Mayor Don Briggs

At a recent National Fire Heritage Center Board meeting, a fellow board member, Carter Jones, told me of a story he had written about, “The Burning of Columbia,” South Carolina, during the Civil War. In forty-eight hours, February 17-18, 1865, more than half of the capital was burned to the ground by the Union Army, under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman on his “March to the Sea.” Throughout the siege, city fire companies fought the fires to near exhaustion and, in the end, most of their equipment and apparatuses were also destroyed. The small Columbia Independent Fire Engine Company, in particular, was in need to replace its destroyed hose carriage. To that news, the New York Firemen’s Association purchased a hose carriage for the company, “As a token of good-will from the firemen of New York.”  Tragically, the ship carrying the fire carriage was lost off of Cape Hatteras. But not to be deterred, the New York Firemen’s Association again raised money for yet another hose carriage. Upon receiving the gift, a former Confederate colonel stepped forward and said that if New York should have need, “Columbia, he hoped, would return the favor.”

One hundred and thirty-four years later, on September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers in New York were attacked, and 2,977 people died, including 343 firefighters in the line of duty. Without hesitation, off the Independent Fire Engine Company’s lead, other fire companies and many residents of Columbia joined in to raise money to help replace damaged FDNY equipment. The choice of the New York Firemen’s Association for the gift was Ladder 101 in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, which lost seven members of the company, as well as their ladder truck. When today it seems people are more and more inclined on finding differences and division, after what would be an understatement observation, a very divisive time in our country, firemen bound by the code to serve the public were there for each other.

Thank you to the Seton Center for putting together an inaugural job fair at the Mother Seton School. The event was an overwhelming success. Representatives from thirty-eight businesses and organizations were on hand to welcome the many employment seekers. No doubt an event will be held again next fall. If you missed the fair and are interested in employment, contact Sister Martha at 301-447-6102 ext. 12 or

In October, congratulations to incumbent Commissioner Joseph Ritz, III, who was sworn in to serve his second three years as Emmitsburg Town Commissioner.  I am deeply honored to serve the town as mayor for an additional three-year term.

Thank you to Mount St. Mary’s University for providing the inclement weather site Sunday for the 36th Annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. Once again, thousands visited our town and, once again, the residents and town staff of Emmitsburg proved to be the consummate hosts.

Frederick County Fire Rescue Museum unveiled the “Wall of Honor” for the twenty-three Frederick County firemen who died in the line of Duty.

Congratulations to Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D. who was inaugurated as the 26th President of Mount St. Mary’s University.

I was honored to give the welcoming from the Town of Emmitsburg at the above three events.

Thank you to all the service groups involved in the planning and putting on of the Emmitsburg annual Halloween event.

November 23 is Thanksgiving Day. The town office will be closed November 23 and 24.

The first Monday on December 4, the tree lighting on the square, music, and caroling begins at 5:30 p.m., with Santa’s visit at 6:00 p.m., then down two blocks to the Carriage House Inn for the 29th Annual “An Evening of Christmas Spirit.”

Tuesday, December 5 is the Town Council meeting.

Happy Thanksgiving wishes to everyone.

Emmitsburg…a great place to live and work.

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