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by Chris O’Connor

There’s More to Bonnie than Postage Stamps

Sabillasville resident Bonnie DeLauter is a self-described social butterfly who loves to talk.

Many know her as a hard-working employee of the United States Postal Service (USPS), who runs the post office in Cascade and who is a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Sabillasville.

I know about her talkative side. She was the first person to befriend me over a decade ago when transferring my then-second grader to Sabillasville Elementary School. We met many times there to join our daughters at lunch. Early on, Bonnie’s gift of gab must have left me looking a bit bewildered while she attempted to fill me in on the lay of the land. Bonnie’s late husband, Steve, noticed the bemused expression on my face. He glanced at me and said, “Confusin’ ain’t it?” I chuckled, but Bonnie didn’t miss a beat and continued to educate me on what to expect in the days to come.

Bonnie and Steve met when she was just fourteen. They dated for close to a decade before marrying in 1982. She worked as a bus driver before taking the civil service exam some thirty years ago and was hired by the USPS, working at post offices ranging from rural post offices on the other side of Hagerstown to Libertytown.

Her only sister, Linda, passed away in 2001, but Bonnie treasures and appreciates the company of her Aunt Virginia in Thurmont, and her aunt and uncle, Dorothy and Richard Valentine of Emmitsburg.

Her husband, Steve, worked for a couple of years in the late 1970s for the Western Maryland/Chessie Railroad, until he turned his full attention to the family farm in Sabillasville, producing grains, hay, fruit, and raising cattle until his passing in 2004. Bonnie and her still young daughter, Karen, returned to her parents place, Donald Harbaugh and her late mom Betty Green Harbaugh’s Sabillasville farm. They resided with her dad, Donald, until building a house on the home place in April 2006.

Bonnie is active in a variety of organizations, including the Ladies Auxiliary of American Legion Cascade Post 239, of which she is obviously proud. The Legion sponsors many activities to raise money for Veterans who have served our country and philanthropic organizations such as the Patty Pollatos Fund, a non-profit that helps to financially benefit individuals and families in need while in the throes of devastating illnesses and injuries.

One upcoming fundraiser is a gun raffle on September 26. Bonnie helps out by selling tickets to the raffle and lending a hand the day before with food preparation. Raffle tickets are available to the public for $10.00, and can be obtained from Bonnie at the Cascade Post Office or the Legion Hall on McAfee Hill Road.

The Legion’s Mr. and Mrs. Cascade event is being held on October 10 (Colorfest weekend). The light-hearted occasion finds men and women dressed as the opposite sex, participating in a talent showcase. Bonnie’s description of past contests made the coronation sound like more fun than a barrel of monkeys. It is open to the public.

Local businesses donate products, time, and talents for the Spa Day on October 18, which is also a public event. One can enjoy a massage, makeup, manicure, and hair styling. A donation to the Legion is welcomed and ultimately benefits someone in need, especially those who have honored us with their service.

The wide-reaching significance of the Legion to Veterans and residents of the Cascade area is hard to quantify, but Bonnie conveys a perspective that hints at the reach of the Legion’s helping hand. Profits benefit Veterans of our Armed Forces, as well as children for a back-to-school get-together. At Christmas, members attempt to fulfill the wishes of children at Cascade Elementary, whose families might find purchasing a particular gift unaffordable.

Bonnie recounted many touching, heart-warming deeds accomplished by the Legion’s members, which I hope to recount in a future column.

Some years ago, I was a beneficiary of the Legion’s generosity after breaking my leg and receiving a loaner wheelchair from them, thanks to Bonnie’s intervention on my behalf.

She is also a member the Ladies Auxiliary of South Mountain Rod and Gun Club, located on Rt. 77 in Smithsburg, which opens its doors to non-members during holiday celebrations throughout the year.

One tradition Bonnie revisits is cruising to her childhood stomping grounds in Rocky Ridge, helping out wherever needed at the annual Rocky Ridge Carnival. It also affords her the opportunity to chat with friends she can’t see as frequently as she’d like.

Another of her local haunts is Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, where she plays shuffleboard and enjoys a meal and the camaraderie of friends.

Travel is another of Bonnie’s favorite pursuits, though she bemoans the fact that it’s been more than a few years since she has been able to get away. She loves visiting friends in Florida, Oklahoma, and Ohio, while squeezing in one of her favorite spectator sports: bull riding. There’s been a Caribbean cruise or two, and horseback riding at John Flaugher’s place in Florida. John was a great friend to Bonnie’s husband, Steve, and is Karen’s godfather.

Bonnie’s benevolent nature, sense of humor, and easy laugh is testament to her favorite saying, “Life is what you make it.”