Currently viewing the tag: "Fairfield Pennsylvania"

Lisa C. Cantwell

Seven female combat Veterans enjoyed a four-day getaway recently at Heroes Ridge, a 275-acre retreat complex located atop Raven Rock Mountain near Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Activities included ATV riding on the wooded trails, horseback riding, roping, swimming, painting, yoga, karaoke, dancing around the firepit and a carriage ride tour of the Gettysburg battlefield.  The ladies also enjoyed getting their nails groomed during a special “Spa Day” themed luncheon.

“Females are often the forgotten Veterans,” said Cindy McGrew, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Operation Second Chance (OSC) that manages the gated retreat camp.  Leah, one of the attendees from Kansas City and a Navy veteran agreed, “We, as a society, have to begin thinking that Veterans might be women, too.” She relayed the license plate frame on her car reads “U.S. Navy Retired” and that people often remark, “Please thank your husband for his service.” “I told them, ‘It’s ME’! That people who serve are both men AND women.” 

According to the VA website, more than two million women Veterans reside in the U.S. In 2021, the U.S. Department of Defense recorded that women made up 17 percent of the active-duty force and 21 percent comprised the National Guard/Reserve population. The VA states that women are the fastest growing group in the Veteran population. 

The gathering at Heroes Ridge offered these minority service members a safe and fun environment in which to share their experiences with one another, thereby supporting each one’s journey of healing and recovery. Leah shared, “Being here has been so important to my recovery, I just don’t feel like I fit in unless I’m with other female vets.”  Accompanied by her service dog, “Garet,” she also shared that she was celebrating her 46th birthday, “My injuries had me in a coma for four weeks. I was told I’d never live past 40 and that I’d never walk again. Well, here I am!” All of the women at the retreat presented her with a round of happy birthday wishes and personal tributes. She shared that her favorite experience during the weekend was around the campfire, as the ladies sang and danced in train formation when they found out it was her birthday.  She also loved swimming in the pool with her dog. Leah has known Cindy McGrew for six years and noted, “Everything Cindy does in her life is for veterans, and that’s what Heroes Ridge is all about.” 

Theresa, an Army Veteran from Southern Maryland, said this was her second trip to Heroes Ridge. McGrew met her at Walter Reed Hospital over 12 years ago. “She couldn’t walk or talk. She’s come such a long way! Her road to recovery has been a difficult one,” McGrew said.

At dinner, Theresa shared her story of overcoming serious injuries with her comrades. She gave Cindy McGrew much praise saying, “She saved my life!” McGrew quickly responded, “Oh no! I didn’t do that. God did!” Theresa has recently been hired by McGrew as an intern with OSC.

“What I love about this particular retreat is that it caters to women exclusively. We can just enjoy some fun in a non-competitive atmosphere,” Theresa observed. “To be able to connect with other women vets and experience new things, share stories, learn what works and what doesn’t is invaluable. It’s reassuring just knowing there are others that understand.” Recognizing the need for female Veterans to connect, she began a group for this underserved population that meets monthly in her community. Her favorite activity at the retreat was horseback riding, noting that experience was much better the second time around.

She said, “It was so calming, and I felt empowered. Riding gave me a sense of accomplishment.”  She recently completed a research course at Harvard and hopes to apply her knowledge toward a future study on women in military service. 

In addition to fully funded retreats at Heroes Ridge, the highly rated non-profit has other getaway locations for Veterans nationwide in Texas, Florida, Colorado, Montana, and South Dakota, to name a few. To date, OSC has provided over $16 million to assist our nation’s heroes and their families in the form of mortgage and rent payments, airline and Amtrack tickets, lodging, essential living expense items, and recreation and entertainment fees.

For more information on retreats for Veterans and their families at Heroes Ridge at Raven Rock and about Operation Second Chance (OSC), please visit the website at

Cover Photo Lead-In: Leah gives “Cactus” a pat during riding and roping activities at Heroes Ridge.

Note: All Veterans requested that their first name only be used.

Sara and Kimberly enjoy the thrills of ATV riding during Heroes Ridge Women Veterans Retreat.

Pool playtime with the service dogs at Heroes Ridge Women Veterans Retreat.

Chris, a combat Veteran, mounted on “Pepsi” at Heroes Ridge. She’s being led by CEO and founder, Cindy McGrew.

Tom Ward

Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services recognized Vigilant Hose Company personnel Monday morning, April 25, 2022, for their efforts in rescuing two individuals trapped in a house fire on March 29 in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. A Unit Citation was presented for “The quick and decisive actions displayed by the personnel on Ambulance 69 and Engine 61 [that] significantly contributed to the positive outcome of this incident and make those recognized most deserving of this Unit Citiation.”

The crew on E61 (Engine) included Assistant Chief Josh Brotherton, EMS Captain Frank Davis and FF Michael O’Donnell.  While enroute they were updated by a Fairfield volunteer (Chad Fogle) who lives nearby that there were two people trapped on a porch roof and there were heavy first conditions surrounding them. 

E61 arrived and dropped their supply line down the driveway and proceeded with A69.  Assistant Chief Brotherton instructed FF Arrowood off of A69 to put the deck gun from E61 into service and begin hitting the fire. AC Brotherton and FF O’Donnell began placing ladders against the trapped occupants and removed them from the roof where they both received care from FF Hartlaub on A69 and the medic from Adams Regional EMS. 

“As chief of Vigilant Hose Company I want to again personally commend these crews and all the membership for the outstanding job you do every day to protect Emmitsburg and the surrounding communities,” Chief Chad Umbel said.   

“As President of the VHC I am extremely proud of what our members do each and every day in partnership with our DFRS partners assigned to Emmitsburg. We are proud to provide Fire/Rescue/EMS services to Emmitsburg and surrounding communities and are grateful for this outcome.  Having state-of-the-art apparatus and equipment is key to our operation and we are grateful to the Emmitsburg community and all our supporters for enabling us to do what we do,” stated Tom Ward.

Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services recognized Vigilant Hose Company personnel with a Unit Citation. Pictured from left are Frederick County Fire Chief Tom Coe, FF Michael O’Donnell, Frederick County Deputy Chief Steve Leatherman, FF Danny Hartlaub, EMS Captain Frank Davis, FF Tyler Arrowood, VHC Assistant Chief Josh Brotherton, Frederick County Volunteer Services Deputy Chief Shane Darwick, Frederick County Deputy Chief Kenny Poole, VHC Chief Chad Umbel.

by James Rada, Jr.

Indians Capture a Fairfield Family

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns about Richard Bard’s escape from captivity and the rescue of his wife.

Hannah McBride, a young girl who was at Bard’s Mill, near Fairfield, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 1758, happened to glance out the door of the house. She screamed when she saw men running toward her. She turned to call out a warning to the others in the house, but it was too late.

Nineteen Delaware Indians rushed the house. Richard Bard, the mill owner, grabbed a pistol from its peg on the wall and fired at one of the Indians. The pistol misfired, but the sight of it must have frightened the Indian, and he ran off. Another Indian attacked Bard’s cousin, Thomas Potter, with a knife. The two men struggled over the knife and Potter managed to cut the Indian on the hand.

However, there were just too many Indians. Bard, his wife, and son; Potter; Hannah; Frederick Ferrick, an indentured servant; two field hands; and a young boy were all captured and forced to follow their captors. Potter was killed and scalped, most likely because he had injured one of the Delawares. The Indians also burned the mill down.

About four miles from the mill, the Indians killed Bard’s son without warning. The party moved over South Mountain to the head of Falling Spring. They moved north of Fort Chambers and onto Rocky Spring, and camped for the night near Fort McCord in present-day Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The prisoners had walked forty miles that first day.

As they entered Path Valley on the second day, the Delawares discovered that a group of white men was pursuing them. The Delawares and their prisoners moved to the top of Tuscarora Mountain and threatened to kill the prisoners if the white pursuers reached them.

Bard and Samuel Hunter, one of the field hands, sat down to rest at the top of the mountain “when an Indian without any previous warning sunk a tomahawk into the forehead of Samuel Hunter, who was seated by my father, and by repeated blows put an end to his existence. He was then scalped and the Indians proceeding on their journey encamped that evening some miles on the north of Sideling Hill,” Archibald Bard, one of Bard’s children, wrote years later.

The group hiked on to Blair Gap in Blair County, Pennsylvania, and while crossing Stoney Creek, the wind blew Bard’s hat from the head of the Indian who had taken it for his own. While the Indian went to recover it, Bard crossed the creek. The Indian returned and saw Bard had crossed. He was so angry that he pistol-whipped Bard and nearly disabled him.

“And now reflecting that he could not possibly travel much further, and that if this was the case, he would be immediately put to death, he determined to attempt his escape that night,” Bard wrote after the ordeal.

Another thing pushing his decision was that half of his face had been painted red two days earlier. “This denoted that a council had been held and that an equal number were for putting him to death and for keeping him alive, and that another council was to have taken place to determine the question,” Bard wrote.

After the Indians laid down to rest, one of them dressed in Catherine Bard’s gown to amuse his companions. While the Delawares relaxed, Richard Bard was sent to get water without his captors paying too close attention to him. When Bard got about 100 yards away, the Delawares realized that he was getting away.

They chased after him, but he was gone.

The Indians spent two days looking for him, but Richard Bard had made his getaway.

The Bard Plantation.

Update: Susan Torborg

Have you ever fallen for the hype of a weight loss plan and then you buy it and it does nothing for you? Your money blown for no results! For some, this happens time and time again. We’re left wondering if there are any TRUE and affordable options to help navigate us to a healthier weight and lifestyle.

Susan Torborg, of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, hates seeing the waste of people’s money on diets that have no results or diets that have some results but later fail when we try to do it on our own and gain the weight back. She has made it her life’s passion to help people achieve long-term healthier weight and healthier lifestyles. She lives right in our local area. Can you believe her R3 Plan is FREE? Any of us can access it and follow the simple directions as outlined. We can even join with others who follow the R3 Plan in our local area.

With a degree in exercise science in 1993, Susan has been a personal trainer in health clubs, resorts, spas, and in people’s homes. She even marketed a workout CD in the 1990s with some success. Susan joined our Catoctin Banner Resolution Contest with the hope to share her R3 Plan with many others by the end of the year.

The number of followers of the R3 Weight Loss Plan grows everyday. It is a food plan, a food lifestyle, not a diet. On Facebook, 2,292 people were followers on the R3 weight loss page the day we spoke. The three Rs stand for reset, reintroduce, and real life. In the first two weeks, R3 will help break your sugar cravings with a reset; in the second two weeks you’ll learn how to reintroduce healthy sugars and carbs; in the third two weeks you’ll learn to use healthy food options in everyday real life.

Susan said, “I brought it [R3] onto Facebook and started teaching people how to eat. If you just follow R3, and use some of the tools you may need, you’ll have success.”

Since taking R3 on Facebook, it has taken off. Every week the number of followers grows by at least 100 people. Susan loves teaching, inspiring and helping people persevere, because “the journey is hard,” she explained. She’s on a mission to teach people freedom. She added, “It gives me joy.”

Free is great, but what about money? How does Susan make money from a free plan? She does admit that it’s business. By educating people about the best quality brand of nutritional foods,  supplements and vitamins, Susan makes enough money to pay for what she needs. But, there are R3 followers who already have their own tools in place, Susan offers her expertise even though she doesn’t financially gain from them.

She said, “I’m still helping people, so that’s okay. My focus isn’t only the income. R3 continues to grow. I want to help as many people as I can. I’m inspired by stories in the weight loss group. I don’t care if they bought product.”

From the growth of R3, Susan can’t keep up with the demand by herself, so she brought on R3 coaches who also share a passion to help others get healthy. She’s added three new coaches in the past two months. She is looking for more R3 coaches. You work from home using the Internet, you, too, can help people all over the country.

You can find the R3 Plan on Facebook. Request to join the closed group, “R3 Weight Loss Plan” and Susan will add you. You can download and print the plan for free and find it in the first pinned post. You can also find it on her website,

This photo is from an annual convention that took place in the beginning of May where marketing execs met for a training. The people pictured have been using the R3 Plan to help grow their business. It doesn’t financially benefit Susan (pictured front center), but it helps others to build her brand. “People may question WHY I share the plan so freely, it’s because the feeling in my heart is indescribable, it’s a JOY that no money could ever buy!   I LOVED this moment.”

Kiara George, daughter of Teddy George and Donna Walter of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, was named to the prestigious title of Miss Catoctin-Aires Queen for 2017. This title was bestowed upon George from an overwhelming number of votes from the marching corps’ membership. George received the crown and sash from the outgoing queen, her sister, Shyanne George, who enjoyed the title in 2016. Kiara will now represent the group in its new year as queen. This title will permit her to be a featured performer in the group’s hometown parade, as well as other responsibilities throughout 2017.

First runner-up to the title was Erika Oland of Thurmont. Rachel Bechler of Frederick was named as court royalty. Each received a token for their participation in the royalty pageant.

In addition to the crowning ceremony, the group celebrated its undefeated marching corps status during its annual holiday show, held at Catoctin High School. Members of the organization performed in solo and group numbers, twirling batons, hoops, and color guard flags. The group also showcased its percussion line, capturing the 2016 Advanced Marching Corps Percussion Line Championship title with the Capital Area Marching Association organization.

The corps presented its membership with trophies for its championship title win of Advanced Majorette Corps and its undefeated season.  In addition, trophies were presented for perfect attendance, excellence in leadership, and most improved and most prepared twirler. Each member of the group received a duffel bag, displaying the 2016 championship title.

The Catoctin-Ettes, inc., a local, non-profit marching group, now begins preparation for its 2017 competitive season. There are openings in the areas of color guard, to include rifle spinning and flag twirlers; percussion (includes drums, cymbals and bells), as well as the majorette and pom pom lines. For more information about joining the group, please contact Donna Landsperger at 240-405-2604 or at

Farm to Table at Local Farmers Market

by Chris O’Connor

IMG_4353My journey on the road to the farmer’s market with my wares in tow began not as a mad dash, but more like a casual meander.

The first issue to confront was the most mundane: I had nothing to sell but for seedlings I’d started for my own garden.

Procrastination—the enemy of the most well-intentioned gardener—is even worse if one is too much an inveterate dreamer. Being identified as a dreamer isn’t a compliment, but rather implies one isn’t a “doer.” It was sort of disheartening to be called a dreamer when I was a child, until Mom helped me re-frame the word and told me to consider myself an idea person.

The dreamer in me has long been intrigued with the notion of selling something—anything—at a farmer’s market, a place with no walls and the only ceiling, the ever-changing sky above. Short of becoming growers themselves, where else can professional chefs or imaginative home cooks obtain the tastiest vegetables and herbs for their dishes or the freshest flowers for their tables?

Recently, I heard that there were still vendor spaces available at a local market. Better yet, there was no charge for a space. It was a no-brainer for me to follow one of my dreams—except for the pesky problem that I had no marketable product.

My internal GPS startled me when it piped up, “Recalibrating!” and I was off to the races. The first order of business was to contact someone to secure a space before the market’s opening. I started with the Emmitsburg Town Office.

With a space available for me, I hastily transplanted some of my flower seedlings from market packs into individual pots and gave each a splash of water-soluble fertilizer. With some searching, I found some bubble wrap to stuff in between what would be jars of water to hold fresh cut herbs. But the quest for the small cooler that I usually use to keep my drinking water below 80 degrees proved to be a futile exercise.

Market day dawned as so many recently, with a hint of a promise to stay nice, but the angry remnants of Tropical Storm Bill loomed as a threat on the distant horizon.

After loading up my trusty truck with my meager offerings, I optimistically left the mountain for town. Despite carefully compiling a lengthy checklist of necessities, I forgot a table, so I spread a blanket on the tailgate upon which I laid my potted flowers and water-filled mason jars containing long stems of fresh herbs. Thankfully the heat and humidity was tolerable with a refreshing breeze off the mountain.

Once set up, I chatted with vendors who have been selling their products at the Farmer’s Market for years, such as Pete and Ann Puntigan. Among other vegetables, their display consisted of snow peas, sweet peas, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and one of my personal favorites, “Candy” onions (a sweet onion variety similar to a Vidalia).

Marcella Waterman and her daughter Anna of Stoneyridge Farm, long-time supporters of the local farm markets, had an assortment of baked goods, heirloom tomato plants, herbs, vegetables, and pint containers of sour cherries. They also raise dairy goats and show chickens at their farm.

Newcomer Emily Hoponick of Copper Star Farm raises registered miniature donkeys at her farm in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. She had eggs from her free-roaming chickens for sale, along with skeins of rich-colored yarn spun from her sheep herd of Romney, Leicester, and Jacob breeds.

One farmer has been selling vegetables and melons since he was a teenager in Owings Mills, Maryland; but since buying a farm in Littlestown, Pennsylvania, he has joined the Emmitsburg Farmer’s Market, still traveling to Owings Mills where he maintains his original vegetable stand.

Willow Valley Farm Market of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, was represented by Stacey Crum and her daughter Ashley who sold a variety of fresh cut herbs and plants and handmade scented soaps, along with other gifts. They also have a market at their farm on Pecher Road in Fairfield, where one can find a number of products that they, and other family members, fabricate and grow.

Of course, the availability of vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers will change as different varieties come to maturity as the growing season progresses. Still, cooks can enjoy the farm-to-table fare without the middleman, which, by nature, is a time-consuming step during which produce can diminish in flavor and nutrients.

The beauty of local farmer’s markets is that the consumer can express their interest in different varieties of products they’d like to see from growers that they themselves may not have the time, space, or expertise to grow.

Supporting a farmer’s market is a grand way to sustain members of the community who work protracted hours preparing the earth, planting, and maintaining crops until harvest—not to mention dealing with the vagaries of weather and battling a diverse cast of winged and four-legged creatures that also enjoy fresh produce.

My offerings may not sell, but this isn’t a big deal since I grow herbs my family members enjoy, and freeze the rest either solo or in pesto.

Flowers are always cheering to the spirit. I grow flowers to help sustain ruby-throated hummingbirds, birds, and butterflies. And when winter closes in, flower seed heads feed the birds of winter yet longer.

Stroll through Emmitsburg and Thurmont’s farmers markets on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, respectively.

While you are there, introduce yourself to the growers, for it’s said that a stranger is a friend one has yet to meet.