earning third busiest with a total of 71 during 2016. Company 6 was busy with fundraisers, including the new “Six of Hearts Drawing,” an idea brainstormed by President Davis, being very successful so far.

Service awards were presented to volunteers who have consistently served the company — with the oldest members serving the Company for 75 years. Five-year awards were presented to Eugene Fauble, Patrick Reaver, Derek Rosensteel, Greg Sterner III, Shawn Wetzel and Douglas Yingling. Other awards for service included, Charles Stuart (10 Years), Christopher Ryder (15 Years). and Paul Kreitz (20 Years). Frank Rauschenburg celebrated 25 years, receiving “Life Membership.” Other Life Members included John Glass (30 Years); Steve Hollinger and Hugh Boyle (35 Years); Herb Click, Jr. (40 Years); Larry Glass (45 Years); Michael Orndorff and Roland Sanders (50 Years); Patrick Boyle (65 Years); John Hollinger (70 Years); and Tom Hoke, who was honored with 75 years of service.

The President’s LOSAP awards were presented to Dave Wilt (67 Points), Elyssa Cool (73 Points), Steve Hollinger (79 Points), Brandon Burris (82 Points), Thomas Vaughn (87 Points) Jim Click (88 Points), Matt Boyd (98 Points), Bill Boyd (119 Points), and Doug Yingling (124 Points). Joshua Brotherton received top recognition with a total of 148 points accumulated through the year. Randy Myers received the “President’s Award” from Frank Davis for his time given to the company during 2016.

Chief Umbel recognized Top Ten Responders: Tom Ward (121 calls), Chuck Stuart (123 calls), Brandon Burris (125 calls), Alex McKenna (129 calls) Hugh Boyle (131 calls), Derek Rosensteel (145 calls), Dave Zentz (178 calls), Matt Boyd (182 calls), Frank Davis (209 calls), and Top Responder, Cliff Shriner (224 calls).

Chief Umbel also recognized Vigilant’s top Fire Police Responders including Tom Vaughn (43 calls), Sam Cool (60 calls), and Steve Orndorff (79 calls).

The Outstanding Service Award was presented to former Emmitsburg Town Manager, Dave Haller. Tim Clarke explained, “This individual went above and beyond to make sure that the fire company had the town’s backing and shared the town’s resources to the fullest,” he explained that without Haller’s assistance and expertise during his seventeen years of tenure with the town, projects like the demolition and rebuilding of the company’s administrative and volunteer facilities, “…would have been delayed and gone over budget.”

Honorary memberships were presented to Jim Hobbs, Jr., Dave Hobbs, Andy Hobbs, and Steve Hobbs for the continued support they’ve provided to Vigilant not only financially, but with needed materials including the refrigerated truck used each year for Spring Fling.

The Training Award was presented to Jeffery Redding who retained 140 hours throughout the past year.

One of the most honorary awards given at the annual banquet is the “Hall of Fame Award.” Former President Clarke said, “Every year, a member is recognized for their lasting contributions to our fire department, community and region.” The nominees are voted on by the other Hall of Fame members who have already been inducted in previous years. This year’s recipient was Carl White who has been a member since September 14, 1982. He has served many roles, working both in operations and administrative. To this day, Carl is still an active responder and EMT, and a certified CPR instructor who trains members of the company and members of the community.

Before members enjoyed entertainment from the band, First Class, the evening closed with Tim Clarke commenting on proposed considerations by Frederick County Officials regarding a Fire Tax, “I can’t stress this strongly enough. Implementing a fire tax will seriously curtail our fundraising events. History has shown no matter how often we educate our citizens, that a Fire tax is really an EMS tax.” He explained that people believe that since they are already paying a fire tax, they deem it unnecessary to make an additional contribution to the fire company when there are other non-profit organizations who are competing for the same dollar. “I firmly believe and support the current project initiated by Chief Owens to move our fire and rescue fleet into a program that charges our company monthly or yearly lease fees and incorporates a replacement formula that helps the entire county fleet remain functional.”

Frank Davis inducted Carl White into Vigilant’s “Hall of Fame” on January 7, 2017.

Tina Ryder, Auxiliary president presented Frank Davis with a check for $45,000 from the year of fundraising, during the Vigilant Hose Company’s Banquet.

Jehu B. Shown

Members of the AMVETS Post 7 in Thurmont, Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of AMVETS, and the AMVETS Riders offered their service to others during the holiday season.

Members provided camaraderie to senior residents at Homewood at Crumland Farms in Frederick and at St. Joseph’s Ministries in Emmitsburg.

Residents at North Point Homeless Veterans Program in Hagerstown were treated to holiday cookies, and members visited with patients at the Martinsburg Veterans Hospital Center and distributed “We Care” kits, Beanie Babies, and Bobble Heads.

A Giving Tree to help less fortunate families, a Toy Drive to benefit pediatric patients at Frederick Memorial Hospital, and Care packages for active military personnel helped the jolly man in red to provide a memorable holiday to others.

A Children’s Christmas Party was held for the children and grandchildren of members, as well as for children of local military units. The children were delighted when Santa Claus appeared to hear each child’s wish list. The children received treats as well as small gifts during the party.

Contributions were also made to the Wreaths Across America program to help remember and honor deceased Veterans during the holiday season.

More than $6,690 was donated to include the activities above, as well as to support homeless Veterans, children’s hospitals, a local food bank, and families in need.

Susan Shown, Pat Superczynski, Donnie McKinnon, Mary Forrest, Jehu Shown, Mary McKinnon, James Payne, and Richard Fleagle are shown at Homeland at Crumland Farms.

North Point Homeless Veterans Program: Sandi Reed-Burns presents holiday cookies to Program Supervisor Jennifer Drake for program clients.

Experience Art in Motion! Join in for the ESP Performing Company Showcase Fundrasier on Saturday, February 25, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. in the Catoctin High School auditorium. This is your opportunity to experience the award-winning ESP Performing Company live onstage in your hometown community. ESP is thrilled this year to share the stage with Thurmont Spirit Show Choir and “The Bald Ballerina.”

Maggie Kudirka, “The Bald Ballerina,” has been dancing since she was four years old. In 2014, while dancing with The Joffrey Ballet Concert Group, Maggie was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Maggie shares her journey and speaks to groups around the country to help bring awareness about metastatic breast cancer. Maggie also teaches master ballet classes and continues to dance while fighting this terminal disease.  You can follow Maggie on her Bald Ballerina Facebook page.

The Thurmont Spirit Show Choir (TSSC) is a performing arts group under the direction of Berna LaForce. All of the TSSC members attend Thurmont Middle School.  They perform at school functions and compete both locally and regionally. Last year, they brought home many first-place awards. This year, the group will be competing in Martinsburg, West Virginia; Hershey, Pennsylvania; and Myrtle Beach, South Caronlina. If you have not seen them perform, you are in for a treat!

The choreography and dances presented by ESP in the showcase have already won numerous awards this season. They are excited to present these performances to their community, as well as continuing to travel the east coast this competition season.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Concessions will be available, as well as 50/50 drawings and gift basket raffles. Tickets are available for purchase in advance. Student tickets are $5.00 and adults are $10.00. Tickets may be purchased by contacting ESP Dance at 301-271-7458, by visiting the studio at 15 Water Street, or by contacting any ESP Company dancer or TSSC member. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door: $6.00 for students and $12.00 for adults. Please join them on February 25 at Catoctin High School, and help keep art alive in Thurmont!

Also keep in mind that registration is still open for spring 2017 classes at the studio, culminating with their annual recital at the Weinberg Center on Saturday June 17, 2017. All levels of classes are available.  ESP specializes in all types of dance, including tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, acro, and pointe. Participating in dance class is a great way to build confidence, strength, and to have tons of fun!

Contact the studio office at 301-271-7458 or for further information. Check them out on Facebook at ESP Dance and ESP Performing Company, and view their advertisement on page 31.

ESP Performing Company (from left, front to back): Annaliese Doolitttle, Tierney Burns, Adeline Ridenour, Georgia Wiles, Maria Fry, Evie Price, Abigail Shriner, Rose Weedy, Claire Daly, Olivia Gamer, Kristen Felichko, Olivia Ecker, Kimberly Stanley, Jaiden Pastick, Mackenzie Garrett, Julie Beech, Jack Estep, Robin Tucker, Nikita Burris, Sophia Daly, Lyla Zelenka, Catherine Estelle, Ashlyn Summerall, Victoria Stanley, Emily Mitchener, Lucy Estep, and Cheyenne Favorite.

Maggie Kudirka “Bald Ballerina.”

The Frederick Woman’s Civic Club, Inc. 56th Annual Mardi Gras Musical Madness 2017 semi-formal gala will be held Saturday, March 11, 2017, at the Francis Scott Key Holiday Inn, located at 5400 Holiday Drive in Frederick. Proceeds will benefit the James M. Stockman Cancer Institute, scholarships, non-profits and historic preservation. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m., with a chance to bid on a variety of exciting and high-end Silent Auction offerings; a presentation of the Royal Court of the three Kings of Mardi Gras, the Queen and her Princesses at 7:00 p.m.; a delicious food-tasting, from 8:00-9:30 p.m.; and music and dancing, from 8:00-11:00 p.m. Costumes are optional but encouraged.

The Mardi Gras gala festivities began on January 6, 2017, with Twelfth Night – Kings of Mardi Gras at the Steiner House in Frederick. The three Kings presented were: Dr. Mark Soberman, King Proteus; James Bongard filled in for his grandfather, John Bongard, Rex-King of Mardi Gras; and Justin Saltzman, King Comus. The Twelfth Night event was also attended by past Kings of Mardi Gras, Frederick Woman’s Civic Club, Inc. members, and guests.

The Princess Tea was held on Sunday, January 22, 2017. The Mardi Gras Queen, Samantha Smith, a junior at Catoctin High School and the daughter of Terri Bougher and the late Samuel Smith, was selected through a charm ceremony at the tea. A wrapped box, containing a charm provided by Colonial Jewelers, was selected by each of the fifteen princesses. The princess with the crown in her box is Queen of Mardi Gras. She will receive a $1,000 scholarship provided by Frederick County Bank of Frederick.

Frederick’s pre-Lenten Mardi Gras began fifty-six years ago to enable the local Woman’s Civic Club to buy the Steiner House on West Patrick Street for its headquarters and to save the house from being demolished. The Steiner House was built in 1807 by local resident, Stephen Steiner, who also designed and built the bell tower at Trinity Chapel on West Church Street.

For additional information, including tickets, visit, or call 301-663-5875. Tickets are also available at Eventbrite Frederick Events/56th Annual Mardi Gras. View the advertisement on page 10.

56th Annual Mardi Gras princesses (from left): (seated) Bianca Bonny, senior at Urbana High School; Julia Cool, freshman at Mount St. Mary’s University; Samantha Smith, Queen of Mardi Gras, junior at Catoctin High School; Peytyn Lofland, junior at Tuscarora High School; Rylee Duncan, senior at Walkersville High School; (standing) Sarah Holland, senior at Brunswick High School; Alayna Grossnickle, junior at Brunswick High School; Katerina George, attends Excelsior Academy/FCC; Maya Aylor, junior at Middletown High School; Wynnanne Walters, senior at Brunswick High School; Erica Craemer, junior at Brunswick High School; Chelsea Burke, junior at Middletown High School; Natalie Pinto, senior at Middletown High School; Catherine Oakley, junior at Walkersville High School. Not pictured: Mackenzie Wright, junior at Walkersville High School.

James Rada, Jr.

When Thurmont Police Officer Tim Duhan showed up at the town office on October 25, 2016, he thought he was there to recognize his fellow officers who had investigated the pipe bomb that had been planted on his police vehicle.

“They didn’t tell me why I needed to be there,” Duhan said. “The chief just told me to wear my class A (uniform).”

He was happy to go to recognize his fellow officers who had helped discover who had placed a homemade bomb on his car earlier in the year. However, after that recognition, the Thurmont Lions Club presented Duhan with their Police Officer of the Year Award. “It was unexpected, and a nice surprise, seeing as how I only expected to be there to support my department.”

Duhan has been with the Thurmont Police Department for four years. Before that, he had served as a police officer in Frederick City and a small department in Prince Georges County.

“Coming to Frederick from Prince Georges County kind of felt like we had left the city and come to the country,” Duhan said. “Moving from Frederick to Thurmont felt like that again. Things move slower, the volume of calls isn’t as much, and the crime rate is lower.”

Duhan actually retired in 2011, but after a year and a half, he said his wife told him that he needed to go back to work to keep busy. Duhan thought about it and went to see Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler. Duhan decided that he wanted to work with a police canine if he went back into policing, and he asked Eyler what the chances were. Eyler told him that he would have to make the proposal.

So Duhan became a Thurmont police officer. He also researched police canines and put together a proposal that he presented to the Thurmont Commissioners. They signed off on the idea, and Duhan was given Thurmont’s police canine.

Buddy is a two-and-a-half-year-old narcotics dog and Duhan’s near-constant companion. He is one of about a dozen police dogs that serve in Frederick County.

Buddy came to the department from Washington State in June 2013. It can cost around $10,000 to get a trained and certified drug dog, but Duhan knew a trainer who offered him a deal, which the town commissioners approved to give the police another tool to help fight the town’s drug problem.

When on the job, Buddy rides in the rear of Duhan’s vehicle, which is equipped with a heat alarm for Buddy’s protection.

Duhan said that being a police officer was something that he always wanted to do. He tended to be larger than many of the other kids with whom he grew up and pretty easy going.

“I never liked bullies, though, and if I ever saw someone bullying someone else, I had to step in.”

Although naturally inclined for law enforcement, he was told that he couldn’t become an officer unless he had military experience or a college degree. He joined the military in order to get that needed experience.

When he got out of the service, he became a police officer in Prince Georges County. Although his community was small, it was busy.

“It seemed like there was a car chase once a week, with drugs, shootings, and burglaries,” recalled Duhan.

When Duhan’s first child was born, he realized that he didn’t want her growing up in such a dangerous area. That is when he transferred to Frederick City and set up roots in Thurmont.

“I love Thurmont. It’s a great community. I go to church here and have friends. I know the people. When I stop a car for something, it usually turns out to be someone I know.”

He also noted that Thurmont has been a good place to raise his two children and that “Ninety-nine percent of the people here are good people.”


Thurmont Police Officer Tim Duhan, awarded Police Officer of the Year by the Thurmont Lions Club, is pictured with narcotics dog and steady companion, Buddy.

Photo by Stephanie Freniere

The Town of Thurmont Streets and Parks Department, the Thurmont Green Team, the Frederick County Forest Conservancy Board, the Maryland Forest Service, and approximately twenty additional volunteers gathered together on November 5, 2016, for a tree planting project in Thurmont Community Park. Thurmont’s Community Park is located on a 24-acre site on Frederick Road. The park is a picturesque oasis of towering trees, providing a shaded place to play, a walk-on-the-level path that winds through the park, a gathering spot in one of the pavilions, or a rest to enjoy nature’s beauty. The park is a hub for the annual Catoctin Colorfest, which attracts up to 100,000 visitors on the second weekend in October each year. Halloween in the Park, the Lions’ Club Easter Egg Hunt, and a holiday lights display are some of the other popular events that are held in the park each year.

The park is well cared for and beloved by the local community, but its trees are being impacted by the invasive emerald ash borer that is devastating ash trees in the United States. The Maryland Forest Service evaluated the park in the winter of 2016, and found a high percentage of the trees in the park are ash and very susceptible to the borer.

Through additional field work, partnerships, and designated funding, the town developed a plan to manage this threat to the very popular park. High-risk trees are currently being removed, healthy ash have been treated to protect from borer attacks, and a variety of other trees are being planted.

Twenty-five trees were planted in locations throughout the park, paying particular attention to areas where trees were lost and where shade trees would create a more pleasant environment for park visitors. Areas near playgrounds and near the heavily used exercise trail were identified as areas where more shade is needed. The trees planted were a native mix of serviceberry, red maple, hackberry, and pin oak, that will mature to provide shade and many environmental services to the community.

It was important to plant a diversity of tree species to reduce the risk of such a devastating event like the emerald ash borer in the future from impacting the park and town resources so extensively. Many hands made easy and satisfying work of the planting. The Thurmont Streets & Parks personnel provided trucks to haul the trees, necessary tools, water, and mulch for the trees to have a strong start in their new locations.

Many young persons enjoyed the effort and did their share of the work while learning how to properly plant the potted trees. Instructions were provided by Maryland Forest Service Forester Becky Wilson, who also supervised the progress of the project. A biodegradable tree shelter was installed around each tree to prevent damage by weed eaters, deer, and rabbits. The trees were provided by the Maryland Forest Service through the TreeMendous Maryland program.

The Thurmont mayor and commissioners read a proclamation at their November 1 meeting, declaring November 5 as Arbor Day in Thurmont. The mayor and commissioners decided some time ago to be proactive in the fight against the emerald ash borer and to begin an extensive program to save as many trees as possible, while planting new trees to replace the ones lost. Plans are already in place to host another tree planting project in the spring. In addition, the mayor and commissioners are implementing a “Donor Tree” program, allowing residents to purchase a tree to be planted in the park to recognize a loved one.


Maryland Forest Service Forester Becky Wilson demonstrates the proper technique to plant the new trees, while young Emmet Euliano (far left) assists. Steve Parsons (back, left), Elsa Parsons (far right), Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick (taking pictures), and additional volunteers learn the technique before planting trees throughout the Community Park.

Drumroll, please…. Thanks to all of the generous Thurmont Think Pink Business Contributors, and all who patronized these businesses, as well as to all who purchased Thurmont Think Pink “Gateway To The Cure” merchandise, and all those who participated in the Thurmont Think Pink 5K! On Tuesday, November 29, 2016, the Thurmont Think Pink Third Annual check total was $13,675! Add to that the proceeds from the Catoctin High School Football, Cheerleading, and Crazies’ Pink Out Night, which totaled $750, and the result is a whopping $14,425, all donated to the Patty Hurwitz Fund at Frederick Memorial Hospital.

The Patty Hurwitz Fund at FMH brings a brighter tomorrow for all of those diagnosed with breast cancer or are currently undergoing treatment at Frederick Memorial Hospital.


Pictured from left are Bill Buehrer, Thurmont Commissioner; Vickie Grinder, Thurmont Main Street Manager; Jonathan A. Moles, Gateway Orthodontics; Jim Humerick, Thurmont Chief Administrative Officer; Wayne Hooper, Thurmont Commissioner; Patty Hurwitz; Marty Burns; Thurmont Commissioner, Wes Hamrick; Thurmont Commissioners, John and Maggy Doll, Gateway Candyland and Liquors; Niki Eyler, Eyler’s Stables and Flea Market; and Jonathan Bramson, Catoctin Veterinary Clinic.


Representatives of Catoctin High School Football Team (from left) Owen Brown, Eli Frei, Shane Biser, Tristan Rice, and Chase Wilhelm, are pictured with Patty Hurwitz of the Patty Hurwitz Fund at FMH.