Currently viewing the category: "Community News"

James Rada, Jr.

May 9 marks 75 years since a group of concerned citizens formed the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company in 1949. Marshall Fishpaw was the first president. Although formed to fight fires, there weren’t many fires to fight. Even into the 1960s, the company responded to less than 15 fire calls a year.

So the company was also charged with other duties in its early years. A light company formed around the same time, and the fire company maintained the street lights in Rocky Ridge. Members also took care of the pond that the fire company drew water from to fight fires.

The fledgling company also had to store its equipment in available space.

“It was housed in the garage of one of the members,” said Dennis Mathias, who has had four generations of his family serve in the fire company.

Their first fire engine wasn’t purchased until 1951. It was a 1931 Model A Ford that was purchased from the Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg for $1,000.

Although there wasn’t a great demand for a fire company in those days, when it was needed, residents were glad to have a company close by to help minimize the damage from fires. They supported the company, both financially and with their labor. The fire company has become a family tradition for some families in Rocky Ridge with multiple generations of families serving their community.

Kenneth Mathias was the first generation of his family to join the Rocky Ridge Fire Company in 1954, and this past March, his great-grandson, Brody Mathias, became the fourth generation to join the fire company when he turned old enough to start riding in the engine and responding to calls. Some of his early memories were of Bingo nights at the fire hall, where family would stay after to clean up and then talk. He got so tired that he would curl up and go to sleep on the floor.

“Back then, the fire company was the big thing to do in Rocky Ridge,” said Dennis. “It was about the only thing to do.”

While residents now have choices for things to do that are relatively close, the drawback has been fewer people are willing to volunteer for their local fire companies. Rocky Ridge has felt that need for volunteers as well, but so far, residents continue to support their fire company.

Charles Brauer moved from New Jersey, where he had helped form a fire company there, to Rocky Ridge in 1962. He joined the Rocky Ridge Fire Company, the first of three generations of his family that have served to date.

Although he was too young to answer fire calls, Charles’s son, Alan Brauer, started helping out around the company when he was just 10 years old. He would help take care of the equipment and train with the others so that he was prepared to join when he was old enough.

Today, when volunteer fire companies are struggling to stay volunteer, family connections and traditions like those in Rocky Ridge allow the fire company to stay volunteer and provide a valuable service to area residents.

“I joined to help out the community, but I also joined for the excitement,” said Dennis.

Jamison Mathias added, “Yes, there’s excitement, but there’s also pride in being a part of something.”

The Rocky Ridge Hall Association provided the company with its first fire hall on Long’s Mill Road just south of town in 1950.

The first new fire engine was purchased in 1955. It was a Dodge truck with an American Fire Apparatus body that had a 400-gallon booster tank and a 500 GPM front mount pump. The engine and the equipment for it cost $1,175.

In 1964, the fire company purchased 1.5 acres north of the town square on Motters Station Road. The land already had a house on it, which the fire company rented. Construction of a new fire hall on the land began in October 1965 and the building was dedicated a year later with Congressman Charles MacMathias and Maryland Comptroller Louis Goldstein attending.

The Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary was formed in 1955.

Alan remembers responding to a house fire on Christmas Day in 1968. There weren’t enough fire helmets, so he just wore his hat. At one point, he was on the hose line and water was running off the roof onto his head.

“When I got back to the building, I had to break the ice off the front of my coat,” he said.

What sticks in his mind about that fire was how poor the people were, and they lost what little they had on Christmas.

“In the fire service, you see people on some of their worst days,” Alan added.

A more recent major fire happened in 1993. According to Rocky Ridge Fire Company website, “The blizzard of 1993 took its toll on fire calls, the company had a diabetic call where the ambulance crew came on snowmobiles, and then the company had to watch a house burn down, because the road was blocked and the engines could not get there.”

Dennis remembers that call. “The roads were drifting. We were on the state road with the snow plow ahead of us. It hit a drift and went off the road, and we couldn’t make it to the call.”

The company purchased land on Motters Station Road in 1994 for $35,500. The following year, the fire company purchased a Morton building for the new hall, a 90- by 81-foot engine room and a 30- by 102-foot office area. The new fire hall’s total area was 10,350 square feet and cost $255,000.

The Rocky Ridge Fire Company now responds to nearly 300 calls a year and remains all volunteer.

Over the years, the company and its firefighters have seen many changes. It has been in four locations. Equipment has increased the safety of firefighters and has become more effective in fighting fires. It has also grown more expensive. Firefighters also go through more training.

It all comes down to the people who are willing to serve though, and Rocky Ridge has shown that it has had those people, generation after generation.

View Rocky Ridge Fire Company’s advertisement on page 19.

Rocky Ridge VFC’s first fire engine. It was a 1931 Model A Ford that was purchased from the Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg in 1951. Although no longer used, it is still kept at the fire company and used in parades.

(left) Alan Brauer; his daughter, Juliann Frantz; and Gage Frantz are members of the Brauer Family, which has had three generations in the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company. Alan also holds a picture of his father, Charles, who was the first member of the family who joined the company in 1962.

Jolene Mathias, Kelsey Mathias, Jamison Mathias, Brody Mathias, Andrew Mathias, and Dennis Mathias are three generations of the Mathias Family who have served in the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company. Kenneth Mathias, deceased, was the first generation of the family to join the fire company in 1954.

Phyllis Kelly

Nominated by: Sarah Jacobson

Phyllis Kelly ‘s dedication to to helping serve those in need was learned from her father, John Chatlos, who served as a minister for the Daughters of Charity and the Religious Coalition. He started the Emmitsburg Food Bank after seeing a need in the community back in 1985. When her father started the Food Bank, it was just a small closet. Now, 39 years later, it is housed in a much larger building.

Kelly has been managing the Food Bank for the last 25 years. Kelly volunteers over 20 hours a month, from managing donations, stocking shelves, and assisting families during the hours of operation. While she joked that her husband is ready for her to retire, she said it is something she really enjoys doing.

Sarah Jacobson nominated Kelly because of her dedication to the Food Bank over the years.

“She kept working for others even when she was going through cancer treatment. Not only does she do all this, she is someone people can look up to in the community,” expressed Jacobson.

Kelly’s humble nature was quick to point out that she couldn’t do this without the many volunteers that help keep things going. The Food Bank currently has about 35 volunteers that she manages. She says Emmitsburg has such a wonderful community that supports them as well. They receive donations from many local organizations and businesses. In the years that she has been volunteering, she says whenever there has been a need, God has always provided.

Of course, with the current economy, the Food Bank has seen an increase in need. Currently, they are serving about 75 families a month, which is up from 50 families in previous years.

If you wish to make a donation, items can be dropped off at their building at 130 S. Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg during their hours of operation, which are Monday: 7:00-8:00 p.m.; Wednesday: 7:00-8:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Thank you Phyllis for being a Community Difference Maker and carrying on your father’s legacy all these years later as you continue to serve those in need! Our community thrives because of the many volunteers who dedicate their time to help others or to make our a community a better place. Know someone making a difference in our community? Send nominations to

Alisha Yocum

Steve Burdette’s journey from his childhood on a farm in Browningsville, Maryland, to becoming a beloved figure in the Blue Ridge Summit community, is one marked by a deep love for both art and people.

Growing up surrounded by farmland, Burdette’s passion for rural scenes and landscapes developed early on. His artistic talents blossomed at the age of 13, and by 14, he was already the youngest student in a private oil art class. This early start laid the foundation for a lifelong love of art.

In 2007, Burdette opened an Art Gallery at Tracey’s Corner, offering various items and art classes that quickly gained popularity. The following year, he and his family made the move to Blue Ridge Summit. Though they didn’t have family in the area, the warm embrace of the community made it feel like home, with friends becoming like family.

But Burdette’s contributions extended far beyond the art world. Recently appointed as Chaplain for the Blue Ridge Fire Company, Burdette had already been ministering to many first responders in the area. He had accompanied enforcement agencies on domestic or suicide calls before his health issues intervened.

Burdette even held church services at his gallery. His wife, Kathy, says “Many people came looking for comfort, guidance, or to learn of God’s Word. He worked with gang members, homeless individuals, drug addicts, suicidal persons… the list could go on. He felt nobody was beyond God’s Grace & Love.” 

On January 27, 2024, Steve Burdette passed away peacefully in his home, leaving behind a legacy of service, compassion, and artistic excellence—a testament to a life dedicated to enriching the lives of others through both his art and his unwavering commitment to community.
An art show will be held on Saturday June 1 at the Blue Ridge Summit Fire Hall with all profits going to his funeral expenses.

Steve Burdette was a local artist and chaplain, who left behind a legacy of service and commitment to the Blue Ridge Summit Community.

Linda Calhoun of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, has always considered herself a Christian writer and photographer with a love of the outdoors, but her first book came from an unexpected visitor: a monarch butterfly.

Calhoun said that while she was outside one day, the butterfly landed on her hand and stayed for almost an hour. A week later, the butterfly re-appeared, and Calhoun put her hand out again, and, once again, the butterfly walked onto her hand. 

“I want readers to have an appreciation for all of God’s creatures given unto us to enjoy, but most important, respect nature; therefore, the second half of my book is packed full of wildlife pictures from my property.”

Calhoun originally began writing after the passing of her husband 35 years ago, and she has not stopped since. After completing her first book, Calhoun has now started on a second about heavenly visits. Look for her books on Amazon!

Alisha Yocum

The Clothes Closet, operated by Thurmont United Methodist Church, recently reopened following a renovation. The remodeling involved removing walls to expand the space, creating a more open layout for the 50-75 individuals it serves monthly. Additionally, the building now features a designated area for church information, prayer requests for their prayer shawl ministry, and Bibles. To enhance accessibility, all signage has been translated into Spanish, but an interpreter is also available.

Established 55 years ago to address needs within the congregation, the Clothes Closet has grown steadily and now fills its current space. The Clothes Closet offers clothes, shoes, coats, bedding, and other necessities to those in the surrounding areas free of charge. The Clothes Closet is supported through donations from the congregation and the community. At Christmas, the Clothes Closet even hosts a Christmas Open House, where families can fill a bag with toys. While this only happens once a year, the organization takes donations of gently used toys for this event all year long.

Volunteers from the congregation, combined, put in over 40 hours a week to the ministry between sorting, filling racks, and assisting customers during hours of operation.

If you are interested in donating clothes, a donation drop-off box is located outside on the property (just follow the signs). If you are in need of assistance, the Clothes Closet is open the first and fourth Monday of each month from 6:00-7:30 p.m., and the third Tuesday from 10:00-11:30 a.m., and is located at 13880 Long Road in Thurmont.

Follow the church’s Facebook page for updates and donation needs. For more details, view the advertisement on page 51.

Volunteers stand in the recently remodeled Clothes Closet (from left): Tanya Jense, Denise Bentley, Sandy Moser, Debbie Kennedy, Julie Zebroski, Estella Motley, Ricky Motley, and Rev. Ken Fizer.

SA Scout Troop 270B and 270G didn’t let a campout with bad weather dampen their adventures. They spent the day at the National Security Agencies Cryptologic Museum (pictured above), where they learned how codes started way back in Egypt and have manifested throughout the years and how wars were fought and prevented with codes. Did you know that the Navajo Code Talkers played an instrumental role in the allied victory of World War II? Did you know that women were some of the first code breakers? 

After cracking the codes of their minds, they headed to NASA Goddard Space Museum and went to outer space, leaning about weather, planets, and it impacts us.  Have you heard of the Webb Telescope?  Have you seen the pictures it can take? Wow!

Interested in Scouting? Look for more information at

Scouts BSA Troop 270B and 270G did their annual Trolley Trail cleanup in April. Tires, lots of plastic bags, sheets of rusted metal, washing machine tubs, and more were weeded out and brought to the landfill.

The Trolley Trail is sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club. If you would like more information on Scouting, check out the website at or visit them on Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. at 26 Elm Street in Thurmont.

Scouts BSA Troop 270B and 270G hosted retired USA Intelligence Officer Claybaugh to come teach them about Morse code. What is it? Where in history did it start and why? Is it still used today? How do you do Morse Code? All answers and more were learned, practiced, transmitted, and deciphered between Scouts with Mr. Claybaugh’s help.

The Scouts had a fun and educational night and extend a big “Thank You” to Mr. Claybaugh for teaching the class.

Scouts BSA Troop 270B and 270G spent Easter afternoon helping their chapter organization, the Thurmont Lions Club, with its Annual Easter Egg hunt. Lots of eggs, lots of children, and the Easter Bunny equaled a lot of fun for everyone!

Scouts BSA Troop 270B and 270G, Cub Scout Pack 270, and Venturing Crew 270 did their Duty to God by welcoming guests at FCF church on Scout Sunday.

Thurmont Grange #409 held its annual Community Citizen and Grange Membership awards dinner on Monday, April 11. In addition to recognizing Grangers who have reached milestones in their years of membership, the Grange honors an individual or group who strives to make a difference by giving back to our community. 

This year, Kountry Kitchen was recognized with the 2024 Community Citizen Award. Owners Rob and Sherry Myers were present to receive the award on behalf of their business and their employees. Kountry Kitchen opened its doors in 1984 and recently celebrated its 40th year. It has always been a family-run business, with Sherry working beside her parents and grandmother, learning the restaurant business along the way. Rob and Sherry purchased the restaurant in 2019 and quickly learned just how difficult things could be as the pandemic hit shortly thereafter.  With schools closed during those unprecedented times, Sherry realized that many children who depended on the schools for breakfast and lunch were going without those meals.  Kountry Kitchen soon began serving up to 125 meals each day to keep those children fed. Kountry Kitchen continues to give back by hosting bake sales and raffles, donating money, gift certificates, food, and their services to many organizations and families in need across Thurmont and the surrounding communities.  Kountry Kitchen makes a positive difference in our community and is well deserving of Thurmont Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year award.

Thurmont Grangers John and Nancy Wine were also recognized with the 1st Annual Thurmont Grange Gold Award, which honors Grangers who do so much, not only within Grange but also within our community. John and Nancy joined Thurmont Grange in 2017 and have assisted with many community service and fundraising projects, from the dog and cat food collections for Thurmont Food Bank to the Roy Rogers Night bake sales and the Grange booth at the Thurmont Business Expo. Nancy participated in the State Grange Rose Drill, and John has tilled the ground for flower beds around the Grange Hall. John and Nancy each hold a Grange office, and they are always willing to lend a hand. They are also active members of Thurmont Church of the Brethren and volunteers at the Thurmont Food Bank.

Several Thurmont Grangers received awards to recognize their years of membership. Recipients of the 25-Year Silver Star Certificate were Karen Myers, Marsha Hawbaker, Dennis Mathias, Paulette Mathias, Kelly May, and Sue Keilholtz. Roger Troxell, who passed away on May 30, 2023, was also recognized for his 50 years of membership with the Golden Sheath Certificate. Roger joined Thurmont Grange in 1973 and remained an active member on the local, county, state, and even national levels for many years. He was instrumental in the purchase of the Grange Hall and a key player in developing legislative agricultural policy not only in Frederick County but also for the state of Maryland.  Peggy Royer received her 60-Year Membership Seal. During that time, Peggy served on several committees and held various offices. She was the Lecturer, Community Service Chairperson, Secretary, Junior Grange Leader, and even Maryland State Grange Secretary.

Rodman Myers was awarded the 75 Years of Steadfast, Faithful, and Devoted Membership Award. Rodman joined Thurmont Grange in 1949, at the age of 15, and hit the ground running. His list of achievements and contributions to the Grange, community, and agriculture is quite extensive. In 1957, Rodman co-founded the Thurmont Emmitsburg Community Show, which is celebrating its 68th year this year. Rodman and his wife, Jean, were Grange Young Couple of the Year in 1961. He was Maryland State Granger of the Year in 1974 and has served as president of Thurmont Grange, Frederick County Pomona Grange, and Maryland State Grange. In 1991, the Myers family was inducted into the Maryland Agriculture Hall of Fame. In 2013, Rodman received the Wertheimer Fellow Award, and in 2016, he was awarded the Agriculture Advocate Award at the Great Frederick Fair. Rodman has been involved in founding several scholarships; an active member of several agricultural interest organizations; a lifelong supporter of ag education, FFA, and 4-H; an advocate for agricultural legislation; and a farmer, husband, father, and friend. As Rodman prepares to celebrate his 90th birthday, he remains a driving force behind positive change in his community and a constant advocate for agriculture.

The evening ended with additional comments in honor of Rodman, given by Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird, Maryland State Grange President Richard Stonebraker, and National Grange Membership Director Amanda Brozana Rios. Thurmont Town Commissioner Bill Blakeslee also read a proclamation presented to Rodman on behalf of the Town.

Thurmont Grange was honored to recognize its members and citizens who strive to make a difference by giving back to our community.

Rodman Myers receives 75 Years of Steadfast, Faithful & Devoted Membership, presented by Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler.

Roger Troxell’s sister, Margaret Carbaugh, receives the 50-Year Golden Sheath Certificate on Roger’s behalf, presented by Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler.

Peggy Royer receives 60-Year Membership Seal, presented by Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler.

Recipients of the 2024 Thurmont Grange Gold Award, John and Nancy Wine, presented by Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler.

(above) Recipients of the 25-Year Silver Star Certificate are (from left) Helen Troxell, on behalf of Marsha Hawbaker; Sue Keilholtz; Dennis Mathias; Paulette Mathias; Alan Brauer, on behalf of Kelly May; and Karen Myers, presented by Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler.

(left) Recipients of the 2024 Community Citizen Award, Rob and Sherry Myers, owners of Thurmont Kountry Kitchen, presented by Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler.

Dan Neuland

apter (MVC) of the National Wild Turkey Federation has recently sponsored two local youth events, promoting outdoor recreation, hunter preparation, and conservation.

The first event was the annual JAKES Youth Field Day held on April 6, at Catoctin Fish and Game Protective Association in Myersville, Maryland. A jake is a young male turkey and JAKES is an acronym for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship.

Over 100 youth attended the outdoor event that began with trout fishing in the stocked pond at the club. The youth were divided into five groups that moved to a variety of outdoor activity stations throughout the day.

Activities included an archery range, hosted by the Tuscarora Archers; shotgun patterning on the gun range; fur trapping; and turkey-calling demonstrations. In addition, a Woods Walk station was led by expert turkey hunters to help prepare young hunters for the upcoming spring turkey season. The station featured plenty of practical hunting advice with an emphasis on hunting safety. The names of young hunters, who have successfully completed a hunter safety course or have purchased an apprentice license, were randomly drawn for the mentored turkey hunt.

According to MVC president, Russ Leith, a total of 24 youths were paired with mentors for the Junior Turkey Hunt on April 13. A successful turkey hunt is, foremost, a safe hunt with participants watching the sunrise while listening carefully for distant gobbles from lonely tom turkeys. The hunt is a wonderful opportunity for the youths, whether they successfully harvest a turkey or simply enjoy a memorable day afield while learning from experienced hunters.

Later that morning, after the hunt, the mentors and all the participants met at Thurmont Conservation and Sportsman Club for lunch, provided by the MVC. A total of five youths were successful at tagging a turkey that day. Congratulations to Eli Yokum for tagging a 24-pound tom turkey, the largest bird taken that morning. Yokum will receive a free turkey mount, courtesy of Carder Taxidermy in Ijamsville, Maryland.

Congratulations to Regan Austin, Mark Stotler, Eli Yocum, Landon Hahn, and Luke Bucheimer for successfully harvesting a wild turkey on April 13.

Youth participated in archery, just one of the many activities at the JAKE’s Youth Field Day.

Youth practice their turkey calls as part of the JAKE’s Youth Field Day, hosted by Monocacy Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

On Thursday, April 10, a team of over 40 Woodsboro Bank employees partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to plant 200 trees in support of the 5 Million Tree Initiative. The project was not just about greening Frederick’s surroundings, but also nurturing a legacy of community care and environmental stewardship. Community is at the heart of all that Woodsboro Bank does. To give all colleagues the chance to participate, the bank closed a portion of their branches for the afternoon for the bank-wide day of service to their community

Anyone who knows Rex Davis will remember the horrific accident he suffered on November 26, 2022. He is paralyzed from the chest down from the accident. He was in shock trauma and rehab for months. He is now home recovering, undergoing a lot of physical therapy, and seeing many doctors and specialists. We are praying he regains use of everything once his nerves heal. He had two back surgeries, a broken sternum, broken ribs, pneumonia, sepsis, punctured lungs, and many bruised internal organs; the thoracic spine area was completely rebuilt from T2-12.

We are so grateful for the overwhelming support of our community. We both work at St. Anthony Shrine/Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our parish community has been wonderful to us, as well as many other churches, and even people we don’t know!

Our wonderful niece, Laken Brashears, really brainstormed and planned months, with Tahler, Tracy, Stacy, Shoey, and Sandi, and got everyone they knew to help, and suddenly the whole community pitched in to help with a horse racing event at the Thurmont AMVETS! It overwhelmed us—ALL the baskets, drawings, donations, food, and help. We simply can’t begin to thank each and every person because there were just so many, BUT with all your help—and you know who are—we are able to purchase both pieces of equipment, so Rex can do therapy at home and save a trip to Westminster and copay a day. Our great community and wonderful people with HUGE hearts are just the best! We want to thank everyone who helped, cleaned up, set up, worked it, and for the food donations, baked goods, etc.

We are so lucky to live in such a loving heartwarming community!

~ Our Heartfelt Thanks, Karen Davis

Rex Davis Event Donor and Sponsors

Thank You All So Much

AMVETS Post 7; Emmitsburg Lions Club; Tracy’s Auto Repair, Inc.; Tina Sweeney; Cliff Sweeney; Anita Stoner; Stacy Kelly; Angi Grossnickle; Mountain View Lawn Service; Tommy West Memorial Fund; St. Anthony’s Bingo team; Kelco Plumbing & Backhoe; 1 Sold by Sandi; Matt Weddle; Beth Ohler of Beth Ohler & Co.; J&B Real Estate; Rocky’s Pizza Thurmont; D&J Auto Enterprises; Wolfe’s Deer Shop; BulletpRoof Exteriors; Fairfield Marriott Cumberland; Weis Markets Thurmont; Maple Run Golf Course; Furnace Bar & Grille; Thurmont Kountry Kitchen; Fratelli’s Pizza; Tracy Grossnickle & Anna Dawson; Los Amigos Thurmont; Simply Asia; Gateway Candy Land; Dave & Jane’s Crab House; The Carriage House Inn; The Palms Restaurant; Carleo Italian Pizza & Subs; Beckley’s Camping Center; Dr. Bonita Portier; Barry Humerick; Becky Flohr; Crumble Cookie of Frederick; Applebee’s of Waynesboro; Hickory Bridge Farms; Liberty Road Seafood; Hoss’s Steak House; Pete & Donna Miller; Tif & David Cagle; Gateway Automotive; Rubes Crab Shack; Advance Auto Parts; Diane Kelly; Lisa White; Bonnie Tracey; Chris & Laken Brashears; Bruce Baust; Ruthie & Kirk Simmel; Michelle Norris; The Staff of Tracy’s Auto Repair Inc.; Deb Eyler; Rachel Misner; Cherrie Dubree; Emmitsburg VFW; Dixie Diner; Jamie & Johnny West; Tammy Kerns Shilling; ABC Creations – Billy Stottlemyer; Chris & Tiffany Kelly; Tony Kelly, Jr.; Ken & Karen Simundson; Jim & Sandi Burns;

Wait, What? Sauce Co.; Cronwell Tools – Kevin Gribble; Jen & Matt Myers; Wayne “Colonel” & Stacey Kerns; Densie Hurley; Ronnie & Shelley Springer; Bollinger’s Restaurant; Corn Crib Boutique; Gateway Flower Shop; Tristin & Chris Stouter; Donna West; Pat Krietz; Panny Moser; Rose Bartlett; Tahler Moxley; Colby Ruffner; Heather Fritz; Jess Weddle; Wanda & Ron Reed; Isaac Dodoson; AJ Moxley; Ralph Bruner; Mackenzie Brashears; Natasha Willard; Connie Cissle; Chris Bosley; Brooke Webb; Collin Willard; Tom Davis; Rocky Gap Casino; Elanor Putman; Leo Krietz; All Trimmed Up Lawn Care; Jodi Wisner; Thresea Davis; Cynthia Hendrickson; Rae Lynn Shafer; Ronnie Wivel; Candy Jones; Mike & Mary Mahoney; Catoctin Labs; Catoctin Colorfest Association; Emmitsburg American Legion; Gene’s Towing; Woodsboro Bank; Melissa Whetzel; Robert & Sandy Seidel; Buddy & Nena Eyler; Hearts of MD Sackette Unit 30; Thurmont AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary; Dawn & Dave Weddle; Cheryl “nan” Murtaugh; Mountain Gate Family Restaurant; Melanie Burkett; Lisa Reed; Karl Schopper.

Chip Jewell

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum, located at 300B South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg, just north of the National Fire Academy, is now open for the 2024 season. 

Several new items will be on display, including the “Junior Defender” uniform manikin and the historic original “tin type’ of an actual “Junior Defender.” Also on display from the Junior Fire Co. No. 2,  just added last year, is the restored Silsby hand-drawn hose reel, believed to be the original hose reel for the Juniors 1876 Silsby steam pumper, the first steam pumper in Frederick.

Additionally, the 1919 Ahrens-Fox, originally purchased for the United Steam Fire Engine Co. No. 3 and now owned by the Gladhill family, is still on display.

Other early fire apparatus on display include “Romeo,” the beautiful 1893 Independent Hose Co. NO. 1  hosecarriage; the circa 1848 hand-pumper “Old Lady,” used by both the United Fire Company and Libertytown; and the fully restored Badger chemical engine of the Jefferson Volunteer Fire Company and Willy’s Jeep formerly  owned by the Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department.

The museum also features a memorial display honoring all the fire and rescue personnel in Frederick County who have died in the line of duty, with individual pictures and a brief description of each fallen hero.

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum has free admission and is staffed by local fire and rescue volunteers.

Visit the website at for hours of operation.

1919 Ahrens-Fox fire engine, originally in service at the United Fire Company in Frederick and now owned by Maurice Gladhill of Gladhill Tractor, who has graciously allowed the museum to display this historic piece of Fredrick County firefighting history.

Beginning mid-April, the YMCA of Frederick County, working with the Town of Thurmont, is bringing several six- to eight-week-long classes to the town of Thurmont, as well as a one-day youth basketball clinic.

The YMCA of Frederick County has two branches and seven locations (including Camp West Mar in Sabillasville), but provides programs and services out of about 40 locations throughout the county, including before/after school care in 25 elementary schools and 8 Head Start classrooms. And, now, they are bringing programs to Thurmont, using Thurmont Regional Library and Thurmont Community Park. Programs will include:

Painting and Drawing, Mondays, 7:00-9:00 p.m., Thurmont Regional Library.

Youth Run Club, Thursdays, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Thurmont Community Park.

Let’s Get Healthy, Wednesdays, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Thurmont Regional Library.

Flying Cows Basketball Skills Clinic, May 14, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (incl before/after care), Thurmont Community Park.

This is not the first time the YMCA has brought programs to Thurmont, but it is the first time in about two years. During COVID, the YMCA offered some one-day, family-friendly events outside at Thurmont Regional Park, but this is the first time the YMCA is bringing full-session, long programs, spanning a variety of program departments, including Arts & Humanities, Youth Sports, and Healthy Living.

The YMCA has been working with the Town of Thurmont to approve programs, find locations, and market the upcoming services. They recently attended the Thurmont town meeting and presented about the YMCA and the offered programs.

“We are so excited to be working in collaboration with the YMCA of Frederick County to bring the “Y On The Fly” programs to Northern Frederick County. The programs being offered for the spring session cover a wide range of interests for all ages. There is something for everyone,” says Vicki Grinder, economic development manager for the Town of Thurmont.

As part of its strategic plan, the YMCA is focusing on “offering vital Y programs and services throughout Frederick County by expanding programming.” The YMCA has hired Jon Watkins as director of Community Outreach to build and expand relationships with local governments and other organizations and nonprofits.

“Our mission is to provide critical services to those in underserved communities. We are excited about re-engaging in the town of Thurmont and look forward to learning more about the needs and interests of Thurmont residents,” says Chris Colville, president and CEO of the YMCA of Frederick County.

The YMCA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and provides programs to build a healthy body, mind, and spirit for all. Through their annual campaign, they provide financial assistance, ensuring everyone has access to programs and services to learn, grow, and thrive. To learn more about financial assistance or programs and services offered, please visit

Work Could Begin Spring/Summer 2024

James Rada, Jr.

The Richard W. Kanode Farm Park, a new county park that will focus on agricultural and equestrian pursuits, is moving closer to reality. The Frederick County Planning Commission voted in February that the Kanode Park Master Plan is consistent with the Frederick County Comprehensive Plan. It is now moving on to Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater for review, which should be finished this spring.

Richard W. Kanode donated a 183-acre parcel to the county in 2017 to be used as a park “for the use and enjoyment of the general public, containing agricultural, equestrian, educational, and recreational facilities consistent with the terms of the Agricultural Preservation Easement,” according to Kanode’s agreement with the county. He also donated $1 million to the Community Foundation of Frederick County to establish an endowment fund for the park.

The proposed park would include an obstacle course, a western riding arena, an outdoor practice arena, three miles of riding trails, and an enclosed arena for barrel racing and jumping. There will also be lawn parking for horse trailers, tent space for events, and a manure storage bay.

The park would include 64 acres for active farming, 6 acres for a managed meadow or orchard, a 10-acre native plant arboretum, and smaller garden plots for agricultural research and demonstrations.

Although the Frederick County Planning Commission is moving the park plan forward, it is not without detractors. Horse riders support it, but local farmers do not so much. Many of them feel the park will attract too many people for events.

If the project continues moving forward, the county has set aside $5.6 million in the FY2025 Capital Improvement Program to develop Phase 1 of the park over five years.

The park would seem to be a good fit with Frederick County. The preliminary plan pointed out that Frederick County “has a long horse history, starting with Frederick as a main stop on the National Highway with horses transporting goods from Baltimore to the West. The county has been the setting for large draft horse breeding operations. There have also been large horse racing farms.”

The Maryland Horse Census, compiled by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, found that the county has 7,850 horses, making it the third largest county horse population-wise in Maryland, only trailing Baltimore and Montgomery counties.

Horses are kept in 1,600 places throughout the county, totaling 21,400 acres. All equine assets in the county total $442 million in value.

The county also has four Horse Discovery Centers. These are farms that have similar programs to what Kanode Park would offer, although Kanode might offer even a greater variety. The horse discovery centers are: Good Intentions Farm in Keymar, Foxie G Thoroughbred Rescue in Libertytown, Paradise Stables in New Market, and Silverado Frederick County 4-H Therapeutic Riding Program in Thurmont.

Phase 1 of the park development can begin shortly after the project receives the final approval from the county, which could be spring or summer of this year.

Amanda Barber-McGuire (pictured above), president of Playground Specialist, Inc., cuts the ribbon for the grand opening of the cougar-themed playground at Eyler Park in Thurmont, which she designed.

Also in attendance were Thurmont Town Commissioners, President of Catoctin Youth Association John Steiner, Catoctin High School Principal Jennifer Clements, and several local kids.

The Maryland State Highway Administration closed MD 77 (Foxville Road) between Pryor Road and Park Central Road in January to assist Maryland Environmental Services with the renovation and replacement of a sewer line that runs under the road.

The Maryland Environmental Services is excavating the underground pipes, removing the sewer line, and installing a new one. Once this is done, the State Highway Administration will resurface the road.

The closure affects about two miles of the road on Catoctin Mountain, and it is expected to remain closed through May, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration website.

The closure was estimated to affect about 3,665 vehicle trips each day, and those vehicles are getting detoured using MD 77 to Route 15 to MD 550 to Foxville Deerfield Road and back to MD 77. Trucks and other large vehicles use MD 77 to MD 550 to MD 491 to MD 64. The detour routes are far longer than the original route.

For more information about the project, please contact Mr. Luke Page, Project Manager, at or (410) 729-8537.

Alisha Yocum

On March 19, the chairs in the Thurmont Town Meeting were filling up quickly, but not by who you may expect.

In attendance at the meeting were several four-legged friends, who were there to help the volunteers from Wags for Hope and the Thurmont Police Department announce their new partnership.

Wags for Hope is a local non-profit that provides volunteers with their pets to bring joy to the lives of others. During the meeting, Meghan Padhi, co-president of the organization, gave a brief presentation about the organization to the Thurmont Commissioners. During the presentation, she announced that they would now be partnering with the Thurmont Police Department and will use their dogs to bring stress-relief to the community through attending outreach events, visiting the police department staff, and helping in cases where community members, especially children, have experienced trauma.

Thurmont Mayor John Kinnaird expressed that when Kristi Woods, a Town of Thurmont employee and volunteer at Wags for Hope, brought her dog to visit him in the hospital, it really made a difference.

You may have already seen Wags for Hope volunteers and their furry friends around town, as they often visit schools and have a partnership with Frederick County Public Libraries, where children are able to read to the dogs, inspiring them to learn to read because an animal is non-judgmental and reading then becomes fun for them. The goal behind the R.E.A.D.® Program is to improve literacy skills and give children a positive association with reading.

Along with District 22-W, the Thurmont Lions and Leo Clubs are sponsoring a community event for the public at the Thurmont Regional Library. This is a community event for all ages (adults and children). Student service hours are available. The event will be held April 6, from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

This is a hands-on project event, whereby, anyone can make: Linus fleece blankets, friendship bracelets, adopt-me bandanas for dogs, and spider cat toys; also painting with straws and finger painting.

The Thurmont Lions Club will supply materials and instructions with volunteer help. For more information, please contact Lion Dianne McLean at 410-206-1805.

Everyone must know someone who is making a difference to be nominated for this award!

The Thurmont Lions Club is now accepting nominations for the 2024 Volunteer of the Year. Nominate an individual(s) who is/are making a difference in the lives of others—working with children in the schools, helping at the food bank, a member of a service organization or church, a special neighbor who is always there to help whenever needed, and so forth. There are many, many individuals eligible for this honor. Please nominate those deserving individuals for the goodwill and volunteer services they give to help their community. These individuals are an asset to your community.

The volunteer service work must be done in the area of zip code 21788. Forms are available online at or by contacting Lion Joyce Anthony at Nomination forms are due no later than April 15, 2024.

Send your completed nomination form to Lion Joyce Anthony, 31 Sylvia Circle, Thurmont, MD 21788, or to Thurmont Lions Club, P.O. Box 306, Thurmont, MD 21788, or email to

Club members are eligible to be nominated with the stipulation the MAJORITY (95 percent) of the volunteer services considered for the award must be performed outside of related Lions Club community service (e.g. church, school, community, another organization, etc.)

The Volunteer of the Year will be recognized and receive their award at a Thurmont Town meeting.

During the month of February, local organizations, Thurmont Grange No. 409, Rocky Ridge Progressive 4-H Club, and BSA Scout Troops 270B and 270G joined together to collect dog and cat food to be donated to the Thurmont Food Bank.

Their combined efforts resulted in 311 pounds of dry dog and cat food, 28 cans of food, as well as cat litter, dog treats, and various dog and cat toys, being donated to the Food Bank. It is important to remember that pets are also family members, and we need to do what we can to make sure they also do not go hungry.

Pictured (from left) are Pastor Sally Joyner Giffin, Thurmont Food Bank Director; and Nancy Wine, Thurmont Granger and Food Bank volunteer.

The Thurmont Grange No. 409 hosted its annual Antique Roadshow on Monday, March 11. This event is held each year to raise money for an individual or family in need or an organization’s cause.

This year, funds were donated to the Catoctin FFA Chapter’s trip to the 2024 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. Several past FFA members attended the Roadshow and shared their experiences at National Convention and the impact the trip had on them.

Those in attendance brought a wide variety of antiques and collectibles to be evaluated by our local experts, Norman Feldser and Bill Eyler, who graciously volunteered their time and knowledge. Everything from a toy train and swords to a corn sheller and pocket watch, and everything in between, was examined and evaluated.

All the guests enjoyed listening to the stories and history behind these items and learning the potential value and professional opinions of both Norman and Bill. Our experts also shared local history and personal experiences related to many of the items. Catoctin High Ag teacher, Barry Birch, was present to receive the donation Thurmont Grange was able to raise, thanks to the generosity of everyone who attended the Roadshow.

Bill Eyler examines a crock belonging to Joe Pelkey, as Norman Feldser observes.

Lynnelle Ediger, daughter of Dr. Ray Ediger of Thurmont, recently hosted three students of the Shenandoah Conservatory, who gave a free concert of harp, organ, and soprano solos at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Utica.

Pictured (from left) are Lynnelle Ediger, Anna Smith (harp, organ), Danielle Caldwell (harp), Serenity Flores (harp, soprano), and Karen Schlosser (piano accompanist).

Catoctin Furnace Historical Society has won a $7,500 grant from Americana Corner to restore a 19th century bellows.

CFHS was one of 171 historic preservation organizations across the country to receive a grant in honor of George Washington’s birthday.

The restored bellows will be used in the blacksmithing demonstration program held in Catoctin Furnace’s newly constructed blacksmith shop.

The bellows was manufactured circa 1875 to 1885 by J. C. Onions company in Birmingham, England, the preeminent bellows manufacturer of the day. The giant bellows measures five feet by three feet and is constructed of wood, tin, and leather. Blacksmiths use bellows to deliver a constant supply of oxygen to the fire, allowing for the high temperatures, which are required to heat iron to the point that it can be worked.

With the addition of the bellows, Catoctin Furnace has a full complement of 19th century blacksmithing tools.

Just as iron was arguably the most critical industry in the development of the early United States, blacksmiths were essential to the production of equipment and supplies, such as nails, hinges, hooks, wagon parts, and tools.

Late 18th and early 19th century blacksmiths in Catoctin Furnace were primarily enslaved and free Africans and African Americans. Research into the African American owned Moses Jones (1787-1868) blacksmith shop in Carroll County and the Felicity or Oakland Mills blacksmith shop in Howard County informed the design of Catoctin Furnace’s new blacksmith shop.

With the addition of this restored bellows, the blacksmith shop will become a platform to honor the contribution of blacksmithing to our history, revive the practice of the craft, and educate visitors about its importance. In addition, it will become an essential part of Catoctin Furnace’s Heritage at Work program geared toward work skills training for at-risk students.

Catoctin Furnace Historical Society shares the history of ironmaking through special events throughout the year, including an annual commemoration of black history month’s “In Their Own Voices,” an autumn performance of Spirits of the Furnace, now in its 21st year, and the Maryland Iron Festival.

The 6th Annual Maryland Iron Festival will take place on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, 2024, in the village of Catoctin Furnace, and throughout Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park. For more information, contact