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The Town of Thurmont was recently recognized by the Maryland Recreation and Park Association and was presented the Best Activity Guide Award for populations serving under 50,000 people.

The Thurmont Walk, Bike & Drive Map and Guide provides hiking, biking, and driving information, along with showcasing parks, history, and popular attractions in Thurmont and the surrounding areas.

The award was presented to Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder at the Celebrating Excellence Marketing and Communications Awards Luncheon on March 1, 2018, at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore.

“This guide is a great resource for our visitors, as well as our residents. I want to thank Vickie and her team for their hard work on this terrific project,” stated Mayor John Kinnaird.

Thurmont Economic Development Manager Vickie Grinder and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Humerick are pictured with the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association “Best Activity Guide” Award, following the awards luncheon in Baltimore on March 1, 2018.

The sonic algae control system has proven itself, both in reducing costs and controlling algae, in Rainbow Lake in Emmitsburg. Even so, there is room for improvement.

“We did see a significant improvement in water quality,” Emmitsburg Town Manager Cathy Willets told the commissioners.

She presented town staff’s comparison of the water system between April and December in 2016, before the LG Sonic algae control system was installed, and the same time frame in 2017, after it was installed.

Backwashes: Although the number of backwashes of the system was expected to decrease, they increased 9 percent (from an average of 10 per day to 10.87 per day).

Backwash water usage: The increase in backwashes was offset by the amount of water wasted to make clean water. This decreased from 19.71 percent in 2016 to 14.08 percent last year. This created a savings of 384,888 gallons of water monthly or the equivalent of 50.5 taps.

Average flow for the lake: The town exceeded its target flow for Rainbow Lake with the new system. The target had been 162,000 gallons a day. It was actually 159,600 gallons.

Overtime: Overtime at the water plant was reduced by 31 percent or nearly $3,000.

Chemical costs: Although some chemical usage increased (DE and coagulants), the overall chemical costs decreased from $33,533 in 2016 to $24,440 in 2017.

One problem that is being worked on by LG Sonic is improving the system’s effect on brown algae. “The device performed excellent when dealing with blue-green algae,” Willets said. “It struggled in the fall with brown algae. We are working on ways to combat brown algae more.”

The new system may actually have put the town ahead of the curve in one regard. The Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring algae toxins to decide on whether federal standards need to be set. The LG Sonic system has reduced the toxins in Rainbow Lake without using lots of potentially harmful chemicals.

The National Park Service is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) program at Catoctin Mountain Park. This is an exciting opportunity for high school students to spend the summer doing meaningful work in a national park. The YCC program is scheduled to last for eight weeks beginning on June 18, 2018 and ending on August 10, 2018.

The program is open to teens, fifteen through eighteen years of age. All applicants who meet the eligibility requirements listed on the application will be considered. The position will require daily outdoor labor, working in heat, and using a variety of hand tools. The work projects include trail maintenance and construction, exotic plant control and removal, monitoring of rare plant populations, gypsy moth monitoring, painting and rehabilitation projects.  Enrollees will be selected through a random drawing. Previous enrollees may only be considered in the event that an insufficient number of new applications are received. The rate of pay will be $9.25 per hour and increase to $10.10 per hour after July 1, 2018, to match the state minimum wage in Maryland.

Applications may be obtained at the Catoctin Mountain Park Visitor Center at 14707 Park Central Road, Thurmont, MD 21788, or by contacting Becky Loncosky at

Completed applications may be emailed to or mailed to Becky Loncosky, Catoctin Mountain Park, 6602 Foxville Road, Thurmont, MD 21788.  The deadline to apply is April 15, 2018.  If you have questions concerning this program, please contact Ms. Loncosky by email or at 301-416-0536.

Submitted by Natalie Bentz, Rocky Ridge Club Reporter

During the month of February, the Rocky Ridge 4-H Club participated in many activities.

On February 11, the Rocky Ridge 4-H Club met at the Thurmont Pizza Hut to travel together to Sky Zone Trampoline Park, located in Hagerstown. When everyone was ready, we put on our special, nonskid sky socks. Kids, and some brave parents, jumped on trampolines, played dodge ball, climbed the rock wall, and jumped in the foam pit for two hours. After leaving Sky Zone—tired and sweaty—we met back at the Thurmont Pizza Hut for a pizza party. Everyone had a great time!

On Monday, February 12, the Rocky Ridge 4-H club met at the Frederick Mall to kick off Ag Week. Monday night’s activity consisted of a hand cranked ice cream making competition. The Rocky Ridge 4-H Club made mint chocolate chip ice cream and orange dreamsicle ice cream. Even though our club did not win, we all had a good time and the ice cream was delicious.  Congratulations to all the teams that placed.

The community service for the month of February was to do a good deed for someone. Every member in the club participated by doing nice things for parents, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Good deeds consisted of: holding the door for the person behind you, helping friends with homework, helping parents with chores, putting away grocery carts for the elderly, picking up trash, donating time or money to a good cause, and/or helping a teacher. “Be kind, help our fellow community members to make a better place.”

Members of the Rocky Ridge 4H Club.

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show committee met recently to begin planning the 62nd Annual Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show. The show will be held at Catoctin High School, located at 14745 Sabillasville Road in Thurmont, on September 7-9, 2018.  Officers elected at the meeting were: President Rodman Myers, Vice President Robert Valentine, and Secretary Jennifer Martin. Other committee members are Sue Keilholtz, Jessica Valentine, Robert Wiles, David Harman, Niki Eyler, Cheryl Lenhart, Ray Martin, Carol Long, Chip Long, Sharon Lewis, Denise Valentine, Amanda and Paul Dennis, Clifford Stewart, Helen Troxell, Cathy Little, Karen Myers, Sue Sanders, Patty Johnston, Laura Keilholtz, Jim Barth, Kay Barth, Thad Bittner, Amy Jo Poffenberger, and Daniel Myers, and two representatives from the Catoctin FFA Chapter.

On Friday night, the 2018-2019 Catoctin FFA Chapter Ambassador will be announced. In addition, this year’s program will honor the 50th anniversary of Catoctin High School. The baked goods auction will begin immediately following the program, and the grand champion cake, pie and bread will be sold at 9:00 p.m.

Entry of exhibits will take place in the new gymnasium and in the agriculture department area on Thursday, September 6, 6:00-9:00 p.m., and on Friday, September 7, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Judging will begin at 12:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits may be entered on Friday, September 7, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. The show will open to the public at 6:00 p.m.

On Saturday, September 8, the show opens at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities include a Market Goat, Beef, Sheep and Swine Fitting & Showing Contest, from 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Ag Center at the school. The Pet Show will be held at 10:30 a.m., outside the front of the school. The petting zoo, farm animals, and pony rides will also be held on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday night, the Thurmont Grange will serve their turkey and country ham dinner in the school cafeteria, from 3:00-7:00 p.m.  Entertainment for Saturday and Sunday will be announced at a later date. There will be no admission charged for the entertainment.

The 44th Annual Catoctin FFA Alumni beef, sheep & swine sale will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Ag Center area on Saturday night.

Activities begin on Sunday, September 9, at 9:00 a.m., with the Goat Show, followed by the Dairy Show. The Decorated Animal Contest has been eliminated. At noon, the Catoctin FFA Alumni Chicken Bar-B-Que will be held in the cafeteria. The 39th Annual Robert Kaas Horseshoe Pitching Contest will begin at 1:00 p.m. The Log Sawing Contest will begin at 12:30 p.m., under the show tent in the Ag Center area. A Peddle Tractor Contest for kids will be held on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., also in the Ag Center area, although the times for starting the events may be changed.

Exhibits must be removed on Sunday, September 9, between 3:00-6:00 p.m. Please note the new deadline to pick up items.

If you would like to be a new advertiser in the show booklet, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-271-2104 to obtain advertising information or via email at Past advertisers should have recently received letters for advertisements for this year. The deadline for advertisements is May 5, 2018. The Community Show booklets can be found in local Thurmont, Emmitsburg, and surrounding area businesses in late July or early August. New residents of the community are urged to enter and be a part of the Community Show, the largest in the State of Maryland.

There will be changes to some departments. Departments include:  Fresh Fruits, Fresh Vegetables, Home Products Display, Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Jellies & Preserves, Pickles, Meats, Baked Products, Sewing & Needlework, Flowers and Plants, Arts, Paintings & Drawings, Crafts, Photography, Corn, Small Grains and Seeds, Eggs, Nuts, Poultry & Livestock, Dairy, Goats, Hay, Junior Department and Youth Department.

There is no entry fee. Please visit our website for updated information at

The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show is sponsored by the Thurmont Grange, Catoctin FFA Chapter, Catoctin FFA Alumni, the Maryland State Grange, and the Maryland State Agricultural Fair Board.

Thurmont Troops Take Highest Awards

The Francis Scott Key District encompasses scouting troops in all of Frederick County. The district holds an annual dinner to present awards to troops, packs, and crews, and to thank volunteers for outstanding service to scouting.

This year’s Cub Pack of the Year was Cub Scout Pack 270. Crew of the Year was Venturing Crew 270, and Outstanding Unit was awarded to Boy Scout Troop 270 for the Francis Scott Key District.

Awards are rigorous and are based on a point-system, on areas of administration, advancement of youth, recruitment and retention, program planning and execution by youth and district, and national participation.  Congratulations to the Thurmont area scouts for their achievements, and thank you to all the adults who make these programs for our youth possible.

Carie Stafford, associate advisor of Venturing Crew 270, is pictured accepting Venturing Crew 270 Crew of the Year Award from Bill Desmond, District Chairman of Francis Scott Key District.

Acknowledging Appreciation

Girls Scouts in Frederick County take pride in recognizing area businesses and community organizations that support the Girl Scouts of America program.

Area businesses and community organizations allow troops to meet at their place of business, giving the Girl Scouts a safe and comfortable place to meet and grow. This year, Service Unit 37-4 in Frederick County recognized Lewistown Fire Company for ten years of continued service. Their continued support of the Girl Scout program has allowed for many activities and programs to come to fruition at the Lewiston Fire Hall. The Girl Scouts extend their gratitude for ten years of committed service to the Girl Scouts of Frederick County.

Patty Green and local Brownie Troop present a ten-year appreciation plaque to the Lewistown Fire Hall. Accepting the plaque are Karen and Steve Stull.

Acknowledging Appreciation

Boy Scout Troop 270 participated in the 58th Annual First Aid Meet Competition in Walkersville on March 3, 2018 (pictured right). The scouts compete against other youth from troops in the Francis Scott Key district, which covers all of Frederick County. The scouts are given hypothetical emergency scenarios to evaluate, then develop the correct care plan and respond. The competition teaches and allows scouts to do practical first aid as a team, under pressure, making it as close to a real situation as possible. Two patrols from Boy Scout Troop 270 participated and took fourth place and seventh place, respectively, out of twenty-three competing groups.


The Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA) is reaching out to residents and businesses in the Northern Frederick County Region (NFCR) to solicit their opinions on future community and economic development initiatives. To better understand your needs, they developed a brief survey that they have posted on the Town of Emmitsburg website. They are asking businesses and residents to complete the survey and submit it to them by March 15, 2018, in one of three drop off boxes. The boxes are located at: the Emmitsburg Jubilee Food Store customer service desk, the Emmitsburg Public Library, and the Emmitsburg Post Office.

To access the survey, please go to, click “Our Community,” then click “EBPA Survey,” or just go directly to Remember to download and print the survey to complete it. To show their appreciation, they are offering dinner at the Carriage House and tickets to the Frederick Keys to two survey respondents. Please make sure you provide your name and contact information on the survey in order to be eligible for these prizes. Winners will be notified by phone on March 19, 2018.

The Catoctin Banner invites our area’s movers and shakers to help bring a new one-stop, comprehensive reference calendar of events to life. will be THE place online and in print to reference when seeking an accurate calendar of classes, programs, concerts, special events, hikes, festivals, sports, games, and activities.

In order to implement this in the most comprehensive manner, we are creating a volunteer brigade that will reach out to the many businesses, schools, non-profit groups, sports providers, and coordinators, who provide these opportunities. The volunteers will also work to keep the website up-to-date and visually pleasing.

There’s so much to do in, and around, the Catoctin area! We want everyone to be informed. This initiative will showcase these offerings.

Please call 301-271-1050 or email for more information.

Pastor Jon Greenstone, Dr. Holly Hoffman, and Phyllis Kelly are preparing for Team Kenya 2018, and looking for more persons to serve in Jesus’ name. The team will be the fourth installment in the Emmitsburg Council of Churches (ECC) effort to help a Christian school, The Pathfinder Academy, and surrounding communities in the Kimini/Kitale area of Western Kenya. The ECC, participating churches, and team members actively support this important mission.

The size of the team is limited to twelve persons. Anyone interested must contact Pr. Jon Greenstone by March 15, 2018, via telephone at 240-888-8861 or e-mail at


In 2006, members of the ECC discussed the possibility of developing an international connection to promote the spirit of Christian ecumenism. Then, in the fall of 2007, Joshua Machinga, from the Kiminini/Kitale area of western Kenya, came to visit Emmitsburg. Joshua gave an introduction to his work in teaching sustainable farming and in providing a good education for vulnerable children and orphans in the region. Joshua’s school is called Pathfinder Academy and his NGO in Kenya is known as Common Ground for Africa (CGA). Joshua described how electricity was available, but it was very expensive and not reliable in his area. Children often had no lighting with which to be able to study and do homework, and there was no refrigeration; HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Polio and other preventable diseases were common in Kenya and other nations of Africa. Joshua shared his belief that training in the foundations of the Christian Faith can help to develop mutual respect among Kenyans of differing churches and tribes. It was proposed that the ECC develop a mission service trip to go to Kenya and serve in the name of Christ. In 2008, the ECC began planning, co-organized by Pastor Jon of Elias Lutheran Church and Dr. Holly from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Team Kenya 2009 was born.

Team Kenya 2009, 2011, and 2014

Team Kenya 2009, Team Kenya 2011, and Team Kenya 2014 completed numerous projects and works for the Pathfinder Academy and the Kimini/Kitale area of western Kenya. The first mission trip for Team Kenya in 2009 paid for and helped install a water pump and was a major project for that area. The people were making five trips a day to the river for unhealthy water. The following website provides the stories of how team members contributed to these missions:

Team Kenya 2018

Team Kenya 2018 is an excellent opportunity for Christian service. Pr. Jon, Dr. Holly, and Ms. Phyllis are veteran members, having participated in previous teams, and are available for any questions or guidance for potential new members. Team Kenya 2018 plans to travel and be on site from July 2-19, 2018. They need funds for travel, medical and dental clinic missions, Bible School, and Sustainable Agricultural Education, as well as an establishment of a Science Lab at the girls’ high school of the Pathfinder Academy. The good work of the Team Kenya 2018 is for the glory of God, and donations are always welcome.

Team Kenya’s first mission trip in 2009 paid for and helped install this water pump, a major project for that area. Now, making five trips a day to a river for unhealthy water is a thing of the past. Pastor Jon is pictured with Mama Saudra.

Phyllis Kelly, Team Kenya 2014, with Bible School Children.

On Saturday, February 3, 2018, the Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department held its annual awards banquet. The event was held in the Company’s banquet hall in Lewistown. A fun time was had by all, while celebrating the individuals who work so hard and sacrifice so much to best serve the community.

Scott Martin began the banquet by introducing the honored guests. He then reported that, thankfully, no first responders of the Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department had lost their lives. In remembrance of the lives lost in the past, he recited the prayer entitled, “The Call.”

Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr. delivered the Chief’s Report, indicating that the Company ran 593 calls in 2017. Some accomplishments of the year included 24/7 coverage for the ambulance, starting May 13. In July, a LUCAS CPR mannequin was purchased. The LUCAS chest compression system is an external medical device that provides chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Chief Wachter then gave awards for the 2017 Top Fire Responders: Kenny Miller—10th (25 calls); Shawn Wetzel—9th (29 calls); Vince Schrader—8th (32 calls); Mike Stull—7th (58 calls); Steve Stull—6th (60 calls); Frani Wachter—5th (61 calls); Donald Martin—4th (78 calls); Vicky Martin and Beth Wachter—3rd (99 calls); Wayne Stull—2nd (100 calls); and Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.—1st (102 calls).

The Top Five EMS Responders were: Brianna Wachter—5th (81 calls); Stephanie Wachter—4th (108 calls); Vicky Martin and Wayne Stull—3rd (123 calls); Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.—2nd (102 calls); and Beth Wachter—1st (132 calls).

Next, Chief Wachter acknowledged the Fire Police: Diana Bryant, Ronnie Myers, Donald ‘Bud” Howerton, Steve Stull, Kenny Miller, and Tom ‘Doc’ Wachter, Sr.

Nicholas Wachter was also presented with an award. During a snowstorm in 2017, there was an ambulance call. It would have been very difficult for the ambulance to get to the hospital during the snow storm. However, Nicholas Walker plowed in front of the ambulance, all the way down Rt. 15, so the ambulance could get to Frederick safely. Chief Wachter ended his address by saying, “I’d like to thank everybody who ran calls last year, and we hope it continues this year. Thank you.”

President Donald Stull was not there to deliver the “President’s Remarks,” due to illness, so Scott Martin stepped up to give the address. Donald Stull will still serve as a director on the board but has stepped down as president. President-to-be Scott Martin presented an award to Lisa Lanham in appreciation of her time given in 2017 towards the training of personnel. He then presented an award to Donald Stull, in appreciation of his time served as president from 2006-2017.

Lastly, he presented a new, very important award. The Saving Our Own Award. “On the morning of April 17, 2017, at 0347 hours, ambulance 229 and medic 30 were dispatched for chest pains to an address that belongs to Donald Stull Sr., president of the Lewistown Fire and Rescue Department. Mr. Stull was found to be suffering a heart attack. Personnel administered emergency aid and loaded Mr. Stull into the ambulance for transport. Mr. Stull died once and was revived in the back of the ambulance before being transported.” The following people received this award: Wayne Wachter Jr., Beth Wachter, Stephanie Wachter, Mike Stull, Vicky Martin, Battalion Chief Grossnickel, and DFRS paramedic Sarah Willis. “Thank you all; you saved one of our own. That plaque will hang in this station so that everybody knows we take care of our own as well. Thank you.”

The banquet ended with Eric Smuthers of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association swearing in the new 2018 officers: President Scott Martin, Vice President Scott Stonesifer, Secretary Karen Stull, Assistant Secretary Mary Francis-Bostian, Treasurer Lena Stull, and Assistant Treasurer Donald Martin.

Line Officers were also sworn in: Chief Wayne Wachter, Deputy Chief Vicky Martin, and Assistant Chief Scott Martin. Lastly, the new board of directors were sworn in: Delbert Stull; Steve Stull; Donald Stull, Sr.; Chuck Jenkins; Vicky Martin; and Vince Shrader.

Congratulations to each and every award recipient. On behalf of the community and The Catoctin Banner Newspaper, we genuinely appreciate the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices every member of the Lewistown Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department makes, daily.

Saving Our Own Award recipients are shown left to right, Battalion Chief Grossnickel, Vicky Martin, Beth Wachter, Wayne Wachter Jr., Stephanie Wachter, Mike Stull, and DFRS paramedic Sarah Willis (not pictured).

Pictured above: Top Fire Responders – Kenny Miller, Shawn Wetzel, Vince Schrader, Mike Stull, Steve Stull, Frani Wachter, Donald Martin, Vicky Martin and Beth Wachter, Wayne Stull, and Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.

Top Five EMS Responders are pictured left to right, Brianna Wachter—5th (81 calls); Stephanie Wachter—4th (108 calls); Vicky Martin and Wayne Stull—3rd (123 calls); Chief Wayne Wachter, Jr.—2nd (102 calls); and Beth Wachter—1st (132 calls).

Grace Eyler

On the evening of January 25, 2018, Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company (RRVFC) opened its doors and warmly welcomed their volunteers and friends “home” for their annual banquet. The room was filled with over 200 familiar faces, ready to celebrate achievements and share stories from the past year. The aroma of a homemade dinner from GT’s Catering filled the room. After everyone had finished dessert, President Dale Kline opened, “This marks sixty-eight years of our service to our community of Rocky Ridge…We are very proud to say we are one of five volunteer fire companies in Frederick County.” He stressed the importance of the volunteers, not only within the fire company itself, but the local churches in the proximity of the town that all come together during carnival time to make the event so prosperous. “Without that outside help in a small community, we could not have done what we have done in sixty-eight years.”

The RRVFC relies heavily on funds made from the carnival in August. Other fundraisers held throughout the year include butcherings in November and February; and fantastic breakfasts, hosted by the Auxiliary; as well as Ridgefest; gun raffles; Santa Detail; and various bingos. “The ones who make sure everyone’s happy is our great, great, Ladies Auxiliary…” said Kline, as he gave praise to the hard-working women of the RRVFC.

Ladies Auxiliary President Betty Ann Mumma stood with Dale at the podium, “We are just so fortunate that we have so many who are so willing to help us,” she said. She joked about the President’s earlier comments, bantering back, “Sixty-eight years! Wheew! I’ve been here for fifty of it, in this position for forty-four of it!” The crowd chuckled and clapped for light-hearted Betty Ann, who has been such a vital part of the RRVFC for most of its years. After giving many thanks and credit to the rest of the auxiliary and President Dale Kline, she then handed him a check for $15,000 to help with expenses for the fire company.

Kathy Afzali [State Delegate] took a ride from Annapolis to present RRVFC with a citation from the Bureau of General Assembly in recognition of their continued work to protect their community, and other surrounding communities, for over sixty years. Also in attendance, County Executive Jan Gardner, County Councilmen Kirby Delauter and Billy Shrieve. Another familiar face, Chip Jewell, recently-retired Director of Volunteer Fire Services.

Preceding the citation, President Kline recognized his operational and administrative officers. Company 11 filled in.

Denny and Paulette Mathias awarded the following recipients 5 year pins; 10 year pins were presented to Amber Youngerman, Westly Burrier, Emily Grant; 15 year pins -Tammy Smith; 20 year pins – Rev. James Russell, Melissa Mathias, and Eric Martin. 25 year pin – Matthew Moser and Nelson Smith. One 35 year pin was given to Kevin Albaugh. A 40 year pin to Chief Alan Hurley and  45 year pin for Bernard “Bun” Wivell.

After the 5-year pins, Chief Alan Hurley came forward to present the “Chief’s Award”.  Chief Hurley called out to his line officers to join him up on this evening’s “Front Line”.  Top ten responders included Matt Moser (169 calls), Chief Alan Hurley (141 calls), Christina Hurley (126 calls) Kevin Albaugh (110 calls) Bonny Hurley (107 calls), Larry Humerick Jr. (97 calls) Wesley Burrier (61 calls) John Reese (50 calls) Leon Stover Jr. ( 47 calls) and Craig Hovermale (44 calls).

“Company 30, we have a deep appreciation for you for standing by during our carnival and other times we need you…” said Alan Hurley who recognized Thurmont Community Ambulance Company for their partnership throughout the years. Other companies that were recognized included Vigilant Hose and Independent Hose for their work with RRVFC.

Luke Humerick, leader of the Junior Fire Company took the opportunity to congratulate this year’s young volunteers. “I had a great group of kids this year. They’re all hardworking and ready to help with any task we have.”  Even though three of his members were promoted into RRVFC last year, he’s still proud of all of his kids accomplishments – including Breezy Combs who was elected “Frederick County Fire Prevention Queen.”

The President’s Award was presented to Chief Alan Hurley. Dale reminisced, “This young man asked me at a bingo one night – “What is it that I have to do to become chief?” He presented Alan with the award, concluding “… as you can see, this was many years ago…” in reference to Chief Hurley who has been in the position for many years.

Linda Northrup and Bonny Hurley presented the Robert Albaugh. Volunteer of the Year award to Nancy Baker. Nancy was recognized for her dedication to the company, currently serving as the Auxiliary’s Assistant Chaplin, and has donated 335 hours this year. The Outstanding Junior award was presented to Wayne Lewis. He joined the company in 2015 and has donated 135 hours of time during 2017. The Charles Mumma Firefighter award was presented to Matt Moser, a member for twenty-five years, and a top responder for most of them.

The evening concluded with the induction of the new officers for 2018: President; Dale Kline; Vice President, Denny Mathias; Secretary; Paulette Mathias; Asst. Secretary, Christina Hurley; Treasurer, Bun Wivell; Asst. Treasurer, Bonny Hurley; Chaplin, Rev. James Russell; Chief, Alan Hurley; 1st Asst. Chief, Luke Humerick; 2nd Asst. Chief, Kevin Albaugh; Captain, Jim Rice; Induction was provided by Bob Jacobs, past President of Frederick County Fire Association.

As volunteers shook hands and gave hugs goodbye, all knew they’d be back soon, in one way or another, to show their support and volunteer during the upcoming year’s fundraisers and social events.

2018 Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company Officers

Linda Northrup presents the Robert Albaugh Volunteer of the Year Award to Nancy Baker.

President Dale Kline presents the President’s Award to Chief Alan Hurley.


For nearly half of his life, Pat Boyle (shown right) has been there when Emmitsburg needed help. Over the past forty-two years, he has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission, Parks and Recreation Committee, Emmitsburg Commissioner, Zoning Administrator, and as a Board of Appeals member.

This past January, he finally decided to step back when he resigned from the planning commission. “I’m close to ninety now,” Boyle said. “It’s time for some young blood to help out.”

In the 1970s, before Emmitsburg had a parks and recreation committee, decisions regarding the town parks were made with recommendations from a committee of the players, coaches, and managers of the baseball teams in town. As a coach, Boyle was part of that group.

The town decided to form a Planning and Zoning Commission in 1976 to help with the needs of the growing town.

“The mayor at the time, Richard Sprankle, was my brother-in-law. He asked me to serve, and I said, ‘yes,’” recalled Boyle.

He was one of three members who would be guiding Emmitsburg through some of its growing pains. County officials visited Emmitsburg to help train the new board on what their function and responsibilities would be. At the time, Emmitsburg had about half of the population that it does today and fewer subdivisions.

The next year, the mayor asked Boyle to become the town’s zoning administrator, after the current one moved away.

“I was told the salary would be ‘forthcoming,’” said Boyle. “It turned out to be $10 a year, and I had to go to Frederick for classes on how to do the job.”

Since the job was a full-time one, Boyle also continued to work at his family grocery store in town, although the two jobs overlapped at times. “I had to turn down a few people who wanted to do something that wasn’t in the zoning ordinance. They would come into the store and complain and make a fuss.”

Boyle resigned from the position after seven months, but by then he had lost a couple of friends.

Because of his work as a baseball coach, his next foray into public service was with the parks and recreation committee. He served on the committee for twenty years.

He then became a town commissioner in 1998, and was the president of the commission for a time. He served as commissioner until April 2004, when he resigned.

“I’m proud of my time on the board,” stated Boyle. “We got the water plant built, moved the town office to where it is, and approved some new developments.”

Boyle did make a run for mayor against eventual winner James Hoover and current town commissioner Cliff Sweeney.

“I was disappointed when I lost at first, but within a few months, I was grateful,” said Boyle. “My wife’s health was bad, and I wanted to be with her.”

Boyle returned to public service in 2006, when he was appointed to serve as an alternate on the board of appeals. He served there for a year, until he took a position on the planning and zoning commission in 2007.

And it was here where he ended his service, stepping down at the beginning of the year, having ended up where he started for forty-two years of public service on the planning commission.

“I’m going to miss working with some of the people,” expressed Boyle.

When asked why more of the “young blood” that he says is needed aren’t putting their names forward to help, Boyle said, “I think they’re afraid they’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings. I lost some friends, but you have to do what’s best for the town. I’m proud of this town, and I was proud to help it.”

Mike Hargadon

Emmitsburg can be a beautiful, peaceful little town, but like anywhere in the USA, it can also be that godless, stress-filled rat race. Life can become a never-ending carousel that seems to take a hold and capture our peace. Much of our time can then often be spent trying to regain our peace. This effort can often be misdirected into an escape through drugs, alcohol, or unhealthy relationships. There is a better way! The solution is beautifully explained in a new book by the former Chaplain of the Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, Father Jack Lombardi (pictured right).

This little book on meditation titled, Thirty-three Breaths: A Little Book on Meditation, covers the topic of meditation from a spiritual, historical, and a “how to” perspective. Father Jack describes meditation as an “ongoing and foreshadowing merger with God and soul in oneness.”  Those who became familiar with Father Jack during his eight years at the Grotto will recognize his contemplative manner, as he often would break forth in short prayerful interjections, seemingly erupting from deep within.

Father Jack is also known for his many pilgrimages, in which he led groups internationally to India, Africa, Peru, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and France. Now, his pilgrimage has presented him as an accomplished author, attempting to lead his readers into an essential part of each of our beings. His approach to pilgrimage, whether to a foreign country or life in general, is to deal with the successes and the adversities. He welcomes both as “Part of the Pilgrimage.”

His book reclaims meditation as an essential part of Christian life. “Jesus along with the Holy spirit gives instruction. When you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”

Father Jack discusses techniques to help develop our meditation, to avoid possible failures, and to help still ourselves for this journey.  “We need to ‘ignite the spark’ daily in our own meditation and make this Godly merger real, sensual and ongoing.” Some things may be as simple as breathing, “Why not use it explicitly in our prayer.” In describing the title, Father Jack stated, “Breathing thirty-three breaths in a rhythmic and measured manner is a way to both imitate Jesus’ number of years of life on earth and also physically and spiritually pray in a simple and relatively short way.”

Thirty-three Breaths: A Little Book on Meditation can be purchased at the Seton Shrine and Grotto gift shops.

Jim Bittner of Sabillasville is proud of his grandson, Calvin Bittner, son of Aaron Bittner and wife, Linda, of North Carolina.

Calvin is currently dancing and choreographing with a company called Vivid Ballet, in Hartford, Connecticut. He danced at the White House in December. “It was a very last minute, out-of-the-blue opportunity. I was quite nervous, but also very excited to have the opportunity. We had a few moments in the space to rehearse before the event, and the flow of the event was taken from the First Lady’s movements. She was very pleased with the event, clapping and laughing for us at the end.”

Calvin Bittner lifts a ballerina during a dance in the White House. Melania Trump looks on.