Currently viewing the tag: "Thurmont Community Ambulance Company"

Blair Garrett

Rain or shine, the Thurmont carnivals are always a good time. June is an exciting month. You lose the brisk mornings, the temperature cranks up, and school is out for all of the kids.

June is especially exciting in Thurmont, with not one, but two, carnivals coming to town, giving people a much-needed injection of fun and excitement to start off their summer.

The Thurmont Community Ambulance Company’s annual carnival kicked off at the beginning of June without a hitch. With four days of beautiful weather and tons of great games, sunshine, rides, and bingo, it was almost impossible not to have a great time.

And, who can forget the fireworks! An event more than a millennium old, fireworks are still as captivating today as they were in ancient times. Thurmont Ambulance’s fireworks kicked off just as the light in the sky dimmed, and the finale was a sight to behold. Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Lowman Keeney said, “Our carnival was very successful this year with a gorgeous week and fireworks.”

The Annual Thurmont Firemen’s Carnival at the Guardian Hose Company Carnival grounds powered its way through some stormy weather, but that didn’t dampen the moods of excited families.

Despite some rain delays, the food was coming out hot, spirits were high, and the kids swarmed to the carnival attractions like bees to honey as soon as the clouds parted.

The Firemen’s Carnival is always highlighted by one of the most anticipated parades in Frederick County. And, for the first time since 2019, fire trucks, ambulances, and community members took to the streets to celebrate.

There was loud music, cheering, banners, and a whole lot of fun getting to see all the different people stroll through the main drag in Thurmont.

Good food and good music make for good times, and there’s been no better place to find it throughout the years than the Thurmont carnivals.  

Cover Photo: Patty Phillips’ granddaughter, Lydia, holds up her winnings from the goldfish game at the Thurmont Carnival!

A brave rider takes on the infamous mechanical bull at the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Carnival.

The kids coaster is one of the most popular rides for kids attending their first carnival or their tenth carnival.

A family takes a fun spin on the Merry-Go-Round.

A duo of carnival-goers race to blast a target with water with the hopes to win a stuffed animal.

Kids take a fun spin on the Scrambler.

Two boys shoot for a chance to win hermit crabs.

Guests flock to food stands as the carnival grounds open.

People line the streets to see the much-anticipated Guardian Hose Company Fireman’s Parade.

A group of kids are midair in one of the most adrenaline-pumping rides at the carnival.

The spinning swings are packed with kids looking for some high-flying fun.

Photos by Blair Garrett

Blair Garrett

Through a wintry mixture of sleet and snow, locals from around the Catoctin Area poured into the Thurmont Event Complex to show love and support for the Thurmont Ambulance Company during its annual banquet on January 18, 2019.

Friends, families and volunteers of the Thurmont Ambulance Company braved the icy conditions to honor and recognize the people who dedicate their time and energy to answering calls for help 365 days a year.

Food was served, laughs were had, and awards were given for several individuals who go above and beyond for citizens in need around the area. Among those recognized, a few could not make it due to the snowy tundra that blanketed the Catoctin Mountain, but the snow did not stop President Lowman Keeney from reading their names and praising their services in their absence.

The Rocky Ridge 4-H Club served the dinner for the banquet, providing everyone with a variety of delicious foods and desserts to accommodate even the pickiest of eaters. The lines for food piled up, with guests collecting around the mashed potatoes, green beans and fried shrimp.

As the 4-H kids made their rounds providing refills and entertainment for guests, President Keeney took the stage to bring attention to the banquet and give thanks to all who made the event possible.

As everyone began to settle in, bellies full and eager for things to begin, Keeney started with introductions and a welcome.

“I want to thank you all for being here despite the conditions outside.” Keeney said. “There are a few of us who could not make it tonight, but we still appreciate the all of the contributions they have made.”

Many people had and continue to have a helping hand in making the Thurmont Ambulance Company the smashing success that it is, but Keeney identified a few key players who make the company what it is today.

Chief Dennis “DJ” Ott, Judy White, Joyce Stitely, Dennis Ott, Sr., Jim Wolf, Shirley Stackhouse and the company’s top responder Jenn Frushour all got special thanks among several others for the work and efforts made for the ambulance company.

Across all members, 46 responded to calls in 2018, providing Catoctin Area residents with fire and EMS aid at all hours of the day. Of the 46 responders, one stood above all others in time dedicated and calls ran.

Jenn Frushour clocked 3,872 hours for the Thurmont Ambulance Company, running a remarkable 342 calls for patients. To put it in perspective, across a full year, Frushour logged 10.6 hours per day in total time spent for the Thurmont Ambulance Company.

“Our top responder apparently has no life, running 342 calls,” Chief DJ Ott joked.

Other top responders include last year’s Chief’s Award winner, Brooke Ott, who ran 201 calls. Hilary Blake ran 128 calls, William Ott ran 62 calls and Chris Pigula ran 55 calls.

The ambulance company responded to 1116 EMS, 50 fire and 92 non-emergency calls over the course of 2018, continuing to stay busy each and every day. “We had an average response time of seven minutes,” Chief Ott said. “Ideally, we’d like to get that to five, but that’s something we’re working toward.” With an average response time of seven minutes and a total call time of 87 minutes, it’s easy to see just how much time some of the staff and volunteers are pouring in to help the community.  

“We have a great group here, but we’re always looking for more help and more EMTs,” Chief Ott said.

Venture Crew 270’s presentation kicked off the awards.

The operational awards went off without a hitch despite absences from a few key members. President Keeney presented Dennis Ott, Sr. with the President’s award, highlighting his contributions to the community of Thurmont and all its people. “He takes an hour to get from Thurmont to Emmitsburg, but he’ll always be there for you,” Keeney joked.

A memorial service soon followed in honor of two close members who passed away in 2018 and made a significant impact over the course of their lives.

Two candles were lit by Shirley Stackhouse for the memorial service to symbolize the eternal place Russell “Lee” Fisher, Sr. and Diane Oxendale have with the Thurmont Ambulance Company. Fisher passed away in April of 2018 and Oxendale passed in June 2018.

After a moment of silence and a prayer for those we’ve lost rang through the Thurmont Event Complex, the focus shifted to the naming of the 2019 administrative and operational officers.

Lowman Keeney, Dennis Ott, Sr., Judy White, Glenn Muth, Joyce Stitely, Shirley Stackhouse, Tim Wiltrout, Jim Wolf, Jim Humerick, Dennis Stitely, Cole Mercer, Dennis “DJ” Ott, Jr., Jenn Frushour, Brooke Ott and Renae Coolidge were all named officers for the new year. Congrats to all current officers on their positions protecting and serving our community.

The 4-H Club members made their rounds once again, handing out raffle tickets to everyone in attendance, with the crowd eagerly awaiting to hear their ticket called to get one of several awesome prizes. The ambulance club had gift baskets filled with fruits, several bottles of wine and gift cards to a select few lucky winners.

The raffle wrapped up the event and capped off another successful Thurmont Ambulance Banquet, but each speaker made it clear that the contributions made by those honored do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. A sincere thank you goes out to all EMS providers in the area for your service and dedication.

Without your time and efforts, our community would not be the same.  

Fifteen members were appointed as 2019 Administration and Operational Officers. Administrative Officers include President, Lowman Keeney; Vice President, Dennis Ott, Sr.; Treasurer, Judy White; Asst. Treasurer, Glenn Muth; Secretary, Joyce Stitely; Asst. Secretary, Shirley Stackhouse; Directors, Tim Wiltrout, Jim Wolf, Jim Humerick, Dennis Stitely, and Cole Mercer. Operational Officers include Chief, Dennis Ott, Jr.; Asst. Chief, Jenn Frushour; Lieutenant, Brooke Ott; and Sergeant, Renae Coolidge.

(above, right) Despite the wintry weather, a significant crowd attended the annual banquet.

(left) One of many awards presented, Dennis Ott, Sr. presented an award to Judy White.

(right) Shirley Stackhouse lit two candles in memorial of Russell “Lee” Fisher, Sr. and Diane Oxendale.

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.


Cuddles Cat Rescue Holds Unique and Successful Fundraiser

Cuddles Cat Rescue (CCR) had some awesome fundraisers in 2015: a pizza night at Rocky’s New York Pizza; Cuddles Cat Rescue and Friends calendar with photographer, Gina Rubino McCracken donating her time; a booth set up at Colorfest; and a paint night at The Furnace with Laura Day; and many people making personal donations.

But the most unique fundraiser they had was in December, when Rick Toms of Red Canary Tattoo donated his time for cat tattoos for one week. For $20.00 anyone could get a cat tattoo, chosen from one of his tattoo flash, and 100 percent was donated to Cuddles Cat Rescue. Ninety people came and got tattoos! Cuddles Cat Rescue would like to sincerely thank Rick Toms and everyone who received tattoos, and to all who participated in all of their fundraising events throughout the year and who made personal donations. You can contact them at

Cuddles Rescue - cat tattoos

 Cuddles Cat Rescue volunteers are shown waiting for their cat tattoos (from left): Dawn Bonsby, Becca Lee, Sarah Stine (one of CCR’s adoptees), Devin Stine, and Cory Stine.

Devastation Rallies the Emmitsburg Community

David & Danielle Eyler with DeniseIn December, residents of Emmitsburg suffered great loss of life, homes, and personal belongings, in two separate fires. Pictured right, two of the fire victims, Mr. David Eyler (right) and his daughter, Danielle (center), stood with Seton Center, Inc.’s Case Manager Denise Sauvageau (left), to say thank you to the Seton Center and the Emmitsburg Council of Churches (ECC) Fire Relief Fund for their help to secure safe housing, receive referrals for future needs, and find the hope needed to re-build their lives.

Since the day of the first fire, Seton Center’s Outreach Office has been serving as the liaison for the Emmitsburg Council of Churches’ Fire Fund to help those affected, by providing referrals, case management, and additional support for resulting needs. The ECC’s Fire Fund is assisting the fire victims with rental deposits, first-month’s rent for new housing, and other necessities that will help them restore their lives.

The combined financial support of the Emmitsburg Council of Churches’ Fire Fund, Trinity United Methodist Church of Emmitsburg, and Seton Center, Inc. assisted the widower in paying the funeral costs for his wife, who perished in the December 7 Emmitsburg Main Street fire. The ECC Fire Funds were also used to assist with the funeral expenses of the second victim who also lost her life in that fire.

Catoctin-Ettes, Inc. Awards Ceremony

The Catoctin-Ettes, Inc. Twirling Corps recently named its 2016 Queen during the annual awards ceremony held by the organization. Miss Shyanne George, daughter of Donna Walter and Teddy George, was elected by members of the organization to represent the group in the new year. Her duties will include acceptance of the organization’s awards at various events, and a featured spot in the Emmitsburg Community day parade with the marching group. She was presented with the crown and royalty sash from the outgoing queen, Abigail Adams.

The Catoctin-Ettes also named Kiara George to the first runner-up title. Members of the royal court were Rachel Bechler and Erika Oland.

In addition to the crowning ceremony, the group celebrated the end of its performing and competing year with its annual holiday stage show, where groups and individuals performed new dance-twirl style routines for the audience.

In recognition of the group’s Advanced Marching Corps Championship title, each member of the twirling squads, the competing color guard, and the percussion line received a championship hooded sweatshirt and representative trophy.

Trophies were also presented to members achieving perfect attendance at all events, including practices. As a long-standing tradition within the organization, special recognition pins were presented to those who have maintained accumulated perfect attendance for performances throughout the years. Those receiving these prestigious awards were: Kelly Reed—28 years; Angela Ridenour—18 years; Paula Sharrer—14 years; Catilyn Purdum—12 years; Rachel Bechler—8 years; and Abby Adams—7 years.

Most improved members of the group, Erika Oland and Adelaide Flanary, were recognized with trophies for their exceptional progress as twirling members. McKenzie Walker earned the respect of her coaches as most improved percussionist. Additionally, twirlers who completed their first year of membership were rewarded with “Survivor” plaques. These members were David Haynes, Caylan Markel, Britany Study, Courtney Study, and Bianca Thews.

The Catoctin-Ettes also recognized Paula Sharrer as the Most Valuable Player for 2015, due to her involvement in each area of the corps. Completing the awards ceremony, Angela Ridenour was named as Hero of the Year.

The stage production and awards presentation marks the forty-second year that the Catoctin-Ettes has closed a successful and rewarding marching corps season.

Five Emmitsburg Scouts Earn Coveted Eagle Scout Rank

It’s hard for any high school student to stay focused on achieving the rank of Eagle, let alone five at one time, but that is exactly what happened for five scouts from Troop 727 sponsored by St. Joseph’s Church in Emmitsburg.

On December 26, 2015, Maryland State Delegate Kathy Afzali, Mayor Donald Briggs of Emmitsburg, and Fr. John Holliday CM, pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Emmitsburg, joined Troop 727 Scout Master Mary Neibecker and Assistant Scout Master Christopher Anadale in honoring the five scouts who successfully completed the Eagle Scout rank. The scouts were Keegan Wright, Andrew Neibecker, Brendan Isaacson, Paul Slotwinski, and Stephen Lowe.

The Eagle Scout rank is the culmination of years of work. Most of the boys had been scouting together for ten years, starting as cub scouts. A major highlight of their scouting careers was their trip to Philmont Scout Ranch, the Boy Scouts of America’s premier high adventure base, located in New Mexico. Other highlights included camping at the Summit Bechtel Reserve; the new BSA high adventure camp, located in West Virginia; Goshen Scout Reservation; Camp Airy Boy Scout Camp; Camp Tuckahoe; and portions of the Appalachian Trail. They overnighted on both the Battleship USS New Jersey where they slept in hammocks, and the USS Constellation (at anchor in Baltimore Harbor, it’s the last all-sail U.S. Navy warship), where they stood watch aboard the frigate. They also participated in numerous training classes, including CPR and Wilderness and Remote First Aid.

“Boy Scouts has been an amazing experience from start to finish, but it wouldn’t have been the same without these guys,” said Eagle Scout Paul Slotwinski. “They helped to make every experience fun and productive. Also, we all pushed each other to finish, so if not for them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten my Eagle.”

As part of the Eagle rank requirement, scouts are required to complete “a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.”  Years after they are gone, people who have never met them will enjoy the benefits of their Eagle service projects. This is truly the spirit of scouting.

Keegan Wright constructed a three-sided wooden firewood storage shed at Catoctin Mountain Park for the benefit of the campers staying at the Park’s camp sites. Andrew Neibecker rehabilitated the Willow Rill Nature Trail, located at Mother Seton School, to benefit the teachers and students. Brendan Isaacson constructed a fenced play area around St. Joseph’s Parish Hall to provide a safe area for the children and their parents. Paul Slotwinski blazed fifteen miles of the multi-user trail system, located throughout the Rainbow Lake watershed, for the benefit of Emmitsburg citizens and town visitors. Stephen Lowe constructed a memorial outside of St. Joseph’s Parish Hall to Army 1st Lt. Robert A. Seidel III, who died May 18, 2006, in service of his country.

“Our parish is very proud of these four young men,” said Fr. John Holliday, CM, pastor of St. Joseph’s. “This is a remarkable achievement for a small Boy Scout Troop such as ours and is a wonderful testimony to our men and women who are leaders of Troop 727.”

For more information about the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program sponsored by St. Joseph’s Church, please contact the parish at 301-447-2326. The scouts meet every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the parish hall.

727 Eagle Scouts 2

Troop 727, Emmitsburg, had five scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout: (from left) Keegan Wright, Andrew Neibecker, Brendan Isaacson, Paul Slotwinski, and Stephen Lowe.

Thurmont Community Ambulance Company Banquet Held

On January 16, 2015, members and guests of the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company gathered together in the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company Banquet Hall for their annual awards banquet. As volunteers from Rocky Ridge 4-H Club gathered up empty plates from a delicious home cooked meal, Lowman Keeney brought the audience’s attention to the podium. He announced the many honorary guests and thanked them for their participation and help throughout the year. “This year had been a great year!” he said.

As Lowman provided some updates pertaining to the progress of the new ambulance building being built on Strafford Drive in Thurmont, he was excited to announce the first event that will be held at the new facility. The Town of Thurmont’s annual Business Expo will be held in April. Then, he directed attention to the back, where donation forms were located for their “Dollar per Pound Fundraiser”. The goal of the fundraiser is to outfit the new ambulance with all of the needed equipment.

Chief DJ Ott took the stage to share the Company’s stats. They ran a total of 1,265 calls for 2015. He extended a thank you to Graceham, Libertytown, and Emmitsburg companies for their support through the year. In 2015, the volume of calls increased by 25 more than 2014. The busiest day of the week was Sunday. However, the busiest day of the year was August 29th, a Saturday, with a whopping 15 calls during a twenty-four hour span. A normal day in Thurmont averages around three calls. Between the hours of 12:00 and 1:00 p.m., are the busiest times of the day with a total of 87 calls. Most of these cases are reported as “Injured Persons.”

One of the company’s goals for this year is to bring the fail rate back down to 10 or less calls. “This year’s fail rate was marked at 2.38%, which is good, because they give until 10% before county steps in.” Unfortunately in 2015, there has been a reduction in amount of members who would sign up to run calls, but were still able to increase the amount of time people signed up to 2,000 coverage hours. “We lost seven members, but other members who were active picked up the slack,” said the Chief.

As it was a slightly slower year for training in the company, they were happy to announce they were able to train the Boy Scouts on Wilderness training, as well as receiving a 31 person turn out for CPR training from members of the community. All training by the Ambulance Company is done at cost. They volunteer their time and pass the costs along for processing paperwork. “We want you to have the training for what it costs us to give it to you.”

Another point DJ touched on, was the new ambulance the company purchased. The new ambulance will arrive in March or April and will be fully equipped for calls by June or July. The cost for the new ambulance is $229,000 un-equipped. “That means it will be a box, a chassis and lights,” said the President.

The new activities building isn’t the only big project going on at the moment. DJ explained the current ambulance building on North Church Street isn’t getting a total remodel, but will receive a facelift. Another improvement being made to the company will be a computer management system to monitor all calls, scheduling, LOSAP, and fundraising events.

The ambulance company looks forward to new programs in 2016, such as a “Community Wellness Check” that will serve seniors and disabled members in the Thurmont area.

The President then called upon Devin Stafford, President of Adventure Crew 270. Devin proudly announced some of the achievements the crew has conquered in the past year. They placed second in the Klondike Derby, participated in the Iron Chef Camporee, celebrated “Scout Sunday” by planting trees at the Thurmont Regional Library, and held a successful Scouting for Food Campaign boasting 4,869 pounds of collected food benefiting the local food bank.

Before handing out awards, the President of the Ambulance Company kindly thanked the local fire rescue companies for the support they give through the year, especially the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company for filling in during the banquet.

Recognized for the top ten responders were Molly Joiner (58 calls), Amber Zimmerman (65), Dev Shaffer (71), Matt Demarais (88), Jarred Snyder (106), Lisa Eichelberger (125), Brooke Kennedy (158), Rose “Grandma” Latini (161), Amanda Barth (162), and for the second year in a row, Bev Frushour was the top responder with 304 calls.

DJ Ott presented the Chiefs award. DJ acknowledged that he felt this is the one of the toughest awards to give out because everyone does such a great job and it is hard to pick just one. This year’s recipient was Chris Pigula. Chris has been an outstanding member, qualifying in LOSAP every year since 1992. He started the company with no training; now in 2016, he is one of the most-well-trained members.

Administrative awards were presented by Dave Riffle. Recipients who received the award included Jason Schultz, Becky Ott, Jim Humerick, Renee Coolidge, Bob Lookingbill, Travis Unger, William Ott, Kacey Manahan, Holly Herald, Amber Zimmerman, Molly Joiner, Stephanie Kennedy, Chad Zimmerman, Shirley Stackhouse, Joyce Stitely, Matt Demarais, Chris Pigula, Dennis Ott Sr., Dev Shaffer, Jim Wolfe, Tim Wiltrout, Jared Snyder, Lowman Keeney, Lisa Eichelberger, Amanda Barth, Brooke Kennedy, DJ Ott, Rose Latini, Jen Frushour.

Proceeding to the Administrative awards, the President thanked Venture Crew 270 for their participation with the Thurmont Ambulance Company. Devin Stafford accepted a $1,000.00 donation on behalf of Crew 270 to fund future activities. Lowman thanked the Rocky Ridge 4-H, and awarded Margo Sweeney a $200.00 club donation for their efforts to prepare, serve, and clean up dinner every year.

Life members who were inducted included Johnathan Troxell and Vickie Martin. Johnathan was recognized for being an active member in the Ambulance Company, as well as serving in Emmitsburg’s Ambulance Company. Vickie Martin currently serves as Chief at Lewistown Volunteer Fire Company.

As the chief had admitted how difficult it is to choose one person to receive an award, Lowman also agreed. “Doesn’t matter if it is for the membership, for the community, or whomever.” Lowman recalls a recent event of 5 large hay bales being burnt on the new building property and sure enough, the recipient was there to clean up the remnants of the mess. He has served on the board of directors for the ambulance company for two years during which time he was bestowed with, “keeping the ambulance company’s troublemaker [Jim Wolfe] in line.” Lowman called Tim Wiltrout to join him on the stage to receive the President’s award for 2016.

We didn’t get to do much in fundraising this year, but one fundraiser that we are proud of – to the family that makes this all possible…to the people who go out of their way every year, Catoctin Mountain Orchard.” Apple Dumplings during Colorfest contribute to Thurmont Ambulance’s most successful fundraiser. This year it took 1,693 man hours to peel, bake, box and sell the mouth-watering dumplings.  The company made over $44,000 in gross profit with a net profit of $36,123.72.

As the evening drew to a close, Lowman explained how much he is looking forward to the New Year. They will hold new fundraising events that will be bigger and better, with more room for people to spread out. “We often joke that we need a golf cart to get from one side to another in the new building…” said Lowman. On October 26, 2016, The Amish Outlaws are scheduled to play an indoor concert. For more information on future fundraisers and events, check out their Facebook or drop by their location at 27 North Church Street in Thurmont.

Thurmont banquet

Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Administrative Officers

Thurmont banquet 2

Thurmont Ambulance Company’s Operational Officers

Photos by Gracie Eyler

Vigilant Hose Company Holds 132nd Annual Banquet

The 132nd Annual Banquet of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) honoring accomplishments for service in 2015 was held on Saturday, January 9, 2016, at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg. Tim Clarke, Past President of the VHC, served as master of ceremonies. Invocation was given by Fr. Charles F. Krieg of St. Joseph’s Parish in Emmitsburg. Invited guests were introduced. Frederick County’s 5th District Councilman, Kirby Delauter, presented VHC’s Deputy Chief, Jimmy Click, with a proclamation for his dedicated service to the fire company and the Emmitsburg community.

The 2016 officers of the company were installed: President, A. Frank Davis; Vice President, David Wilt; Treasurer, Steven M. Hollinger; Assistant Treasurer, William D. Boyd, Jr.; Secretary, Steven W. Valentine; Assistant Secretary, Thomas Vaughn; and Board of Directors, Hugh Boyle, Elyssa Cool, Randy Myers, Douglas D. Orner, David Stonesifer, and Carl A. White.

2016 Operational Officers: Chief, Chad M. Umbel; Deputy Chief, James E. Click; Assistant Chief, Christopher A. Stahley; Captain, Joshua Brotherton; and Lieutenants, Douglas Yingling, Derek Rosensteel, and Alex McKenna.

Fire Police: Lynn Orndorff, Captain; Ronald P. Face, Jr., 1st Lieutenant; and Steve Orndorff, 2nd Lieutenant. Auxiliary Officers: Tina Ryder, President; Sharel Boyle, Vice President; Jo Ann Boyd, Treasurer; Joyce E. Glass, Secretary; Mandy Ryder, Financial Secretary; and Jennifer Boyd and Katie Davis, Co-Historians.

Chief Awards were presented for length of service to Tyler Bennett, Josh Brotherton, Dale Fogle, Jennifer Stahley, and Thomas Ward for 5 years of service; John Damskey, Tom Vaughn, and Mike Working for 20 years; Bill Boyd, 25 years; Carl White, 30 years; Jim Glass and Wayne Powell, 35 years; and Tom White, 55 years.

The Top 10 LOSAP President Awards were earned by the following: Tenth Top LOSAP was a tie at 79 points for Hugh Boyle and Dave Wilt; Ninth was a tie at 86 points for Chris Stahley and Karyn Myers; Eighth was Matt Boyd with 89 points; seventh Frank Davis with 92 points; sixth Derek Rosensteel with 101 points; fifth John Damskey with 103 points; fourth Carl White with 104 points; third Bill Boyd with 107 points; second Jim Click with 108 points; and Top LOSAP was earned by Cliff Shriner with 145 points.

Vigilant’s Top Ten Responders were: 1st, Cliff Shriner with 257 calls responding; 2nd, Derek Rosensteel (249); Frank Davis (193); Brandon Burriss (181); Tyler Bennett (177); Josh Brotherton (200); Hugh Boyle (147); Tyler Arrowood (140); Alex McKenna (129); Doug Yingling (116). Top Fire Police Responders were: 1st, Sam Cool (68); 2nd, Steve Orndorff (57); 3rd Mike Orndorff (33).

The Training Award was presented to the individual who attended the most hours of in-house training and training conducted outside the VHC to include Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, the National Fire Academy, and the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association including department drills and recertifications. The Training Award was presented to Tim McKenna who had 245 hours of training.

Karyn Myers was awarded the President’s Award; Derek Rosensteel was awarded the Chief’s Award; Elyssa Cool was awarded the Member of the Year 2015.

During the banquet, the Vigilant Auxiliary presented a check to the department in the amount of $40,000.00. A video presentation was enjoyed by all. The video showed 2015, the year in review. After the banquet, dancing was enjoyed to music by the band, “First Class.”

Memorial was held for Gerald Orndorff who passed away in 2015.

The highest award presented at the annual banquet is the Hall of Fame Award. Inductees included Thomas Hoke and Luther “Jay” Grimes.

Thomas E. “Tom” Hoke has been a long-time active member of the Vigilant Hose Company, serving many key roles over the years. Born in 1923 in Emmitsburg, he had a typical life as a youngster roaming the town and spending most of his time outside. He graduated from Emmitsburg High School in a class of 26 students. He was drafted into the United States Army to serve as a medic during the European Theater and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

He is one of the remaining charter members of the Emmitsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars and is a member of the Emmitsburg American Legion Post 121. Tom found his career as a heavy equipment operator with Potomac Edison and retired from there in 1985.

Tom has lived his life as a generous man. He married his wife Ethel Grace Long in 1947. They had a son, John (known as Jack) and a daughter Rebecca (known as Becky). Ethel passed away in 2003.

The VFW Post 6658 bought Emmitsburg’s first community ambulance in 1948. It was a green 1947 Cadillac. The first patient to be transported was Tom’s wife, Ethel, as she was going in to labor with Jack. Jack would go on to serve with the Vigilant Hose Company, too, while his wife, June, would be one of the first women in Frederick County to serve in the emergency services.

Thomas E. Hoke was inducted into Vigilant’s Hall of Fame for his many years of faithful service to the community and its emergency services.

Luther E. “Jay” Grimes walked in to the firehouse in the summer of 1988 asking to speak with then Fire Chief, Tom White. He introduced himself as the area’s new Pierce fire truck salesman. Story goes that the chief had run the former Pierce salesman out of town after a bad experience and the company joked that Jay had his work cut out for him.

Jay worked to correct the former salesman’s blunders at no cost to the company. This prefaced a wonderful, true and honest 25-year relationship between him and Vigilant. Over the years, Jay worked hand in hand to help replace an aging fleet of apparatus. That was instrumental in bringing new technologies to Emmitsburg—including compressed air foam, Emmitsburg’s first aerial truck, a state of the art rescue squad that was featured nationally in Fire Chief Magazine with Vigilant’s first engine/tanker, and other innovations.

Jay was a 1963 graduate of Williamsport High School in Williamsport, Maryland, and was a nationally certified firefighter. He was employed by Pierce Manufacturing of Appleton, Wisconsin, until his retirement in 2010. He was a life member of Williamsport Volunteer Fire and EMS for 54 years, where he served as chief, president, and head of various committees.

Additionally, he was instrumental in the creation of the State Wide Alert Network, LOSAP Program, 911 emergency communications, and the National Incident Management System. In 2011, he was inducted into the Maryland State Fireman’s Association Hall of Fame and also received the United States President’s Volunteer Service Award.

He took great pride in each and every fire apparatus unit he delivered. Jay passed away on Monday, April 20, 2015, at the age of 70.

For his many years of faithful service to the fire and emergency services and his very special service to the Emmitsburg community, he was inducted into the VHC Hall of Fame.


The Vigilant Hose Company’s 2016 Fire Police (top row) and Operational Officers (bottom row).


Vigilant’s 2016 Ladies Auxiliary

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Thomas E. Hoke was one of two who were inducted into the VHC’s Hall of Fame.