On November 8, 2023, Thurmont Grange No. 409 held its annual Veterans Appreciation Program. The evening started with a welcome, given by Grange President, Niki Eyler. She stated that the Veterans being honored were “all honorable, upstanding, and respectable members of their families, churches, and communities.”
Next, Thurmont American Legion Post 168 Commander Nick Middendorff led all attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem, played by Bob Dunk of both Harmony and Spires Cornet Bands.
A special recognition of Veteran and Thurmont resident, Jim Stull, was given by Niki Eyler. Jim was born on March 3, 1933, on the outskirts of Thurmont. He was one of nine children and was forced to leave school early to work in the family plumbing business. Jim always understood the importance of taking care of family, even at a young age. At 18, he was drafted into the Korean War. His basic training was at Camp Atterberry, Indiana, and from there, Jim was stationed at Fort Carlson, Colorado. He volunteered to be a cook in the mess hall. After returning from a six-week recuperation from a broken leg, Jim’s platoon received the news they were being sent to Korea the following week to fight in the war. Fortunately, the war ended before they were deployed. Jim went on to marry his wife of 59 years, Carolyn, and they had two daughters, Diana and Sylvia. He was a member of Weller United Methodist Church and Thurmont American Legion Post 168 for 45 years. He enjoyed spending winter months in Florida, and during the summer, he loved to be at his cabin in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. Jim also loved spending time vacationing with family and driving his antique Chrysler 300 convertible. The members of Scout Troup 270 folded the American flag and presented it to Jim’s daughter, Diana Stull, in honor of Jim’s service to our country.
Thurmont Grange also honored Thurmont resident, Grange member, and U.S. Army Veteran, Russell Moser, with a banner in the Military Banner Program, sponsored by the Thurmont Lions Club. Russell served as Private 2nd Class (1957-1958) as a trained Lineman in the 559 Signal Company. His basic training was at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Russell was then stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Upon release from active duty, Russell returned to the Army Reserves until 1963. During the Cuban Crisis, he was called back to active duty, at which time he was stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland.
The guest speaker for the evening was First Vice Commander of Legion Post 168 Debbie Middendorff, who spoke about the Poppy Program and how Veterans across the country are assisted by the funds raised through this program. Post 168 Poppy Princess, Ella Renner, was also in attendance and fulfilled her duty by ensuring everyone received a Poppy.
Next, the evening’s Veterans were recognized: Roland Renner (Army 69-72), Allen Middendorff (Army 76-98), Debbie Middendorff (Army 79-82), Denise Shriver (Navy 90-93), and Alvin Hatcher (Navy 84-96). Honorees were met with a round of applause in appreciation of their selfless service in the United States Armed Forces.
Finally, a moment of silence was observed for recently departed Grange members Patty Johnston, Roger Troxell, and Robert McAfee, as well as those who have lost their lives defending our country. In closing, Taps was performed by Bob Dunk. Before parting for the evening, those in attendance enjoyed refreshments and fellowship.
If you are interested in joining Thurmont Grange, please contact Rodman Myers at 301-606-9221.
Pictured from left are: Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler, Roland Renner (Army 69-72), Allen Middendorff (Army 76-98), Debbie Middendorff (Army 79-82), Denise Shriver (Navy 90-93), Alvin Hatcher (Navy 84-96) and Thurmont Grange Vice President Alan Brauer.
Jim Stull’s daughter (pictured center), Diana Stull, holds the flag presented to her by Scout Troup 270 in honor of Jim’s service, surrounded by friends.
Pictured from left are Thurmont Grange President Niki Eyler, American Legion Post 168 Poppy Princess Ella Renner, and Thurmont Grange Vice President Alan Brauer