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Deb Abraham Spalding

It’s common-place for His Place Auto Repair and Restoration Center owner, Billy Kuhn III, and his repair professionals to completely strip down a vintage Corvette, or any collectible auto for that matter, to its frame and restore it entirely to new, or better-than-new, from the wheels to the engine to the paint and detail. At His Place, these projects are in process alongside vehicles that are being routinely serviced with oil changes and brake repairs.

The business runs like a well-oiled… well you know… automobile! Billy’s father, William C. Kuhn, Jr. (a.k.a. Big Daddy), started the business in 1969 due to his love for classic cars, especially Corvettes. Billy III has been a part of the business all of his life, while the station moved from its original location in Germantown, Maryland, to the family’s farm on Sixes Bridge Road in Emmitsburg, to its current 6,000 square-foot shop located on Creamery Way in Emmitsburg. These days, the business is under the ownership of Billy III, while Big Daddy continues to oversee the business as an advisor, despite being in “retirement.”

Billy III strives to maintain the standards created by Big Daddy, from quality operations and customer service to show-level restorations to common repairs done right the first time. Billy III explained that the restorations at His Place recapture the new look of the auto while providing new technology that allows for improved performance under the hood and new toys at the driver’s fingertips. One vehicle had been enhanced with a backup camera and a touch screen interface.

His Place has a national draw for restoration clientele and has even been chosen by some of the rich and famous to service some well-known celebrity’s vehicles, and well-known vehicles that are celebrities unto themselves. His Place mechanics and employees treat customers the way they deserve to be treated.

Billy III explained, “We work with the customer. Sometimes with really big repairs, we prioritize critical repairs to allow for budget restraints. We create a maintenance plan.”

Billy feels that the most rewarding facets of running the business occur when delivering a shiny, like-new, completed renovated vehicle to a satisfied customer; when helping with a repair that makes a customer’s life easier; and when people show their appreciation with gifts. “Food and drinks go a long way when you’re a mechanic, especially when people take the time to bake.”

The name of the business, His Place, found it’s meaning from Big Daddy’s desire to have “his place” and a reference to the creator, His place. In respect to a more divine contribution, Billy III is proud that he’s providing jobs in our local area since all His Place mechanics reside in the local vicinity. He’s also proud to support the community by contributing to local charities, schools, and churches with proceeds resulting from the annual His Place Car Show events.

His Place Inc., is a full service, state-of-the-art automotive repair facility, a Maryland State Inspection Station, AAA Certified, a NAPA AutoCare Center, and employs tenured mechanics who are ASE Certified. His Place provides one of the best warranties in the area against defects and failure on all parts and labor purchased and performed at His Place (some exceptions may apply).

For more information about His Place, please call 301-447-2800, visit the facility in person at 20 Creamery Way in Emmitsburg, or visit online.

Billy Kuhn III, owner, and Liz Gamble, Chief Executive Officer, are shown with Gracie and Kasha (dog hosts) at His Place Auto Repair in Emmitsburg. His Place, Inc. celebrates fifty years of serving the community this year.

by James Rada, Jr.


January 2019 Meeting

Emmitsburg Approves Forestry Management Plan

The Emmitsburg commissioners approved a forestry management plan that calls for harvesting select trees and selling them. The first lot of trees will be removed from a 60-acre town-owned parcel and is expected to bring in around $60,000 when sold. “Basically, they are cutting down dead and dying trees,” Town Planner Zach Gulden told the commissioners.

Future lots of trees will also be harvested with a total income to the town expected to be around $223,000. Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners that the money is not earmarked for anything, but she expects the Rainbow Lake Dam to need work to bring it up to MDE standards. She would like to see the money go towards that expense.

Mount Still Planning on Building a Health Care Clinic in the Area

Mount St. Mary’s University and the Frederick Regional Health Care System have been gathering input from the community about a possible new health and wellness center for the area. The health system has already entered into an agreement with the Mount to coordinate student health care on campus.

However, because of the need for a health care center in Emmitsburg, the Mount and health system are planning to expand their role into the community. A 10,000-square-foot facility is expected to be built on the edge of the campus, where it can service both students and the community. The planned-for clinic would have primary and urgent care services, a laboratory, radiology, and physical therapy. Services will be provided that meet the guidelines of the Catholic Church.

Although a final location hasn’t been chosen yet, it will be a site that is primarily convenient for students and safe for them to reach. The center could open as early as mid-2020.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Installed Behind Town Offices

Emmitsburg’s four electric vehicle charging stations on the parking lot behind the Community Center have been installed, although they haven’t been connected with electrical service yet. The stations are funded through a grant from the Electric Vehicle Institute. The town was required to sign a five-year agreement with the Electric Vehicle Institute. The stations will not cost the town anything. Electric consumption used by the charging station will be paid for by the driver charging the vehicle.

The commissioners also had to approve an addendum to their lease with Frederick County, which is the owner of the Community Center. The addendum change allows the charging stations to be installed. The four charging stations will be marked, and the parking spaces in front of them will only be for the use of cars being charged. Vehicles will be allowed to park in the spots for up to six hours, and overnight parking is not allowed.

Commissioners Approve New Town Waysides

The Emmitsburg Commissioners approved three waysides that will be erected in town to highlight the town’s history. The waysides are designed and written by Ruth Bielobocky of Ion Design Firm and Scott Grove of Grove Public Relations.

The waysides are funded with a $9,000 grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority. The three waysides will be at the Emmit House, doughboy statue, and town square. The long-term goal is to create a historic walking tour through the town. They are expected to be erected in the spring.

Town Square Lights Using New Signal Sequence

As part of the town square renovation, the traffic signals and crosswalks are using a new sequence. North Seton Avenue will now proceed first after Main Street. South Seton will move second. This allows the crosswalk signal on the west side of the square to come up as soon as the Main Street light turns red.  The crosswalk on the east side of the square will then come up with South Seton Avenue’s turn signal.


January 2019 Meeting

Town May Use Speed Cameras Near Schools

Following a recommendation from Thurmont Police Chief Greg Eyler, the Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners are considering using speed cameras near the town schools. The equipment will be provided and maintained by Insta Traffic and won’t cost the town anything.

Cars speeding in school zones will be photographed, the photos reviewed by police, and a $40.00 citation sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

“I strongly believe the cameras will make motorists be more cautious and think twice before speeding through a school zone,” Eyler said.

He said that the deterrent was needed because of close calls that both students and crossing guards have had crossing the busy streets.

Commissioner Marty Burns opposed the decision, feeling that it was more of a way to generate revenue than to keep children from being hit by vehicles. The other commissioners seemed to feel that if the cameras cause vehicles to slow down that will increase the safety of both students and crossing guards.

The commissioners will review the proposed contract and vote on it at a future time.

New Community Park Pavilion Approved

The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a bid from Playground Specialists of $79,975 to build a 30 x 60-foot steel pavilion on a concrete slab in Community Park. The project will be funded with a $90,810 Program Open Space grant that will pay for 75 percent of the cost.

The pavilion will be constructed west of the basketball courts in an open area that will require no trees to be removed and no grading.

Because the POS grant covers more than needed for construction costs, the difference will be used to purchase picnic tables for the new pavilion. The grant will also pay for 75 percent of the cost of the picnic tables.

Commissioner Bill Buehrer said that the new pavilion will help reduce the backlog of pavilion rental requests that the town receives each year.

Trolley Trail Lighting Bid Approved

Thurmont received a $17,640 Program Open Space grant to purchase nine lights for the Thurmont Trolley Trail, from Park Lane to Water Street. Town staff will install the lights 120 feet apart along the trail. The town received three bids for the seven lights. The low bid was $13,230 from Catoctin Lighting in Thurmont.

Because the grant amount exceeded the amount of the bid, the town will purchase an additional three lights to use for the next phase of lights along the trail from Water Street to Moser Road. This means that the town will only need to purchase seven lights for that stretch of the trail rather than ten.

Board of Appeals Alternate Appointed

The Thurmont Board of Commissioners recently appointed Vince Testa as an alternate member of the Thurmont Board of Appeals.


 Mayor Don Briggs

Like everyone, the town started the New Year at full pace. Here are a few things the town is working on.

This spring, through grant assistance, the town will be adding wayside exhibits to our historic district streetscape, describing the role of the Square, the Doughboy, and the Emmit House history of the town. The exhibits are intended to complement the ones situated in front of the post office, which describe the encampment of the Union forces in the town before embarking to Gettysburg in those first days of July in 1863. But, complement in an enhanced manner. The new 24 x 36-inch exhibits will not only contain narrative accounts but also supporting photography and other depictions.

Moving forward, the town is applying for grants for exhibits featuring the Vigilant Hose Company on West Main Street, the Great Emmitsburg Fire on East Main Street, the Chronicle Press – Schoolhouse, and the Carriage House Inn on South Seton Avenue. As an administrative goal, and much dreamed and talked about by many, Emmitsburg will have points of interest identified for a visitor’s walking tour in the near future.

Finally, the four electric vehicle (EV), level two, recharge stations have been installed. At times, it has been a cumbersome journey for the town staff to coordinate work under grant guidelines with the contractor, the power company, and the county. The stations are wired for future level three service and should be operational by the end of February.

Emmitsburg encompasses more than the quaint community, set between and along Toms Creek and Flat Run Creek. It includes over 900 acres of forest land situated, generally, on the north and west faces of College Mountain that are outside of town limits. To be more exact, according to Michael Kay of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the town has 947 acres of forest, 23 acres of fields, and 17 acres of reservoir “up there.” Some of its mountain holdings, 400-450 acres and another 130-140 acres along Scott Road, were given to the town around the year 2000 through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Conservation Fund, of which I served as a facilitator. Some twelve years later, after I was elected in 2013, I directed the staff to order a forestry report. The report, once in hand, not only described the holdings but also set out recommendations to protect its health. Deer feeding, invasive plants, gypsy moth defoliation, “oak decline,” and emerald ash borers over time have damaged the healthy regeneration of our forest. The report calls for timbering as a necessary step. Mr. Kay’s recommended action was presented to and approved by the town council during the January meeting. There are various intensities of cutting timber. As recommended, only select-cutting, as opposed to clear cutting, will be permitted. Of the 18 tracts identified in the report, a 60-acre tract near Rainbow Lake will be select-cut later this year. The plan is to timber one or two tracts annually, thereafter.

While bracing for our share of snow, ice, and/or rain, my thoughts are towards an early spring.


 Mayor John Kinnaird

On January 31, 2019, the residents of Thurmont lost to retirement one of the hardest working and dedicated employees they have ever known. On that day, Butch West retired from his job with the Town of Thurmont after forty-one years. In those years, Butch held many positions and worked his way up through the ranks to serve as superintendent of Public Works.

I have known Butch for many years, but it wasn’t until I was first elected that I realized how much he was intertwined in the day-to-day operations of our town. Butch has taught me a lot about the inner workings of Thurmont, our streets, parks, and electric system. On any given day, Butch literally seems to be everywhere at the same time. He spends most days going from one project or problem to another, supervising, providing advice, or getting his hands dirty working alongside our crews. He has never shied away from digging right in and helping get things done. I learned early on that if I asked Butch to do something next week, he was already thinking about how to get it done before I was finished telling him what I wanted, and he usually had it finished that day or the next. He made sure things were completed well in advance of when you expected them to be done. Butch began each day by driving around Thurmont and checking on everything from street lights to trash pickup. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the vast majority of our town’s infrastructure and could pinpoint issues and devise solutions on the fly.

For many years, Butch seemed to forgo vacation time or scheduled days off; only recently, has he started taking the days off he was entitled to. This was a problem for me because I was used to calling him any day of week and he would be right there. I was quite surprised the first time I called him and he said he had the day off. Needless to say, after January 31, I will not have to worry about whether he is at work or off enjoying his free time.

The town employees have a picnic every year, and the commissioners and I have the opportunity to say a few words to the staff. I usually tell them that one of their main jobs is to make the commissioners and I look good, and Butch always laughs about this. As an elected official, I am basically a part-timer, whereas Butch and all of our staff are on the job full-time. It is through the hard work of employees like Butch that our town is the great place that we all love and enjoy.

It is hard to believe, but Butch has been here through ten mayoral elections, and during those terms, he has served our residents and elected officials with courtesy and a level of dedication that is above what anyone could expect. The first time I saw Butch after being elected, he was standing in a ditch manning a shovel to help fix a water-line leak. Last week, I called Butch about meeting me to see about some concrete that had been dropped on one of our streets; by the time I got there, he already had most of it cleaned up on his own. Some things never change! I will miss seeing and speaking to Butch on a daily basis, but it is time for him to start enjoying his days with his lovely and understanding wife, his children, and his grandchildren. On behalf of our residents, I want to thank him for all he has done for us during his forty-one-year career with the Town of Thurmont. I also want to th

Blair Garrett

Off the beaten path, tucked away in a quiet corner of Blue Ridge Summit, lies the Orvis Hill Country shooting range, where members can shoot clays, hunt wildlife, and be a part of a tight-knit community.

The gun club offers a variety of activities and perks for members and non-members, but the crew has big plans for events in the future. While you need to be a member to go on the upland bird hunts on the 572-acre property, non-members are still encouraged to shoot clays and take in the mountain scenery.      

Orvis Hill has big plans for its official grand opening April 6-7, 2019, where they plan on bringing vendors and potentially thousands of hunting and sport fanatics to see what the group has to offer.

“We’re sending out a lot of invitations for the grand opening,” Orvis Hill Manager Jeremy Mays said. 

The grand opening is a lead-in to much more for Orvis Hill, which plans to offer members a variety of fun events to bring its tight-knit community even closer.

“We’re going to do a guns and clubs event, where they’ll shoot here in the morning and then they’ll go play golf at Liberty or a local course,” Mays said.

The massive property still has plenty of area prime for development, with the group only using about 150 acres and featuring a plethora of clay shooting bunkers and stands.

“We have a 15-station course, 100 round clays,” Mays said. “We still have plans to move things around and reorganize, but that will come eventually.”

While the club has been open to accepting new memberships for a short time, the growth of the member list has been substantial over the past couple months. “The growth has been really good, so it’s exciting,” Mays said.

Orvis Hill also utilizes local hunters to lead members to have a fun and safe time.

“For our upland hunts, we have all local guys who bring their dogs in, and they’ll run the hunt,” Mays said. “They also do a safety speech beforehand.”

Orvis Hill has more to offer than just hunts, though, allowing members to enjoy the community and the comradery that the shooting grounds offer. The Orvis lodge is a log cabin formerly used as a deer hunting facility, which offers several cozy rooms for members to kick back and relax after a long day.

“We have a member room here where after they’re done hunting, guys will just come up and sit, drink, talk, and smoke cigars,” Mays said.

The future for Orvis Hill is bright though, with events like fly fishing and competitions on the horizon.

“We want to get some stuff going on the clays side of things as far as competitions after our grand opening,” Mays said. The team is also looking into developing youth programs for young outdoorsmen to participate in. 

For those looking to get away and have fun with friends or family, or those who are looking to be a part of a sportsmen community, Orvis Hill Country Shooting Grounds sits off Gladhill Road in Blue Ridge Summit and features a pro shop with hunting gear, apparel and everything in between.  

James Rada, Jr.

Catherine “Cat” Szafran remembers that when her family left Spain, a bonfire at her house burned for four days, for the purpose of consuming her father’s artwork. Years later, when the Barnstones left England, a bonfire burned for a week, again turning Myron Barnstone’s work to ash.

It wasn’t that his work wasn’t exceptional. Barnstone had an excellent reputation as an artist in Europe. The truth was that he didn’t want to pack up the paintings for the move or leave the unsettling images he painted behind. Much of his work visualizes the way he saw the Holocaust and nuclear war survivors.

“He also did floral pieces that don’t slap you as hard,” Szafran said.

Leaving Europe, Barnstone moved his family to Pennsylvania, where he opened the original Barnstone Studios near Allentown. It was a destination for students from around the world who wanted to learn painting and drawing from Barnstone. The self-taught artist had developed a way of teaching art, which is called the Barnstone Method.

When Barnstone died in 2016, Szafran set about to honor her father’s legacy and continue teaching the Barnstone Method. She brought out the remaining works her father painted and opened the Barnstone Studio in Thurmont at 202A E. Main Street last September.

“This is a nice, little town working toward becoming more artistic,” said Szafran, who lives in Frederick.

She also noted that commercial space is much more affordable at the north end of the county, and that the location is a half hour closer to Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley, where a lot of her customers live. The studio has about five hundred pieces of art from Barnstone.

“We are selling his work to fuel the education side,” explained Szafran.

Besides selling art, Szafran continues to teach the Barnstone method to students. Master guides teach the method during classes and workshops. They are available live, on DVD, and online.

For collectors, the Barnstone Studios offers original works, artists’ sketches, and limited-edition prints. For the more-expensive pieces, Szafran offers a program called Home Is Where the Art Is. It allows collectors to purchase the art in twelve equal, interest-free payments.

If you would like to see Barnstone’s work, visit the Artist Angle Gallery at 124 S. Carroll Street in Frederick, which is hosting a Barnstone exhibit beginning February 9, 2019. The show, “A Celebration of Colors: Myron Barnstone’s Palette” will feature some of Barnstone’s brighter art.

Learn more about the Barnstone Studios at

Cat Szafron, owner of Barnstone Studios, sits in front of some of her father’s artwork that is available at the art studio.

Blair Garrett

Whether it’s fixing up European classics at his local full-service auto shop or rescuing a sinking business, Thurmont business owner and Discovery Channel star Chris Stephens is making an impact.

The Discovery Channel’s Garage Rehab, featuring Stephens and his two co-hosts, Russell Holmes and Richard Rawlings, tackle a struggling business each week in a race against the clock to set up auto shop owners around the country with a business plan for success. 

The hit show has just entered its second season, where Stephens and company are continuing to pour blood, sweat, and tears into building a life-changing garage for shops in desperate need of a business intervention.

Fortunately for Stephens, the difficulties of the expedited rehabbing of a struggling body shop has gotten easier throughout the development of season one, heading into season two.

“Nobody’s ever rehabbed a garage in about 7-8 days,” Stephens said. “When we first did it, we weren’t even sure if we could do it. Now we have it streamlined.”

Outfitting a shop with the correct equipment, tools, and training is a near impossible task to accomplish in a week’s time. But, implementing a business plan to bring the necessary changes for these families and companies to turn their futures around seems like a truly impossible feat.

Yet week after week, the Garage Rehab team hits the road and designs a game plan for success that is personally tailored for each location and demographic to build a better future. Spending time in the area, talking with locals, and doing market research gives the group an idea of what will work and what won’t, and Stephens takes that information and builds a foundation for the new garages.

Sometimes, the changes aren’t easy, but in the end, the rewards are felt by the families, friends, and communities built around these auto shops.

The show features Stephens and the crew fixing the issues plaguing the business, making changes to put them in a position to make money, and, eventually, revealing the brand new shops to owners with a touch of dramatic flair.

“My favorite day is always the last day when you’re giving it back to people,” said Stephens. “When you first start it, you don’t know them, you have no connection with them. But after you spend time with them at the beginning, and we bring their family in, the community comes together, and their friends come to help. So, at the last day, you get to see all those emotions come alive, and they see that people actually do care about their business and they want you to survive.”

The reveal is often an emotional passing of the torch, from the old, struggling business to the new and improved shop. But the team’s work is not done there. The training then begins, showing the garage owners how to use their new tools and resources to put them in a position to succeed for the future.   

Over the course of the two seasons so far, Stephens has been a part of a wide variety of garages, all with different stories to tell.

“We’ve done regular mom and pop body shops, and then we’ve done a lot of hot rod shops. We also did a motorcycle shop,” said Stephens.

When Stephens isn’t out touring the states with the Discovery Channel, you can find him turning wrenches on European classics at his auto shop off Putman Road. His brother, Marc, runs the day-to-day operations of their shop Eurotech Classics, which services all European cars, from vintage European roadsters to modern day Volkswagens. 

If you would like to catch new episodes of Garage Rehab, the show premiers Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. on the Discovery Channel, or you can find previous episodes online.     

Eurotech Classics business owner and star of Discovery Channel’s Garage Rehab, Chris Stephens.

James Rada, Jr.

James “Pop” Hance worked for a few hours at the Carriage House Inn the day he died on December 30, 2018. He had given sixty years of his life to his businesses — the The Carriage House Inn Restaurant in Emmitsburg and the Gentleman Jim’s Restaurant in Rockville, Maryland.

When he and his then-wife JoAnn had bought the Cavalier Restaurant in Montgomery County in 1948 to open Gentleman Jim’s, it was a gamble. The Hances had seven children to support and both of them were working other jobs (Pop was a draftsman and JoAnn a waitress).

“He was a bit crazy, but he got a little inheritance from a great aunt, and they decided to buy the restaurant,” said Pop’s son, Joe Hance.

Their hard work paid off, and Gentleman Jim’s was a success. Then in 1980, the Hances decided that they wanted to open a Gentleman Jim’s in Emmitsburg, a place that they frequently visited.

The Emmitsburg Gentleman Jim’s didn’t do quite as well, and the Hances decided to change the restaurant’s theme.

“They decided to change the restaurant to a country inn after they went to an auction and bought the carriage that is out front,” said manager Kristy Smith.

The Hances spent the next three years converting Gentleman Jim’s into the Carriage House Inn. In the early years of the restaurant, the carriage was actually inside the restaurant. It opened in 1985, but business really began growing in 1990 as word spread about the great meals there. President Bill Clinton even dined there during a visit to the area.

“Pop had quick instincts,” Kristy said. “He knew what was right and what he wanted for the restaurant.”

When Pop died at Johns Hopkins Hospital on December 30 at age eighty-four, the staff took it hard. Many of them had worked for him for decades. They considered him family, which is why they called him Pop, and Pop considered them part of his family as well.

Born January 25, 1934, in Washington, D.C., Pop was the son of James and Dorothy Hance. He was the husband of Sharon A. (Alwine) Hance, to whom he was married for sixteen years. He was predeceased by his first wife, the late JoAnn (Cook) Hance, who passed in 1998.

Even after Pop retired from actively working at the restaurant, he would still come in. He had his preferred table (14) near the kitchen, where he would sit and sip a glass of wine.

“He loved to come in on weekends and listen to the piano player and put in his requests,” Kristy fondly recalled.

He enjoyed playing golf and vacationing at Myrtle Beach, where he delighted in feeding the ducks. “He would buy 50 pound bags of feed for them,” Joe said.

Pop loved spending time with his family, and was an avid fan of the Washington Nationals and the Washington Redskins.

Joe remembers his father had a great sense of humor and that Pop and JoAnn loved to dress up for Halloween.

Joe started commuting to Emmitsburg from Montgomery County to run the restaurant last March.

“I’m glad for that time,” expressed Joe. “I got to know him again during his last nine months.”

Pop was buried on January 4, 2019, at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Fairfield, Pennsylvania.

The Thurmont Addiction Commission (TAC) held its first monthly commission meeting of 2019 on January 10 at the Thurmont Town Office.  Discussions included a review of 2018 events hosted by TAC, as well as planning and scheduling for 2019 events as suggested by those in attendance at the meeting. All commission monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month and are open to the public. The next meeting will be held February 14, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.

The TAC works within the community, as a community, to fight addiction. TAC’s efforts work through the three pillars: Education and Awareness, Support and Recovery, and Prevention and Outreach. Each pillar lead holds workshops and planning sessions throughout the month to address the needs of the community. Any individual interested in volunteering at events or as part of a pillar, please contact Ed Schildt at 240-285-8079 or attend a meeting.

TAC will kick off the 2019 Speaker Series on February 21 at 7:00 p.m. at the Thurmont Town Office on East Main Street in Thurmont. The guest speaker will be Teri Austin, founder of Austin Addiction and Mental Health Center in Frederick. The topic for the evening will be pain management options, education, and knowledge to support navigation through addiction and recovery.

Please join TAC for this very important speaker series and discussion on Feburary 21. Future Speaker Series dates will be April 18 and June 20, with guest speakers and topics to be determined.

The commission is currently finalizing a resource guide that will be available to the community in the near future to assist anyone looking for information and resources to support someone seeking recovery resources.

There are also preliminary plans to host fun days and sober events throughout the year. Please look for more details in the future.

TAC recognizes two important groups of organized citizens that are developing powerful programs and services in the community.

The Music is Medicine Foundation, founded by Chastity Fox, will soon open “The Path Peer Recovery Community Center,” which will provide space for professional counseling services, as well as support groups, therapeutic programs, and a connection point for the community to find many resources available. Stay tuned for more details.

TAC also recognizes the FUSE Teen Center, founded by Susan Crone (also a TAC member), that offers the youth of our community (grades 6-12) social options in a safe and supervised setting. FUSE hosts weekly events at Trinity Church of Christ, located on East Main Street in Thurmont, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-6:30 p.m., and Fridays from 6:00-9:00 p.m. Stop by and volunteer or bring your children for a great time.

The Thurmont Addiction Commission would love to talk to your organization, team, civic group, and so forth, to share valuable insight and educational information about the disease of addiction and the path to recovery. Education and Awareness is the key component to prevention, support, and recovery. Please call Ed Schildt at 240-285-8079 if you would like a TAC team to attend your meeting or event.

Help them help you! The Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service is one service many people take for granted until they need emergency assistance. The dedicated men and women who provide this service stand ready, willing, and able to respond. While many of us hope we never need to call upon the fire and rescue service, we should take a moment and appreciate their efforts and dedication.

The twenty-five volunteer fire and rescue departments and associated special operations teams are actively seeking volunteer members to assist with operational and administrative duties. Times have changed. Fewer people live and work in the same community and the availability of volunteers willing to commit time to the fire service is declining, nationally. 

If you’re looking for a challenge, you want to develop friendships, you want to do something rewarding, you want to serve your community, or you want to help your neighbors in their time of need, the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service needs your help! No experience is necessary and training is free.

If you are interested in volunteering, sign up at or call the Volunteer Services Office at 301-600-2281.

Deb Abraham Spalding

The 135th Annual Banquet of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) was held on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at the Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

Former Company president and current member, Tim Clarke, acted as master of ceremonies and delivered an enjoyable and comical presentation.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner was a special guest during the banquet. She thanked the VHC for “…the outstanding service you provide to the citizens of Emmitsburg and the surrounding area. You do a great job. You are a model company, and I hope that you will continue to lead the way in the county with the exemplary merger [of the Emmitsburg Ambulance and Vigilant Hose Companies].”

Emmitsburg Town Commissioner Glenn Blanchard represented the Town of Emmitsburg saying, “Thanks for everything the Vigilant Hose Company does… when I’m laying in bed at three o’clock in the morning and hear the alarm go off, I think to myself, I’m laying warmly in my bed while you go fight the fire, help with the car accidents, and take care of everything else you do to keep our community safe. Thanks from myself, the town council, the mayor, and everyone else.”

Pastor Heath presented the prayer during the Memorial Service, held for four individuals who passed in 2018 and who belonged to the VHC: Ronnie Long, John Maly, Thomas White, and Linda D. Miller.

Ronnie Long passed February 14, 2018. He was a carpenter by trade and was instrumental in several constructions, including the remodeling of the station’s kitchen, installing its first walk-in refrigerator, and overseeing the construction of the VHC’s permanent building at the Frederick Fair, which enabled the company to earn several hundreds of thousands of dollars and was a major fundraising event for years. Ronnie and his father were awarded the major renovation to the fire station in 1994, during which he went above and beyond to make sure the project was completed on time for the arrival of Tower 6.

John J. Maly passed away June 5, 2018. He was a social member of VHC, but a life member of the Independent Hose Company in Frederick. He was instrumental in the creation of the Frederick County Fire Museum and served on its board of directors.

Thomas W. White passed away August 3, 2018. He was a life member of VHC and served in many various positions. He was inducted to the VHC Hall of Fame in 1998 and was a past president of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

Linda D. Miller passed away September 17, 2018. She was a member of the former Emmitsburg Ambulance Company and joined the Vigilant Hose Company when the two companies merged. She could often be seen volunteering during Bingos on Wednesdays and Fridays.

During the banquet, Tina Ryder, outgoing president of the VHC Auxiliary, presented a check to the department in the amount of $55,000. She said, “There are many factors that have contributed to our success this year. We have had numerous new fundraisers in addition to our tried-and-true events. The teamwork and commitment that is displayed to pull off these events is incredible. Also, the activities building has allowed our events to thrive.”

Mary Lou Little, representing the Bingo Committee, indicated that the proceeds from an extra 50/50 allowed them to give $2,000 to the Emmitsburg Food Bank, $1,000 to the Seton Center Outreach, $1,000 to the Emmitsburg Lions Club Christmas Food Baskets, $1,000 to Emmitsburg Heritage Day Fire Works, $1,500 to Mother Seton School Scholarships, and $1,000 to Fire Prevention Committee for those in need of smoke detectors in the community.

During the banquet, the 2018 Officers of the company were installed. Tim Clarke said, “It is a pleasure to recognize those individuals elected or appointed by their peers who will lead the Vigilant Hose Company and its auxiliary in the year 2019.” The installation of officers was conducted by Frederick County Volunteer Service Directror, Kevin Fox.

The 2019 Officers include: (Administrative Officers) President, Frank Davis; Vice President, David Stonesifer; Treasurer, Steven M. Hollinger; Assistant Treasurer, William Boyd, Jr.; Secretary, Thomas Ward; Assistant Secretary, Eric Stackhouse; Board of Directors, Pam Bolin, Tim Clarke, Vance Click, Mary Lou Little, Scott Maly, Randy Myers, Douglas Orner, Carl White, and Dave Zentz; (Line Officers) Chief, Chad Umbel; Deputy Chief, James Click; Assistant Chief, Joshua Brotherton; Captain, Alex McKenna; (Fire Police Officers) Captain, Tom Vaughn; 1st Lieutenant, Stephen Orndorff; 2nd Lieutenant, Samuel Cool. (Auxiliary Officers) President, Patty Kuykendall; Vice President, Sharel Boyle; Treasurer, Jo Ann Boyd; Secretary, Joyce Glass; Financial Secretary, Mandy Ryder; Co-Historians, Jennifer Boyd, and Katie Davis.

Length of Service Awards were presented: 5 Years—Jarrett Boyle, Brandon Burris, and Victoria Long; 10 Years—Elyssa Cool, Jean Javor, Jennifer Stahley, Penny Stonesifer, and James Wormley; 15 Years—   Vance Click and Donna Miller; 20 Years—Scott Maly and Randy Myers; 25 Years—Doug Wivell and Dave Wilt (with 25 years, you get Life Membership); 30 Years—Tim Clarke and Steve Valentine; 35 Years—Gabe Baker, Karl Kuykendall, and Vince Boyle; 50 Years—Sam Cool; 55 Years—Austin Umbel.

Top 10 Fire Responders: Tenth Top Responder—Randy Myers; Ninth Top Responder—Vance Click; Eighth Top Responder—Tim McKenna; Seventh Top Responder—Alex McKenna; Sixth Top Responder—Josh Brotherton; Fifth Top Responder—Jim Click; Fourth Top Responder—Matt LeGare; Third Top Responder—Dave Zentz; Second Top Responder—Frank Davis; Top Responder for 2018—Cliff Shriner.

Top 10 EMS Responders: Tenth Top Responder—Patrick O’Hanlon; Ninth Top Responder—Dave Zentz; Eighth Top Responder—Elyssa Cool; Seventh Top Responder—Alex McKenna; Sixth Top Responder—Tim McKenna; Fifth Top Responder—Tom Ward; Fourth Top Responder—Cliff Shriner; Third Top Responder—Ingrid Hazbon; Second Top Responder—Josh Brotherton; Top Responder for 2018—Frank Davis.

Top Fire Police Responders: Third Top Responder—Tom Vaughn; Second Top Responder—Sam Cool; Top Responder for 2018—Steve Orndorff.

The 2018 Training Award was presented to Patrick O’Hanlon, who had the most in-house training and training conducted outside of VHC.

Cliff Shriner was awarded the David Copenhaver Driver of the Year Award for 2018.

Pam Ellison was awarded the President’s Award for 2018. As the VHC merged, Pam worked non-stop creating and updating personnel files, transferring membership, educating membership on the ins-and-outs of county programs, and made sure no one was left behind in understanding the LOSAP Program.

Alex McKenna was awarded the Chief’s Award for 2018. Alex was instrumental in preplanning major target hazards within the Emmitsburg Community and building effective partnerships with key individuals in the community. No matter what assignment, you can be assured that Alex got it done. He’s been an outstanding role model for new members while they acclimate to the operations of the company.

Mary Lou Little was awarded the Member of the Year Award for 2018. Tim Clark explained, “Eighteen months ago, Mary Lou identified a problem in the Emmitsburg Community with the delivery of emergency services. She came forward with a solution and brought with her an amazing group of individuals who were willing to give up their identity, as well as their assets, to become part of the VHC. Without a glitch, the two organizations became one, and now emergency services in the Emmitsburg area are stronger than ever.” With both organizations merged and working together, Tim continued, “We gained good business-driven individuals who put their skills together to manage a multi-million dollar corporation. Fundraising profits grew close to 25 percent since the consolidation, and she introduced us to a little game called Bingo. Through her organization, administrative, and managerial skills, and her desire to put the citizens of Emmitsburg first…” she was deserving of this award.

The highest award to be presented at the annual banquet is the Hall of Fame Award. This year, the VHC inducted William D. Boyd, Jr. and Betty Ann Baker into the Hall of Fame, as well as Brooke Damuth (posthumously).

William D. (Bill) Boyd, Jr.  has served many roles since his joining the company in 1990. He’s received many awards and served many positions for the VHC, including gaining life membership in 2015. He took his membership seriously as assistant secretary, secretary, vice-president, director, and, currently, as administrative officer. He’s very active in events, especially the Spring Fling. He also continues as an active firefighter and fire truck driver.

Betty Ann Baker has given countless hours and many years of dedicated service since joining the company in 1988. A valuable asset to the auxiliary, she has a strong family lineage who have also served the VHC; she serves as a strong matriarch within the entire VHC family.

Brooke Damuth (deceased) was born in 1932 and joined the VHC in 1949 at age seventeen. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. One of his favorite things to do each year was to work the VHC booth at the Great Frederick Fair. He passed in 2002.

VHC Treasurer Steve Hollinger was roasted and awarded a plaque for his recent retirement after twenty-seven years with the United States Postal Service in Emmitsburg.

The banquet concluded with a video of the VHC year-in-review. GT’s catered the banquet and the band First Class provided entertainment.

2019 VHC Administrative Officers

Auxiliary Officers

Line Officers

VHC’s 2018 Hall of Fame recipients were Betty Ann Baker (pictured left) and Bill Boyd, Jr. (pictured right) with VHC President Frank Davis.

Top EMS Responders

Top Fire Responders

Length of Service Award Recipients

Blair Garrett

Through a wintry mixture of sleet and snow, locals from around the Catoctin Area poured into the Thurmont Event Complex to show love and support for the Thurmont Ambulance Company during its annual banquet on January 18, 2019.

Friends, families and volunteers of the Thurmont Ambulance Company braved the icy conditions to honor and recognize the people who dedicate their time and energy to answering calls for help 365 days a year.

Food was served, laughs were had, and awards were given for several individuals who go above and beyond for citizens in need around the area. Among those recognized, a few could not make it due to the snowy tundra that blanketed the Catoctin Mountain, but the snow did not stop President Lowman Keeney from reading their names and praising their services in their absence.

The Rocky Ridge 4-H Club served the dinner for the banquet, providing everyone with a variety of delicious foods and desserts to accommodate even the pickiest of eaters. The lines for food piled up, with guests collecting around the mashed potatoes, green beans and fried shrimp.

As the 4-H kids made their rounds providing refills and entertainment for guests, President Keeney took the stage to bring attention to the banquet and give thanks to all who made the event possible.

As everyone began to settle in, bellies full and eager for things to begin, Keeney started with introductions and a welcome.

“I want to thank you all for being here despite the conditions outside.” Keeney said. “There are a few of us who could not make it tonight, but we still appreciate the all of the contributions they have made.”

Many people had and continue to have a helping hand in making the Thurmont Ambulance Company the smashing success that it is, but Keeney identified a few key players who make the company what it is today.

Chief Dennis “DJ” Ott, Judy White, Joyce Stitely, Dennis Ott, Sr., Jim Wolf, Shirley Stackhouse and the company’s top responder Jenn Frushour all got special thanks among several others for the work and efforts made for the ambulance company.

Across all members, 46 responded to calls in 2018, providing Catoctin Area residents with fire and EMS aid at all hours of the day. Of the 46 responders, one stood above all others in time dedicated and calls ran.

Jenn Frushour clocked 3,872 hours for the Thurmont Ambulance Company, running a remarkable 342 calls for patients. To put it in perspective, across a full year, Frushour logged 10.6 hours per day in total time spent for the Thurmont Ambulance Company.

“Our top responder apparently has no life, running 342 calls,” Chief DJ Ott joked.

Other top responders include last year’s Chief’s Award winner, Brooke Ott, who ran 201 calls. Hilary Blake ran 128 calls, William Ott ran 62 calls and Chris Pigula ran 55 calls.

The ambulance company responded to 1116 EMS, 50 fire and 92 non-emergency calls over the course of 2018, continuing to stay busy each and every day. “We had an average response time of seven minutes,” Chief Ott said. “Ideally, we’d like to get that to five, but that’s something we’re working toward.” With an average response time of seven minutes and a total call time of 87 minutes, it’s easy to see just how much time some of the staff and volunteers are pouring in to help the community.  

“We have a great group here, but we’re always looking for more help and more EMTs,” Chief Ott said.

Venture Crew 270’s presentation kicked off the awards.

The operational awards went off without a hitch despite absences from a few key members. President Keeney presented Dennis Ott, Sr. with the President’s award, highlighting his contributions to the community of Thurmont and all its people. “He takes an hour to get from Thurmont to Emmitsburg, but he’ll always be there for you,” Keeney joked.

A memorial service soon followed in honor of two close members who passed away in 2018 and made a significant impact over the course of their lives.

Two candles were lit by Shirley Stackhouse for the memorial service to symbolize the eternal place Russell “Lee” Fisher, Sr. and Diane Oxendale have with the Thurmont Ambulance Company. Fisher passed away in April of 2018 and Oxendale passed in June 2018.

After a moment of silence and a prayer for those we’ve lost rang through the Thurmont Event Complex, the focus shifted to the naming of the 2019 administrative and operational officers.

Lowman Keeney, Dennis Ott, Sr., Judy White, Glenn Muth, Joyce Stitely, Shirley Stackhouse, Tim Wiltrout, Jim Wolf, Jim Humerick, Dennis Stitely, Cole Mercer, Dennis “DJ” Ott, Jr., Jenn Frushour, Brooke Ott and Renae Coolidge were all named officers for the new year. Congrats to all current officers on their positions protecting and serving our community.

The 4-H Club members made their rounds once again, handing out raffle tickets to everyone in attendance, with the crowd eagerly awaiting to hear their ticket called to get one of several awesome prizes. The ambulance club had gift baskets filled with fruits, several bottles of wine and gift cards to a select few lucky winners.

The raffle wrapped up the event and capped off another successful Thurmont Ambulance Banquet, but each speaker made it clear that the contributions made by those honored do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. A sincere thank you goes out to all EMS providers in the area for your service and dedication.

Without your time and efforts, our community would not be the same.  

Fifteen members were appointed as 2019 Administration and Operational Officers. Administrative Officers include President, Lowman Keeney; Vice President, Dennis Ott, Sr.; Treasurer, Judy White; Asst. Treasurer, Glenn Muth; Secretary, Joyce Stitely; Asst. Secretary, Shirley Stackhouse; Directors, Tim Wiltrout, Jim Wolf, Jim Humerick, Dennis Stitely, and Cole Mercer. Operational Officers include Chief, Dennis Ott, Jr.; Asst. Chief, Jenn Frushour; Lieutenant, Brooke Ott; and Sergeant, Renae Coolidge.

(above, right) Despite the wintry weather, a significant crowd attended the annual banquet.

(left) One of many awards presented, Dennis Ott, Sr. presented an award to Judy White.

(right) Shirley Stackhouse lit two candles in memorial of Russell “Lee” Fisher, Sr. and Diane Oxendale.

Experience Art In Motion! ESP Performing Company’s annual showcase fundraiser is a fun and entertaining evening out for the entire community. The annual ESP Showcase Fundraiser will take place on Saturday, February 23, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. in The Marion Burk Knott Auditorium at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. Advance tickets are $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for students. There will be basket raffles, 50/50s, concessions, and flowers available for purchase. This year (included with Main Show ticket purchase) there will be a Bonus Solo/Duo/Trio Show at 5:30 p.m., with the main show starting at 7:00 p.m.

This year’s showcase will again feature Maggie Kudirka “The Bald Ballerina.” Maggie is an amazing dancer and an outstanding young lady who was diagnosed in 2014 with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer while dancing with The Joffrey Ballet Concert Group. Maggie has been dancing since she was four years old. 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 choreography and dances presented by ESP in the showcase have already won numerous awards this season. The dancers are excited to present these performances to the community, as well as continuing to travel the East Coast this competition season. ESP dancers love traveling and competing on the road, but their favorite place to entertain is at home.

“Local performances have always been my favorite events. Making the community smile though the passion we have for dance is heart-warming. I look forward to ending my very last local performance with a bang, with the best team I could ever imagine,” said Lucy Estep, senior dancer.

Mike of Mike Miller Photography said, “I love taking pictures of the ESP Performing Company at the Showcase. The ESP dancers always put on a fantastic show. Their grace, energy, and talent sure make for some beautiful pictures, but they are even more amazing live. I hope everyone comes out to see them on stage and supports the company. ESP is a wonderful gift to our community. The Showcase will not disappoint!”

Tickets may be purchased through any ESP Performing Company member or at ESP Dance Studio, 15 Water Street, Thurmont. Registration is still open for spring 2019 classes at the studio, culminating with the annual recital “ESP Visits Wonderland” at the Weinberg Center on Saturday, June 15. All levels of classes are available. ESP specializes in many types of dance, including tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, acro, and pointe. Participating in dance class is a great way to build confidence, strength, and to have tons of fun! Check ESP out on Facebook at ESP Dance and ESP Performing Company. Please support ESP Performing Company and help Keep Art Alive!

ESP Performing Company (from left): (front row) Abigail Shriner, Anna Doolittle, Tierney Burns, Laken Maniscarco, Maria Fry, Adaline Ridenour, Evie Price; (second row) Emma Strahler, Georgia Wiles, Jordan Bridgett, Mya Horman, Justin Stevens, Sofia Domingues, Marissa Smith, Olivia Gamer, Julie Beech; (third row) Olivia Ecker, Rose Weedy, Claire Daly, Valarie Witmner, Mackenzie Garrett, Kristen Felichko, Sophia Daly, Robyn Tucker; (fourth row) Jack Estep, Kaylyn Ott, Kierdyn Ott, Emily Mitchener, Lucy Estep, Lyla Zelenka.

CPT David Ellington, Asst. Professor of Military Science at McDaniel College

As we enter a new year, we think about resolutions and all of the things that we want to accomplish. As a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Instructor, I think about what I want to emphasize to the cadets in my program, how we can best conduct training this semester, and how we can continue to attract quality cadets to our program. One term that has been echoed in ROTC recruiting circles is that we need to emphasize leadership. I think this is an interesting way to phrase what ROTC is because it sums up the core of what we are living and teaching on a daily basis. Accordingly, the goal of this article is to provide information about what Army ROTC is, what we do, and invite those who think they may have what it takes to become an Army leader to answer the call to serve their country by signing on with Army ROTC.  

Army ROTC is the source of commissioning for a majority of officers serving today and has been for over one hundred years. The mission of every Army ROTC program is to recruit, train, and produce Second Lieutenants for the United States Army. In many ways, Army ROTC is like a sports team, with the goal being to prepare cadets to operate at the professional level. Less than one percent of Americans serve in the military; one in five of them serve as officers. Each year, there are over 20,000 Army ROTC cadets training on campuses across the country. Upon graduation, each will receive a commission into the United States Army, Army Reserves, or National Guard. Evaluative criteria for cadets is based on their grade point average, physical fitness ability, and demonstrated leadership as evaluated by their professors and peers.  ROTC Instructors work with cadets on a daily basis to provide mentorship and guidance to facilitate their success. 

While in ROTC, there are requirements both in and outside the classroom.  With ROTC programs spanning the nation, each will be a little different, but there are a few things that are standard across the board. In the classroom, a cadet will learn about the Army, skills like map-reading, as well as tactics and leadership. Outside of the classroom, cadets will conduct physical fitness training and learn how to apply what they have learned in the classroom.  Physical fitness training may consist of running around the campus and local area, intensive circuit workouts, or playing team sports like football or soccer.  Field training exercises are used to give cadets the opportunity to practice and apply their tactical knowledge, land navigation, and survival skills in an austere environment. Typical field training exercises take place on military training areas close to the program’s university. As part of their training, cadets are involved in planning all training events with instructor oversite. The goal of classroom and field training is to educate cadets and prepare them to succeed in ROTC.   

In addition to the on-campus training, ROTC also provides cadets with opportunities during the summer to shadow lieutenants across the Army, participate in internships with government organizations, attend military courses like Airborne School, and travel the world through the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program (CULP). All of this is aimed at developing a well-rounded leader. 

If you or someone you know is interested in Army ROTC, you can visit a ROTC program at any major university or go to Instructions for how to apply for a full-tuition scholarship, how to join a ROTC program, and contact information are all easily accessible on the site.

If you are currently an undergraduate college student, you can join ROTC before your junior year by attending a four-week summer course that will serve to compress the training covered during freshman and sophomore year.  College students who are already in their junior or senior year can still join ROTC, but will need to be accepted into a graduate program in order to allot them the time needed to complete ROTC training requirements. Many ROTC programs have Facebook pages and regularly post about ROTC activities and cadet accomplishments. There is no better time to take that next step than right now.

McDaniel College Cadets conducting a ruck march around the campus.

About the author: He received his commission in the Army from ROTC and has served for eight years.