Currently viewing the tag: "Viligant Hose Company"

Vigilant Hose Company’s (VHC) “Christmas in July Bingo” brought in hundreds of pounds worth of donations for the Emmitsburg Food Bank. All during July, bingo players brought in donations and purchased extra 50/50 games for which profits went directly to the food bank. On August 3, VHC members packed up the donations and presented them and a check for nearly $1,200 to help support the food bank’s mission.

Throughout August, the VHC collected school supplies from their generous bingo players for back-to-school during every Bingo!

Cheryl Lenhart

Thurmont Grange #409 hosted its First Responders Appreciation Night at the Thurmont Town Park on June 27. After an invocation given by Nancy Wine, all members and guests in attendance enjoyed a covered-dish picnic dinner.

Lecturer Niki Eyler then turned the program over to Grange members who introduced our First Responders.

Graceham VFC No. 18: Jane Savage introduced recipient of Graceham VFC No. 18 recognition award, Julie Fogle. Julie was nominated by Fire Chief Louis Powell, Jr., who in his comments stated, “It is with the utmost honor that I nominate FF/EMT Fogle to be recognized by the Thurmont Grange #409.” Chief Powell stated that FF/EMT Fogle’s hard work and dedication earned Graceham VFC No. 18 the Clint Hughes Departmental Fire Prevention Award at this year’s Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (“FCVFRA”) Awards Ceremony, which was held on April 18 at Walkersville VFC #11. FF/EMT Fogle is in charge of Graceham’s Facebook page, where she posts monthly fire prevention and life safety messages. FF/EMT Fogle previously held the positions of secretary and lieutenant and currently serves on the board of directors and is assistant secretary. She is also the chairperson for Graceham’s Fire Prevention Committee and Banquet Committee. It was her hard work that allowed Graceham to have a great banquet this past year. FF/EMT Fogle meets and exceeds the standards set forth by the FCVFRA to be a Chief officer.

Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department: Nancy Wine introduced recipient of Lewistown’s recognition award, Bethany Wachter. Bethany was nominated by Wayne P. Wachter, Jr.  and was nominated as she was the top responder for EMS calls during the entire COVID-19 pandemic.  This year, she will have 25 years of service to the community. Bethany helps with dinners, bingos, yard sales, and all other functions the Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department has during the year.  She lives in Mountaindale with her husband and two daughters.

Thurmont Community Ambulance Service: Nancy Wine introduced recipient of Thurmont Community Ambulance Service recognition award, Jennifer Frushour. Jennifer was nominated by Judith White of the Thurmont Community Ambulance Service. Jennifer was recognized for her service to the department and the community as a whole. She has been involved with volunteer fire and rescue service since she was a youngster and helped her dad with activities at the fire department. Jen became involved with the ambulance company as well; she completed her Emergency Medical Technician training and went on through national registry.  She has also trained in Emergency Vehicle Operator, instructor training, hazardous materials operations training, and EMS officer program.  She has served as lieutenant and now is the assistant chief for Thurmont Ambulance. She has countless hours of standby and has been recognized by the department as a top responder for multiple years. Jen is also a mentor to new members and EMT students and continues to assist with many activities. She is employed as a dispatcher for the 911 Center in Frederick.

Vigilant Hose Company: Jim Barto introduced recipient of Vigilant Hose Company’s honoree, Matthew Boyd.  Matt was nominated by Fire Chief Chad M. Umbel. In his remarks, Fire Chief Umbel stated that it was his honor to nominate Matthew Boyd, who has been a member of Vigilant Hose Company for 10 years and was active as a junior firefighter before obtaining operational status.  Matt’s remarkable ability to work with people and effectively organize tasks and priorities have made him a model for others to emulate and has earned him the respect of his peers.  Along the way, he has obtained many certifications and awards for exceptional service. At the Vigilant Hose Company, there is no better role model than someone who is humble and modest, who constantly strives to improve his knowledge and skill set toward the betterment of the organization; someone with a vision who is also a good listener, has a sense of humor, and can be decisive when necessary; a person of integrity, always willing to help someone else succeed. Matt has spent many hours at the station and the activities complex, utilizing his mechanical capabilities, working on and fixing whatever needs done.  Matt has worked his way up through the ranks and currently holds the position of Captain.  

Thurmont Police Department: Jim Barto introduced recipient of Thurmont Police Department’s honoree, Sgt. Dave Armstrong.  Sgt. Armstrong was nominated by Lt. P.A. Droneburg, deputy chief of police for the Thurmont Police Department. In his remarks, Lt. Droneburg stated that Sgt. Armstrong joined the Thurmont Police Department in 2012 after retiring from the Frederick Police Department. He has proven to be an asset to the department since the day he began. After serving in patrol and as a first line supervisor, Sgt. Armstrong was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2018. His service has been exemplary. He has responded to numerous call-outs for death investigations and other significant criminal investigations. His work ethic has also been outstanding.  In January 2021, Sgt. Armstrong received a compliment from a citizen (excerpt): “The sergeant then took it upon himself to look for my daughter as a missing person (as she had fled the scene), and once he found her, he took her to the hospital. I did not expect the professionalism and great concern for everyone’s safety that the officer provided.”  Sgt. Armstrong assumed the role as the agency’s training coordinator after being promoted and has developed a timeline for all mandated training.  During this past year, he attended numerous training sessions to improve his knowledge and to better serve the agency. In May 2021, Sgt. Armstrong completed a De-escalation Training Course, so he could be an instructor for the agency. In July 2021, Sgt. Armstrong received a Letter of Acknowledgement from Chief Eyler for his outstanding performance in handling a suspicious death investigation. Also during July 2021, Sgt. Armstrong nominated a citizen for a Certificate of Appreciation for their assistance with a young female found walking along a roadway. This nomination enhanced community involvement and recognition. During this past year, Sgt. Armstrong became an advocate for the skateboarding youth in town and was instrumental in assisting them with their presentation to the board of commissioners, which led to the construction of the Thurmont Skatepark. In October 2021, Sgt. Armstrong worked with the agency’s administrative coordinator to prepare for a significant CJIS Audit.  Their combined effort provided the agency with one of the best audit evaluations ever received. Sgt. Armstrong also provides daily supervisory leadership for the officers. His service to the Thurmont Police Department projects a professional image to the community with efficient and quality policy service. 

Guardian Hose Company: Niki Eyler introduced Brian Donavon, the representative for the Guardian Hose Company. In the company’s remarks, Chief Charlie Brown and President Wayne Stackhouse stated as follows: “We have decided not to pick only one person from the Guardian Hose Company to be honored, but to honor everyone that is a first responder/member in our organization. It is very hard to pick one person over another when everyone in our organization has an input to our success. There are so many people within our organization that provide a very meaningful part of the day-to-day operations, from administrative duties to responding to emergency calls. Without either one of these individuals, we could not function as a whole and be there when residents of Thurmont need us. We want to thank the Grange for thinking about our family at GHC and our mission to do our best to help the citizens of Thurmont remain safe. We hope that we can continue to assist residences in Thurmont for a long time to come.”

Chief Brown also wished to thank all of the people who came out the last week of June and supported the Guardian Hose Company during the carnival. It was a very successful week with lots of support for the town and the residents. He then went on to say that the “Guardian Hose Company has operational members who run the emergency calls, we have social members and also administrative members, all who play a special role in the organization. This past year and a half, the organization received career staff from the county. We have three people 24 hours a day to get the first piece of apparatus out the door.  The career staff and the volunteers work hand-in-hand to respond to emergency calls. With the changing world and everyone’s schedule being more involved with family priorities and work obligations, it’s hard to make sure someone is around to staff the apparatus 24 hours, seven days a week. The operational members responded to over 700 calls last year. This year, I think we are going to top that. Our area is currently in the neighborhood of 47.2 square miles of first-due area. Now, we also respond out past the state lines and county lines. We respond to Pennsylvania. We assist other counties: Franklin County and Adams County, Pennsylvania; Carroll County and Washington County, Maryland, and a few weeks ago, we were specially requested to a commercial building fire in Jefferson County, West Virginia, with our air unit. We have over 50 operational volunteers and are always looking for more to help to fill the openings. The Guardian Hose Company was organized in 1887 and provides fire and rescue services to an approximate 84 square miles, mostly all rural area. In that 84 square miles lies the Catoctin Mountain National Park, the Cunningham Falls State Park, and William Houck Area, within which the company provides service as well.”

Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company: Niki Eyler then introduced honoree for Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company, Alan Brauer, Sr.  Alan was nominated by Linda Northrup, the Awards Committee chairperson. Alan joined the fire company in July of 1963. He is also a member of the Thurmont Community Ambulance Company and the Frederick County Hazardous Incident Response Team.  He has been active with the fire service and instrumental in company training since joining. He has also held many offices and served on many committees throughout his 58 years, serving as secretary for 14 years, assistant secretary for 4 years, vice president for 2 years, and captain of the Rocky Ridge Fire Police for 11 years. He has served as captain of the fire prevention committee for 13 years, chairperson of LOSAP for the company for 18 years, and Fund Drive Committee for 7 years. He also served as the meat raffle chairperson in 2018-2019 and the drive-through ham sandwich sales in 2021.

Alan also helps with the fire company’s Santa detail two weeks before Christmas, and he helps to patrol the traffic and keep personnel safe. He provides fire police services for any need in Frederick County, especially in the northern part of the county. He is a member of the Frederick County Fire Police Association, and has served as secretary for the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Association and the Executive Committee, and was chairman of the Frederick County Fire Prevention Committee. 

At the annual Rocky Ridge Carnival for the past 47 years, Alan has been in the same stand. It just has had a few name changes over the years, from nickel pitch to glass pitch and now dime pitch. Alan has received many awards, including 1988 Lifetime honor member, and in 2018, the Charles Mumma “Firefighter of the Year Award.” He has also received the Millard “Mick” Mastrino Instructor/Safety Award at the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Association Awards Ceremony in 2005, and in 2007, received the State Instructor of the Year Award. He also has participated in several fun activities with the fire service such as the Hook Up Contest in 1971, chairman of the Halloween party, and has participated in a pie-eating contest at the Summers Farm. 

He provides Hazmat Refresher and CPR Refresher courses for the local volunteer fire companies. He also provides safety consulting services. He does CPR, OSHA, MOSHS training and other safety training all over the United States.  He has developed and implemented compliance training for the biotech, general, and construction industries across the country. He has extensive knowledge in Federal regulations, including OSHA, DOT, and EPA. He has had many years of experience in the fire service, including specialized knowledge in fire prevention, life safety, and hazardous materials.

Alan is also very involved with agriculture and is an active member of the Farm Bureau and the Grange, where he has held several offices in the local, county, and state.

When Alan spoke at the Rocky Ridge Fire Company banquet in January of 2014, he recapped his 50 years in the fire service. His ending comment was “The concept of fighting a fire has not changed from 50 years ago, we just have bigger and more expensive equipment and a lot more training.”

The members of the Thurmont Grange sincerely congratulate all of the award recipients and thank them for their service to the community and the county.


Pictured from left are Julie Fogle (Graceham VFC #18), Niki Eyler (Thurmont Grange Lecturer), Bethany Wachter (Lewistown VFC), Brian Donovan (Guardian Hose), Alan Brauer, Sr. (Rocky Ridge VFC), and Sgt. Dave Armstrong (Thurmont Police Dept). Not pictured: Jennifer Frushour (Thurmont Ambulance) and Matt Boyd (Vigilant Hose).

Courtesy Photo

Richard Fulton

The Emmitsburg Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) offers Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU) students, and other area residents, a rare opportunity to train for fire and rescue services while residing in an actual firehouse.

The opportunity, known as the Live-In Program, allows for up to five individuals to participate at a time. Participants must pre-qualify by having completed basic training before they may become firehouse residents.

Also, as a part of their residency requirements, participants must invest an agreed-upon amount of time in the service of the fire company, either as firefighters or ambulance medical technicians, as well as participate in other company administrative and fundraising activities. Participants are not charged rent for their firehouse residency.

MSMU students must maintain a certain number of credits while participating in the program, while non-students must be gainfully employed. The program was launched by VHC in 2019. 

Assistant Chief Joshua “Josh” Brotherton told The Catoctin Banner that eight to ten individuals have participated in the Live-In Program since its inception.

Charlie Rustigian, from Boston, Massachusettes, is a senior Criminal Justice major with a minor in cyber security at MSMU.  He started volunteering with the Vigilant Hose Company during his freshman year. He said, “I wanted to be a firefighter since I was three years old.”

Within the volunteer co-op that even allowed him to live at the fire station, Rustigian has become a firefighter and was the #1 Top Fire Responder in 2021 with 353 calls. “Being able to live in at the fire station and learn true responsibility while working with others and the community has been great. We’re making a difference,” he shared.

Patrick O’Hanlon (Class of ’21), from Wheaton, Maryland, majored in Public Policy and Emergency Management, and Sociology and Criminal Justice with minors in Business History and Human Services. From that large course load, one may surmise that he’s an over-achiever. We joked that he’s about 80 years old, disguised in a twenty-something’s body. It is only fitting that O’Hanlon was a Top EMS Responder for 2020, coming in at #3.

O’Hanlon started volunteering when he was 16 in Wheaton. When looking for colleges, the volunteer opportunities with the Vigilant Hose Company were important. He started volunteering the summer before his freshman year and he’s been an active member ever since.

O’Hanlon was a live-in at the station as well.  He explained, “It really helped me grow as an individual. I learned a lot about myself. Working as a team member, we really are a good family.” He explained that there were good fires that provided good learning opportunities and that he’s met and learned from “a lot of really good people.” He added, “The Vigilant Fire Department – It really is a family. You feel a part of the community from doing the bingos and events, too. Back home, it was a city department where we run a call and then we’re off calls.”

Elizabeth Beaton (Class of ’21), from LaPlata, Maryland, joined the VHC program during her sophomore year at the MSMU.  She joined to become an EMT while considering med school. One of the first calls she responded to was a house fire.  She was able to observe the fire calls and found she was eager to respond. She started fire and rescue classes.

In 2021 Beaton was #10 in the Top Ten Responders even though she only lived at the station from January to May during her senior year. “It was really cool to see how much the Vigilant Fire Department does for the community. A lot of times people just call the station number and we go out to help [on non-emergency calls]. You really get to know people in the community. It seems everybody knows everybody.”

Other participants include Rachel Wheeler and Deysie Diaz.  Wheeler, who met her requirements in December 2021, will be graduating in May. What’s interesting about Rachel is that she applied to the Sheriff’s Office as a deputy. Diaz, a health science major in the MSMU’s Class of 2022, has become EMT-certified.

Luke Hoenig, from Essex, Maryland, a criminal justice major in the MSMU’s Class of 2023, is presently undergoing basic training which will allow him to qualify as a Live-In participant.

Thus far, Brotherton said, “The company is extremely happy with how the program is working and hope it continues over the years.”

Individuals interested in participating in the Live-In Program may contact VHC via their website at

Pictured from left are Luke Hoenig, Deysie Diaz, Charlie Rustigian, and Elizabeth Beaton.

Pictured from left are Charlie Rustigian, Patrick O’Hanlon, and Elizabeth Beaton during the annual VHC Banquet in January 2022.

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.

The Vigilant Hose Company held its Award and Recognition program on January 8, 2022, at the Vigilant Hose Activities Building in Emmitsburg. The welcome and presentation were given by Tim Clarke, board of director member.

A moment of silence was held for the members who passed away in the years 2020 and 2021: Bo Cadle, Jimmy A. Glass, Earl Harrington, Mary Jean Orndorff, Gary G. Glass, and Patrick Boyle.

Tim Clarke performed the installation of officers for 2022. Administrative Officers: President–               Thomas Ward, Vice President–   Douglas Wivell, Treasurer–Steven M. Hollinger, Assistant Treasurer–       William Boyd, Jr., Secretary–Pam Ellison, Assistant Secretary–Sharon Keeney, Board of Director Members–Pam Bolin, Tim Clarke, Kenny Clevenger, Mary Lou Little, Scott Maly, Randy Myers, Douglas Orner, Cliff Shriner, Dave Zentz; Chaplain– Pastor Heath Wilson.

Line Officers: Chief–Chad Umbel, Deputy Chief–Jim Click, Assistant Chief–Joshua Brotherton, Captain–Matthew Boyd, Lieutenants–Alex McKenna, Doug Yingling, Dave Zentz, and Josh Kehne, and EMS Captain–Frank Davis.

Fire Police: Captain–Jim Barto, 1st Lieutenant–Steve Orndorff, and 2nd Lieutenant–Sam Cool.

Auxiliary Officers: President–Patty Kuykendall, Vice President–Sharel Boyle, Treasurer–Jo Ann Boyd, Secretary–Joyce Glass, Financial Secretary–Tina Ryder, and Co-Historians–Helen Topper and Diana Hoover.

Review of 2020 Awards

A program was not held in 2021 due to COVID; 2020 awards were reviewed: the 2020 Hall of Fame Award was presented to Gabe Baker, the Chief’s Award was presented to the DFRS Career staff who were working at Station 6 at the time of the award (Scott Johnson, Brian Hames, Matt Hughes, Chad Owens, Mitch Krysiak, and Alex Carnathan), President’s Award–Scott Maly, Member of the Year Award–Steve Hollinger, Training Award for 2020–Josh Kehne, Driver of the Year Award–Randy Myers.

2020 Years of Service Awards were presented to: 5 Years–Brandon Murdorf and Dave Zentz; 10 Years–Tyler Bennett, Josh Brotherton, Dale Fogle, Jennifer Stahley, and Tom Ward; 25 Years (life member)–John Damskey, Tom Vaughn, and Mike Working; 30 Years–Bill Boyd and Ed Little; 35 Years–Carl White; 40 Years–Wayne Powell; and 50 Years–Monroe Hewitt.

The Ten Top Fire Responders for 2020 were: Matt Boyd (10th), Alex McKenna (9th), Josh Brotherton (8th), Charlie Rustigan (7th), Matt LeGare (6th), Josh Kehne (5th), Cliff Shriner (4th), Dave Zentz (3rd), Frank Davis (2nd), Jim Click (1st).

The Five Top EMS Responders for 2020 were: Tom Ward (5th), Josh Brotherton (4th), Patrick O’Hanlon (3rd), Dave Zentz (2nd), and Frank Davis (1st).

The Three Top Fire Police Responders for 2020 were: Lynn Orndorff (3rd), Steve Orndorff (2nd), and Sam Cool (1st).

2021 Awards

Length of Service Awards were presented for 5 Years–Diane Beall, Ashley Grimes, Sharon Keeney, atthew LeGare, Franklyn Schmersal, Bradford Shugart, and Colton Stahley; 10 Years–Ryan Bolger, Gene Fauble, Patrick Reaver, Derek Rosensteel, Gregory Sterner, II, Shawn Wetzel, and Doug Yingling; 20 Years–Chris Ryder; 30 Years–Frank Rauschenberg; 35 Years–John Glass; 40 Years–Hugh Boyle and Steven Hollinger; 45 Years–Herbert Click, Jr.; 50 Years–Larry Glass; 55 Years–Michael Orndorff and Roland Sanders; and 80 Years–Tom Hoke.

The Top Ten Fire Responders for 2021 were: Elizabeth Beaton (10th-133 calls), (three way tie 7th) Matt LeGare (173 calls), Doug Yingling (173 calls), Dave Zentz (173 calls), Matt Boyd (6th-196 calls), Josh Brotherton (5th-199 calls), Cliff Shriner (4th-275 calls), Jim Click (3rd-280 calls), Frank Davis (2nd-298 calls), and the Top Responder for 2021 was Charlie Rustigian (353 calls).

The Five Top EMS Responders for 2021 were: Patrick O’Hanlon (5th-16 calls), Dave Zentz (4th-21 calls), Chris McKenna (3rd-24 calls, Josh Brotherton (2nd-34 calls), and the Top Responder for 2021 was Frank Davis (72 calls).

The Three Top Fire Police Responders were: Jim Barto (3rd-80 calls), Sam Cool (2nd-101 calls), and the Top Responder for 2021 was Steve Orndorff (103 calls).

The Training Award for 2021 was presented to an individual who attended the most hours of in-house training and training conducted outside the VHC. The training award was presented to Nicky Burriss.

Honorary membership was extended to Larry Carty.

The 2021 President’s Award was presented to Josh Brotherton. Brotherton was described as, “Both younger and senior members look to him as a role model for his calm, cool demeanor and continually expanding knowledge base that he devoutly shares with others to improve their own skillset.”

The Chief’s Award was presented to Jim Barto. Barto “…performs [his] fire service duties in a manner that exemplifies the competency that reflect the highest standards of the fire service and regularly demonstrates the ability to lead or follow based on the existing circumstances.”

Member of the Year was Matt Boyd. Boyd was described as, “Someone who has been a member of this organization—pretty much since birth! …He took the lead role on the fire station maintenance efforts this past year on top of his line officer role.”                   

The Hall of Fame award is the Company’s highest award. It is presented to those who have made lasting contributions to the department, the community, and the region. The 2021 Hall of Fame recipient was Frank Rauschenberg.

Tim Clarke performs the Installation of Officers of the Vigilant Hose Company for 2022. Pictured from left are Ed Little, Cliff Shriner, Scott Maly, Kenny Clevenger, Pam Bolin, Mary Lou Little, Sharon Keeney, Pam Ellison, Bill Boyd, Steve Hollinger, Tom Ward, Tina Ryder, Tim Clarke, Chad Umbel, Jim Click, Josh Brotherton, Matt Boyd, Alex McKenna, Doug Yingling, Josh Kehne, Frank Davis, Steve Orndorff, Sam Cool, Sharel Boyle, Jo Ann Boyd, Mary Ann Wivell, and Diana Hoover.

2021 Top Fire Responders are pictured from left: Chief Chad Umbel, Elizabeth Beaton, Matt LeGare, Doug Yingling, Matt Boyd, Josh Brotherton, Cliff Shriner, Jim Click, Frank Davis, Charles Rustigian, and President Tom Ward.

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

At the October 2021 monthly meeting of the Vigilant Hose Company, the membership voted upon a recommendation from the organization’s board of directors to pay off the remaining mortgage on the fire station, located at 25 W. Main Street, and the balance remaining on the loan for its recently purchased Engine 61. The total debt removed from its books was over $1.3 million dollars.

The ability to achieve this reduction in service debt is directly related to the unbelievable support of the community they service on a daily basis and the excellent planning and fiscal stewardship managed by its board of directors through its planning committee members. It also illustrates the hard work and dedication of the membership in support of the fundraising efforts of the organization.

During the pandemic, the organization has had to come up with some unique and “outside the box” fundraising ideas, several of which have become substantial money-making projects for them. They also understand how the community enjoys Vigilant Hose Company’s many feeds and social events. While these type of events have declined because of the pandemic, the fundraising committee is working towards increasing those events so that they can provide an activity that allows members of our community to attend and interact with individuals they might not have seen in quite a while.

President Tom Ward commented, “It has been nothing but amazing to witness the outpouring of support we have received from our community in support of our fundraising efforts. Without a doubt, our ability to sustain a top-of-the-line fire and ambulance service for the community, with modern equipment and top-notch personnel, could not have occurred nor maintained without our strong community support. For that, I am eternally grateful and appreciative of on a daily basis. On behalf of the men and women of the Vigilant Hose Company, I say thank you to everyone that supports us both monetarily and operationally. You inspire us to continue our daily effort to achieve excellence.”

On Thursday, August 27, 2020, while this edition of The Catoctin Banner Newzine was at press, the Town of Emmitsburg hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil four wayside exhibits along the future historic walking tour route in Emmitsburg. The four signs explain the history of the Vigilant Hose Company, the Great Fire of 1863 (pictured above), Chronicle Press, and the Carriage House Inn. These signs contribute to a tour that includes West Main Street, the Emmitsburg Square, and South Seton Avenue, to date.

Special thanks to the Maryland Heritage Area Authorities (MHAA) for partially sponsoring the project through grant funding.

The men and women of Emmitsburg’s community fire, rescue, and emergency medical services proudly announce their annual Fire and Life Safety Open House on Thursday evening, October 10, 2019, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., at the Fire Station, located at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. This will be the 64th year that Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) personnel have sponsored this always-popular event. Fire and injury prevention in Emmitsburg is a year-round effort done in concert with area residents, businesses, schools, institutions, and governmental agencies, but it’s during Fire Prevention Month that department personnel seek to especially underscore the importance of prevention and preparedness.

Fire Prevention Week is October 6-12, 2019. The theme for National Fire Prevention Month 2019 (October) is: “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice your Escape.”

As part of the VHC’s continuing efforts to educate everyone in our community about essential elements of smoke alarm safety, this year’s Fire Prevention Open House will include: information and demonstrations to help families and individuals prevent unwanted fire; Emergency Medical Services providers will be on hand to showcase their life-saving skills; VHC personnel will be showcasing smoke detectors; “STOP THE BLEED” (courtesy of the Junior Fire Company of Frederick), with insights on the national awareness campaign that encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives; information regarding opportunities for residents and business alike to help their First Responders; information regarding the countywide “Gear-Up” Campaign; Frederick County Resident Deputy Sheriffs will offer crime prevention materials and a range of important safety insights; fire truck rides; free refreshments; door prizes; and more! For more information, visit

The Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum is pleased to invite you to the the dedication of the William Cochran etching “volunteers” on October 4, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum in Emmitsburg.

Dianne Walbrecker

Emmitsburg rolls out the red carpet for neighbors and visitors alike at its biggest event of the year: Community Heritage Day. This year, at our 38th annual festival, we roll out all the games you love, the BBQ chicken, car show, horseshoe contest, parade, and music, but all at a later time than in previous years. Rather than starting too early in the morning, most events will begin at noon. That will give you plenty of time to eat breakfast at the Vigilant Hose; take a cool, refreshing dip in the pool (free for the day); play those hard-fought games like the three-legged race and the raw-egg toss; but also stick around for the parade, music and dancing, and fireworks—with enough energy to spare. For any questions, you can always email us at

As always, the Vigilant Hose Company starts us out with its famous breakfast at 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The Lions Club will serve its famous BBQ chicken dinners, as well as hot dogs and snacks, from noon until sold out, at the Community Park Pavilion.

For those of you who enjoy cycling, we have biking activities for the hardcore biker, as well as the beginner. This year we offer our 50-Miler Sightseer tour that begins at 8:00 a.m. For mountain bikers, we offer various trail rides, from beginner to advanced, at Rainbow Lake at 10:00 a.m. At 1:30 p.m., the “Tour de Pasture,” a five-mile police-escorted ride around Emmitsburg and a shorter family-friendly ride “Tour de Park” will be offered. Finally, from 1:00-4:00 p.m., we will hold “drop in” Bike Safety Rodeo for kids to learn cycling skills at the basketball courts in Community Park.

The public vote car show (registration at 10:30 p.m.) and vendor show will begin at noon. The car show will be on School Lane at the elementary school parking lot, while vendors will be set up in Community Park. For horseshoe fans, registration will be open at noon at Community Park. Games for the whole family, sponsored by the Lions Club, will begin at 2:00 p.m. You will want to bring your best for the water balloon, raw-egg toss, sack races, tug of war, and pie-eating competitions. May the best man, woman, child, or team win!

The Emmitsburg Lions Club is once again sponsoring a Heritage Art Contest. The contest is open to school-aged children from the Emmitsburg School Area in first through eighth grades. Homeschoolers are encouraged to participate as well. All artwork should reflect the theme, “What Does My Community Look Like to Me?” Prizes are awarded to winners in each division. For registration go to or email

The beer garden will return to this year’s Community Heritage Day celebration as a fundraiser to support two local worthy causes: The Friends of the Emmitsburg Library and Emmitsburg trails. This year, we plan to expand our hours into the early evening, and we are happy to report that Dave Blackmon from Smoketown brewery is returning to share his delicious brews; we are hoping to bring in a couple more breweries to join the fun.

The parade will begin lining up at 4:30 p.m. on Mountain View Road, and will begin half an hour later. As always, folding chairs will crowd the Main Street of Emmitsburg, as people cheer their favorite with “whoops and hollers.” The parade will end at Community Park in time for music and more food.

Come to the Band Stand in the park, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., to rock the night away with the Special Delivery Band, bringing you music from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. This is the kind of music to which everyone will want to dance.

We know you brag about our fireworks to your coworkers, friends, and family, and this year will be no different—they will again be spectacular. Come down to Community Park for the music, food, and company, and enjoy the fireworks up close and personal,

Deb Abraham Spalding

The 135th Annual Banquet of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) was held on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at the Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

Former Company president and current member, Tim Clarke, acted as master of ceremonies and delivered an enjoyable and comical presentation.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner was a special guest during the banquet. She thanked the VHC for “…the outstanding service you provide to the citizens of Emmitsburg and the surrounding area. You do a great job. You are a model company, and I hope that you will continue to lead the way in the county with the exemplary merger [of the Emmitsburg Ambulance and Vigilant Hose Companies].”

Emmitsburg Town Commissioner Glenn Blanchard represented the Town of Emmitsburg saying, “Thanks for everything the Vigilant Hose Company does… when I’m laying in bed at three o’clock in the morning and hear the alarm go off, I think to myself, I’m laying warmly in my bed while you go fight the fire, help with the car accidents, and take care of everything else you do to keep our community safe. Thanks from myself, the town council, the mayor, and everyone else.”

Pastor Heath presented the prayer during the Memorial Service, held for four individuals who passed in 2018 and who belonged to the VHC: Ronnie Long, John Maly, Thomas White, and Linda D. Miller.

Ronnie Long passed February 14, 2018. He was a carpenter by trade and was instrumental in several constructions, including the remodeling of the station’s kitchen, installing its first walk-in refrigerator, and overseeing the construction of the VHC’s permanent building at the Frederick Fair, which enabled the company to earn several hundreds of thousands of dollars and was a major fundraising event for years. Ronnie and his father were awarded the major renovation to the fire station in 1994, during which he went above and beyond to make sure the project was completed on time for the arrival of Tower 6.

John J. Maly passed away June 5, 2018. He was a social member of VHC, but a life member of the Independent Hose Company in Frederick. He was instrumental in the creation of the Frederick County Fire Museum and served on its board of directors.

Thomas W. White passed away August 3, 2018. He was a life member of VHC and served in many various positions. He was inducted to the VHC Hall of Fame in 1998 and was a past president of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

Linda D. Miller passed away September 17, 2018. She was a member of the former Emmitsburg Ambulance Company and joined the Vigilant Hose Company when the two companies merged. She could often be seen volunteering during Bingos on Wednesdays and Fridays.

During the banquet, Tina Ryder, outgoing president of the VHC Auxiliary, presented a check to the department in the amount of $55,000. She said, “There are many factors that have contributed to our success this year. We have had numerous new fundraisers in addition to our tried-and-true events. The teamwork and commitment that is displayed to pull off these events is incredible. Also, the activities building has allowed our events to thrive.”

Mary Lou Little, representing the Bingo Committee, indicated that the proceeds from an extra 50/50 allowed them to give $2,000 to the Emmitsburg Food Bank, $1,000 to the Seton Center Outreach, $1,000 to the Emmitsburg Lions Club Christmas Food Baskets, $1,000 to Emmitsburg Heritage Day Fire Works, $1,500 to Mother Seton School Scholarships, and $1,000 to Fire Prevention Committee for those in need of smoke detectors in the community.

During the banquet, the 2018 Officers of the company were installed. Tim Clarke said, “It is a pleasure to recognize those individuals elected or appointed by their peers who will lead the Vigilant Hose Company and its auxiliary in the year 2019.” The installation of officers was conducted by Frederick County Volunteer Service Directror, Kevin Fox.

The 2019 Officers include: (Administrative Officers) President, Frank Davis; Vice President, David Stonesifer; Treasurer, Steven M. Hollinger; Assistant Treasurer, William Boyd, Jr.; Secretary, Thomas Ward; Assistant Secretary, Eric Stackhouse; Board of Directors, Pam Bolin, Tim Clarke, Vance Click, Mary Lou Little, Scott Maly, Randy Myers, Douglas Orner, Carl White, and Dave Zentz; (Line Officers) Chief, Chad Umbel; Deputy Chief, James Click; Assistant Chief, Joshua Brotherton; Captain, Alex McKenna; (Fire Police Officers) Captain, Tom Vaughn; 1st Lieutenant, Stephen Orndorff; 2nd Lieutenant, Samuel Cool. (Auxiliary Officers) President, Patty Kuykendall; Vice President, Sharel Boyle; Treasurer, Jo Ann Boyd; Secretary, Joyce Glass; Financial Secretary, Mandy Ryder; Co-Historians, Jennifer Boyd, and Katie Davis.

Length of Service Awards were presented: 5 Years—Jarrett Boyle, Brandon Burris, and Victoria Long; 10 Years—Elyssa Cool, Jean Javor, Jennifer Stahley, Penny Stonesifer, and James Wormley; 15 Years—   Vance Click and Donna Miller; 20 Years—Scott Maly and Randy Myers; 25 Years—Doug Wivell and Dave Wilt (with 25 years, you get Life Membership); 30 Years—Tim Clarke and Steve Valentine; 35 Years—Gabe Baker, Karl Kuykendall, and Vince Boyle; 50 Years—Sam Cool; 55 Years—Austin Umbel.

Top 10 Fire Responders: Tenth Top Responder—Randy Myers; Ninth Top Responder—Vance Click; Eighth Top Responder—Tim McKenna; Seventh Top Responder—Alex McKenna; Sixth Top Responder—Josh Brotherton; Fifth Top Responder—Jim Click; Fourth Top Responder—Matt LeGare; Third Top Responder—Dave Zentz; Second Top Responder—Frank Davis; Top Responder for 2018—Cliff Shriner.

Top 10 EMS Responders: Tenth Top Responder—Patrick O’Hanlon; Ninth Top Responder—Dave Zentz; Eighth Top Responder—Elyssa Cool; Seventh Top Responder—Alex McKenna; Sixth Top Responder—Tim McKenna; Fifth Top Responder—Tom Ward; Fourth Top Responder—Cliff Shriner; Third Top Responder—Ingrid Hazbon; Second Top Responder—Josh Brotherton; Top Responder for 2018—Frank Davis.

Top Fire Police Responders: Third Top Responder—Tom Vaughn; Second Top Responder—Sam Cool; Top Responder for 2018—Steve Orndorff.

The 2018 Training Award was presented to Patrick O’Hanlon, who had the most in-house training and training conducted outside of VHC.

Cliff Shriner was awarded the David Copenhaver Driver of the Year Award for 2018.

Pam Ellison was awarded the President’s Award for 2018. As the VHC merged, Pam worked non-stop creating and updating personnel files, transferring membership, educating membership on the ins-and-outs of county programs, and made sure no one was left behind in understanding the LOSAP Program.

Alex McKenna was awarded the Chief’s Award for 2018. Alex was instrumental in preplanning major target hazards within the Emmitsburg Community and building effective partnerships with key individuals in the community. No matter what assignment, you can be assured that Alex got it done. He’s been an outstanding role model for new members while they acclimate to the operations of the company.

Mary Lou Little was awarded the Member of the Year Award for 2018. Tim Clark explained, “Eighteen months ago, Mary Lou identified a problem in the Emmitsburg Community with the delivery of emergency services. She came forward with a solution and brought with her an amazing group of individuals who were willing to give up their identity, as well as their assets, to become part of the VHC. Without a glitch, the two organizations became one, and now emergency services in the Emmitsburg area are stronger than ever.” With both organizations merged and working together, Tim continued, “We gained good business-driven individuals who put their skills together to manage a multi-million dollar corporation. Fundraising profits grew close to 25 percent since the consolidation, and she introduced us to a little game called Bingo. Through her organization, administrative, and managerial skills, and her desire to put the citizens of Emmitsburg first…” she was deserving of this award.

The highest award to be presented at the annual banquet is the Hall of Fame Award. This year, the VHC inducted William D. Boyd, Jr. and Betty Ann Baker into the Hall of Fame, as well as Brooke Damuth (posthumously).

William D. (Bill) Boyd, Jr.  has served many roles since his joining the company in 1990. He’s received many awards and served many positions for the VHC, including gaining life membership in 2015. He took his membership seriously as assistant secretary, secretary, vice-president, director, and, currently, as administrative officer. He’s very active in events, especially the Spring Fling. He also continues as an active firefighter and fire truck driver.

Betty Ann Baker has given countless hours and many years of dedicated service since joining the company in 1988. A valuable asset to the auxiliary, she has a strong family lineage who have also served the VHC; she serves as a strong matriarch within the entire VHC family.

Brooke Damuth (deceased) was born in 1932 and joined the VHC in 1949 at age seventeen. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. One of his favorite things to do each year was to work the VHC booth at the Great Frederick Fair. He passed in 2002.

VHC Treasurer Steve Hollinger was roasted and awarded a plaque for his recent retirement after twenty-seven years with the United States Postal Service in Emmitsburg.

The banquet concluded with a video of the VHC year-in-review. GT’s catered the banquet and the band First Class provided entertainment.

2019 VHC Administrative Officers

Auxiliary Officers

Line Officers

VHC’s 2018 Hall of Fame recipients were Betty Ann Baker (pictured left) and Bill Boyd, Jr. (pictured right) with VHC President Frank Davis.

Top EMS Responders

Top Fire Responders

Length of Service Award Recipients

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.

by James Rada, Jr.

1909Emmitsburg’s Third Great Fire

Emmitsburg has a long history of both fires and fire protection. The Great Emmitsburg Fire of 1863 is considered the most serious fire in the town’s history. By the time the flames sputtered out, twenty-eight houses and nine businesses had been damaged or destroyed. Three of the four corners of the town square were black with fire, and three of the towns four blocks were fire damaged. Other reports put the number of damaged buildings at fifty, and half of the town destroyed. In actuality, probably about a quarter of the town burned, based on a population of slightly less than 1,000.

Firefighting efforts improved in 1884, when water from the town’s newly built reservoir was piped under the street to fire hydrants. This provided a more-dependable supply of water to the engines.

When the reservoir was dug and the water lines put in, The Emmitsburg Chronicle reported, “When it is considered that the reservoir is located 224 feet above the level of the square, any person can estimate the advantages that must accrue to the village when the improvement is completed. With proper hose at hand, it will scarce be possible for any great fire to occur here, and this security lessening the risks, must diminish the rates of insurance, and we trust that in due time the water power will be availed of for manufacturing purposes.”

Unfortunately, this did not prove to be true, because Emmitsburg had its second great fire the following year.

Fire broke out in St. Joseph’s College just before noon on March 20, 1885, and quickly spread. Fighting fires in the large college buildings was too much for the firefighters with Vigilant Hose Company, who were doing “grand work, but their efforts were of course unequal to the requirements,” according to The Frederick Daily News. Someone telegraphed for the help of fire companies from Frederick and Hagerstown. At the time, St. Joseph’s College was valued at $1 million and the total damage calculated at about $60,000.

What could be considered Emmitsburg’s third most-serious fire happened in December 1909, just days before Christmas. Shortly before noon, the roof of the Rowe property caught fire, which at the time was occupied by the Home Bakery, Harry Hopp, and Mr. Peters.

“The alarm was sounded, but by the time a stream of water could be made to play on the burning roof, the adjoining properties, the Reformed Church parsonage and the house occupied by Mrs. Virginia Gillelan were ablaze,” The Gettysburg Times reported.

Vigilant Hose Company combated the fire, but “A high wind aided the flames, and for a time it was thought that nothing could be done to save the Rowe property, although every effort was being made in that direction.”

Lulu Patterson then discovered that the Motter building occupied by Motter and Ruth Gillelan’s store was on fire. This split the efforts of the fire company as they now battled two fires. If that wasn’t enough, it was then discovered that the homes of H.W. Eyster and George T. Eyster were also on fire.

The firefighters didn’t give up, though.

“Inside of an hour, the flames had been overcome and Emmitsburg, at least part of it, was saved,” The Gettysburg Times reported.

In all, ten buildings were lost or damaged in the blaze.

James Rada, Jr.

Rain couldn’t stop the annual Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day. With the exception of the Vigilant Hose Company’s Community Breakfast that was held Saturday morning, it just delayed the event for a day.

The Emmitsburg Lions Club, which hosts the event, made the decision to postpone the festival. Community Heritage Day is typically on the last Saturday in June, but this year it ran on Sunday, June 28. It turned out to be a good call, because it rained pretty much all of Saturday. Sunday, on the other hand, began cloudy and wet, but with no rain. By noon, the sun forced its way through the clouds and brightened the day.

Carina Hall of Emmitsburg brought her two sons and nephew out to participate in the games that included a greased pig chase, egg toss, three-legged race, and more.

“I like to come because the kids get to have a good time,” Hall said.

Besides the games, she also enjoyed some of the other events that are part of Community Heritage Day, such as the live music, parade, classic car show, and, of course, the fireworks.

“I think what the boys enjoyed even more than the games was the (caterpillar) train that went around the park,” Hall said.

Not only did kids enjoy the games, but so did the young at heart. Thirty-one-year-old Justin Forsyth signed up to participate in the adult heat of the greased pig chase on a dare.

“I told him (Bob Hance) that if he signed me up, I’d be guaranteed to win,” Forsyth said.

Although it was his first time trying to catch a greased pig, his confidence wasn’t misplaced. He said that once the pig started running, his old football skills kicked in to help him catch a real pig skin.

“It was fun, and I’m going to come back to defend my title next year,” Forsyth said.

After the games, visitors strolled Community Park listening to music and eating delicious food. They also took a wagon ride over to the classic car and motorcycle show.

Ron and Cindy Welch of Orlando, Florida, were in town visiting family and stopped by to watch the events.

“It’s very nice,” Sandy Welch said. “I like that everyone is involved and participating.”

This year was the 33rd Annual Community Heritage Day. Each year, the event brings the community together, celebrates Emmitsburg’s history, and raises funds for local charities.

Sponsors of the day include the Emmitsburg Lions Club, the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association, Sons of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, AMVETS, Tyrian Lodge #205, the Emmitsburg Veterinary Hospital, and Men’s Auxiliary VFW, and many more who contribute funds for the annual fireworks and who volunteer to make the event possible.

Winners in this year’s events were as follows:

Art Contest: Elementary School—Hailie Grace Dawson (first place), Emily Grace Williams (second place), Cassidy Sill (third place), Vanessa Sweeney (fourth place), Middle School—Gabrielle Archie (first place), Ryan Heiss (second place), Jean Pembroke (third place); High School—Emily Wilson (first place) and Rianna Joy (second place).

Greased Pig Chase: Ages 1-6—Emma Annadale; Ages 7-11—John Lane; Ages 12-16—Mathew LeGare; Ages 17 and up— Justin Forsyth.

Sack Race Singles: Ages 1-4—Tierney Burns (first place), Camden Stone (second place); Ages 5-8—Wesley Hahn (first place), Evan Upchurch (second place); Ages 9-12—Mason Joy (first place), Josh Maze (second place); Ages 13-16—Jack McCarthy (first place), Mathew LeGare (second place); Ages 17 and up—David Shields (first place), Abby McCarthy (second place).

Sack Race Doubles: Ages 5-8—Evan and Robert Upchurch (first place), Josh and Wesley Hahn (second place); Ages 9-12—Deandre and Andrianne Febus (first place), John Lane and Marques Miller (second place); Ages 13-16—Jada Snyder and Madison Flohr (first place), Daniel and Jack McCarthy (second place); Ages 17 and up—Fred and Mathew LeGare (first place), Bridget and Abby McCarthy (second place).

Egg Toss: Nathan Joy and Josh Maze.

Water Balloon Toss: Jerry and Jacob Wilson tied with Ben Sielaff and Kimberly Shields.

Pie Eating Contest: Ages up to 4—Annelen Upchurch (first place), Tierney Burns (second place); Ages 5-8—Wesley Hahn (first place), Brooke Shriner (second place); Ages 9-12—John Lane (first place), Krystal Lane (second place); Ages 13-16—Jack McCarthy (first place), John Pembroke (second place); Ages 17 and up—Matt Knox (first place), Jerry Wilson (second place).

Watermelon Eating Contest: Ages up to 4—Annelen Upchurch (first place), Tierney Burns and Jordyn Ohler (second place); Ages 5-8—Robert Upchurch (first place), Austin Welch (second place); Ages 9-12—Deandre Febus (first place), Josh Wantz (second place).

Casting Contest: Ages up to 4—Annelen Upchurch; Ages 5-8—Sarah LeGare; Ages 9-12—Madelyn Greco; Ages 13-16—Joseph LeGare; Ages 17 and up—Branden Burriss.

Horseshoe Tournament: Buck Wivell and Jason McKenzie (first place); Roy Wivell and Dave Wantz, Jr. (second place); Dave Miller and Tony Bower (third place).

The damp and muddy grounds didn’t stop the annual car show.

“Eventhough it was a small turnout, it was a really nice show,” said Lions Club Coordinator Melissa Wetzel. Trophies were awarded according to people’s choice.

Car Division—Stephen Kupich ’64 Chevy Corvette (first place and Best of Show); Geno “Tater” Esquer ‘68 Chevy Camaro (second place); Tater ’55 Chevy Pro Street (third place); Bill Groves ’32 Desoto Coupe (fourth place); Pat Groves ’28 Ford Sedan (fifth place).

Motorcycle Division—John Reese, 2001 Yamaha V Star (first place); Robert Droneburg ’91 H-D FXRS (second place); Wade Droneburg 2007 Yamaha V Star (third place).

Truck Division—Don and Jean Eyler ’91 Chevy Sport (first place).

Brooklyn Stone and Annelen Upchurch compete in the Watermelon Eating Contest during Emmitsburg Heritage Day.

DSC_0847(left) Evan and Robert Upchurch place first in the sack race, just one of the many fun contests held during Community Heritage Day.





DSC_0982(left) Sarah LeGare won the casting contest in the 5-8 year age group.

(below) The annual car show at the Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day is always a favorite.


Emmitsburg Flood 6-27-15-sml-IMG_8593-1 (2)Flooding shown in Emmitsburg from the heavy rains that swept through the area on Saturday, June 27, causing Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day to be delayed until Sunday.

(below) Participants strive for a steady, soft grip during the egg toss contest.


DSC_0836Josh Maze and Mason Joy hold up their ribbons earned during the sack race competition. (left)

Tug-o-war games were held for all ages at Community Heritage Day. Lion Jim Hahn helps get the contest started.

No slouches present during this sack race competition, only determined and energetic participants.

DSCN0718(left) John Lane and Krystal Lane place first and second in the pie eating contest, where winning tastes so good.



 1 HD3-1 (2)Kids enjoy riding on the train around Emmitsburg Community Park.






Guardian Hose Company Yard Sale

The Guardian Hose Company is sponsoring a yard sale on May 30, 2015, at the Thurmont carnival grounds on 123 East Main Street in Thurmont. Spaces are $5.00 each.

Vigilant Hose Company’s Spring Fling

The Vigilant Hose Company’s Annual Spring Fling will be held on Saturday, May 16, 2014, at the ARCC Athletic Complex area at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. This annual event features horseshoes, great food, live music, 50/50 tip jars, and much more. It’s great fun for everyone! Tickets are $60.00 each (good for two people). Get your tickets today; there are limited tickets remaining. Spring Fling gives $30,000 away in prizes! Benefits the Vigilant Hose Company and VHC Explorers Post.

Concert at Germantown Church of God

Germantown Church of God Presents Rich Kiser—a solo, finger-style guitarist—in concert on Sunday, May 17, 2015, at 6:00 p.m., at 16924 Raven Rock Road in Cascade. Admission is free.

Lewistown Fire Department Sportsmans Bingo

The Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department, located at 11101 Hessong Bridge Road in Frederick, Maryland, will be holding a Sportsmans Bingo on Saturday, August 22, 2015. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m.; buffet meal will begin at 6:00 p.m., and games will start at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $40.00 per person (includes dinner, ice tea, and beer). Advanced ticket sales only.

Creagerstown Community Dinner

The Creagerstown Community Dinner will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015, from noon-5:00 p.m. Dinner will feature pot pie, fried chicken, country ham, and more. The cost is $16.00 per adult, and $8.00 per child. Proceeds will benefit the upkeep of Creagerstown Cemetery and street lights.

Zurgable Brothers Holds Grill Demo

Stop by Zurgable Hardware, located at 1663 Old Emmitsburg Road in Emmitsburg, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. See demonstrations of Holland Grills.

Old Field Woodworking Open House

Spring is a great time for an Old Field Woodworking Open House! Come see handcrafted and original designed furniture, or order custom-designed furniture on Saturday, May 9, 2015, at 13333 Graceham Road in Thurmont, from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

John Dowling, Kathy Dowling, Theresa Keeney, and Jack Cogan will be on hand to assist you. Receive 10% off of your purchases when you show their advertisement from page 29 of this issue. Call 301-271-4439 for more information.

Fun Festival

Don’t miss the Fun Festival at Victory Tabernacle, located at 6710 Kelly Store Road in Thurmont, on May 30, 2015, from 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Event features games, crafts, face painting, live music, clowns, and much more!

Guardian Hose Company’s Flower Sale & Chicken BBQ

Don’t miss the Guardian Hose Company’s Flower Sale and Chicken BBQ event on May 8, from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and May 9, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Thurmont Senior Center Yard Sale — May through September

Join the Thurmont Senior Center for a yard sale on the second Satruday in May through September. Reserve your spot for just $10.00.

Thurmont Art & Wine Walk

Come on out to the Art & Wine Walk on Main Street in Thurmont on Friday, May 8, 2015, from 6:00-8:30 p.m., for an art, wine, cupcake, and appetizer walk! The event will feature local artists.

All About Birds Art Exhibit

Don’t miss the All About Birds Art Exhibit on June 5-6, 2015, from 2:00-5:00 p.m., at the studio, located at 14726 Old Frederick Road in Rocky Ridge. Original paintings, photographs, prints, and cards will be available by local artists. The event benefits the Catoctin Forest Alliance.

Take-a-Tour Tuesday at Mother Seton School

Visit Mother Seton School for Take-a-Tour Tuesday on May 12, 2015, from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. and 4:30-6:30 p.m. Mother Seton School is located at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Events

The Blue Ridge Sportsmen’s Association in Fairfield is hosting many events in May, including a Final Wagner Shoot on May 2, 2015; a Cash Bingo on May 3, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., with doors opening at 11:30 a.m.; a Kids Fishing Rodeo on May 9, 2015, for ages 2-17 years old, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.; and a Crab Leg Feed on May 23, 2015.

His Place Car Show

Mark your calendar for the 6th Annual His Place Car Show, being held on Saturday, May 2, 2015, at Mother Seton School, located at 100 Creamery Road in Emmitsburg. Event features three awards each, for five categories; raffle, food, door prizes, and more.

Thurmont Anytime Fitness Offers “Free Workout Saturdays” Throughout May

Get ready for some outdoor fitness fun! Anytime Fitness of Thurmont is hosting fun-infused exercises—tug-of-war, relay races, obstacle courses, and more—at Thurmont Community Park at 11:00 a.m. every Saturday during the month of May.

The five consecutive “Free Workout Saturdays” will be led by certified personal trainers and are designed for people of every fitness level. They are open to all adults, not just Anytime Fitness members. The concept, inspired by grassroots efforts of a few Anytime Fitness clubs that regularly offer free outdoor “boot camps,” has grown into a nationwide campaign to promote physical fitness.

“We want our community to be as healthy and active as possible, and we hope that the Free Workouts Saturdays will show folks that exercise can be fun,” said George Puvel, owner of Anytime Fitness Thurmont. “We hope this is the jumpstart and motivation to continue their own personal healthier lifestyle journeys.”

Anytime Fitness Thurmont is one of more than 1,000 Anytime Fitness clubs across the United States that will host the free outdoor exercise classes.

View a Free Workout Saturday video at

“At Anytime Fitness, we’re passionate about helping people ‘get to a healthier place,’” said Puvel. “That can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s losing weight or gaining strength. For others, it’s improving balance or flexibility. The important thing is to find physical activities that you enjoy, so being active is something you look forward to—rather than dread.”

The Taney Corporation Welcomes Special Guests to Tour Facilities

The Taney Corporation, located in Taneytown, Maryland, welcomed U.S. Congressman Andy Harris’ Chief of Staff, Kevin C. Reigrut, and Community Liaison Mary O’Keeffe, to tour their office and plant facilities on February 5, 2015. 

Established in 1958, The Taney Corporation is a family-owned business considered to be the premier stair and rail manufacturer in the Mid-Atlantic market. Owned by Eric, Jeff, and Brian Glass, The Taney Corporation sells to dealers and builders throughout Maryland, Virginia, D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.  Nancy McCormick, director of economic development for the City of Taneytown, was instrumental in coordinating the visit of Reigrut and O’Keeffe, and accompanied the congressman’s staff on their visit to The Taney Corporation. 

Mary O’Keeffe writes, “The state of Maryland is fortunate to have a manufacturing company like yours remain in operation. The motto on your card reads, ‘Over 50 years of excellence’ and after seeing the craftsmanship of what you do, I am a true believer in The Taney Corporation.” 

The Taney Corporation manufactures straight stairs, circular and spiral stairs, pre-built rails, handrails, balusters, and newels in all wood species, including red oak, yellow pine, white oak, poplar, walnut, hickory, and many others.  They employ over sixty-five people, and pride themselves on their fine craftsmanship and dedication to excellence.

Pictured from left are Community Liaison Mary O’Keeffe; Chief of Staff Kevin Reigrut; Taneytown Economic Development Director Nancy McCormick; The Taney Corporation Vice-President Brian Glass; The Taney Corporation President Jeff Glass.

The Catoctin High School (CHS) Committee for a Safe and Sane graduation is continually working hard to raise the necessary funds for the after-graduation party. A sincere thank you to everyone who has supported us to this point—we couldn’t do this without you! We have some more exciting events planned and ask for your continued help.

On Saturday, January 31, Wing Night will be held at the Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg. Tickets are $20.00 per person. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; food will be served at 6:00 p.m.; DJ begins at 8:00 p.m. Beverages included. Contact Cheryl Phelan for tickets or more information at or 301-524-3106.

On Friday, February 13, Ladies’ Night Wine & Paint will be held at the Carriage House Inn, JoAnn’s Ballroom, in Emmitsburg. Tickets are $40.00 per person and include art supplies, appetizers, and complimentary wine. Cash bar available. Doors open at 6:00. There will be fantastic raffles and vendors on site. Contact Cheryl Phelan for tickets or more information at or 301-524-3106. Tickets are limited.

On Saturday, February 21, a Sportsman’s Raffle will be held at the Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg. Tickets are $30.00 per person. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m.; drawings begin at 6:15 p.m. Beverages included. Contact Cheryl Phelan for tickets or more information at or 301-524-3106. This event was previously scheduled for March 7 at the Lewistown Fire Hall; however, due to a scheduling conflict, they had to change date and venue.

Saturday, February 28, is the Ott House fundraiser. The proceeds from your cover charge will be donated to Safe and Sane. Sticktime will be providing the musical entertainment. There will be drink specials and a live auction at 11:00 p.m.

On Friday, March 20, a BBQ Chicken Dinner will be held at Catoctin High School. Tickets are $10.00 per person and include chicken, baked beans, cole slaw, roll, drink, and dessert. Please contact Cindy Grimes for tickets or more information at or 301-788-5354.

On Saturday, April 11, there will be a Cornhole Tournament at the Thurmont American Legion/Pavilion Area. More information to follow.

They are also planning a St. Patty’s Day Dance and Golf Tournament. Details forthcoming.

Parents of 2015 graduates, please get involved. Our planning meetings are the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the CHS Media Center. Please join them to learn how you can help.

Deb Spalding

FF Memorial ladder trucks with flag by Bill Green for the NFFFIn preparation of the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service that is held in October in Emmitsburg, Maryland at the National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg’s fire personnel and volunteers fill multiple rolls year-round. For this year’s 33rd annual event held on the weekend of October 11 and 12, 2014, the folks at Vigilant Hose Company washed a huge U.S. flag then hung it to dry in the four-story stairwell at the station on West Main Street in Emmitsburg. Witnessing the flag, Wayne Powell, Executive Director of the National Fire Heritage Center (located within the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg) said, “It was something to see.”

This same flag was later suspended between two ladder trucks, Emmitsburg’s and Walkersville’s, to create the gateway through which guests entered the memorial. This is just one example of support services conducted by the folks at the Vigilant Hose Company and the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum to help the U.S. Fire Service. This year, the lives of ninety-eight firefighters who died across the United States in the line of duty in 2013 and nine firefighters who died in previous years, were honored during the memorial services at the National Fire Academy.

More than 5,000 people, including Members of Congress, administration officials and other dignitaries, members of the fire service, as well as families, friends, and co-workers of the fallen firefighters attend this event. Vigilant Hose Company’s Chief, Frank Davis, said, “In 2001, the night before the memorial service, I received a telephone call at 6:00 p.m. requesting seventy-five fire trucks on the grounds of the Fire Academy for the service the next day to prepare for the president to attend. We were up all night, but we did it.” President George W. Bush attended this service in 2000 and 2001. It was during the service in 2001, held just a month after 9/11, that President George W. Bush announced that he had to leave early in order to make a special announcement. That evening, he announced from the White House that our country was going to war.

Emmitsburg resident, Dr. Bill Meredith, is credited with dubbing Emmitsburg with the nickname,  Firetown, USA. After retiring as a professor from Mount St. Mary’s College, Dr. Meredith played in a band called the Firetown Band. The name caught on. Emmitsburg certainly lives up to its nickname. As home to the National Fire Academy and the grounds where the Fallen Firefighters Memorial is located, Emmitsburg sees a steady stream of firefighters and fire personnel throughout town. Vigilant Hose Company has become the most visited firehouse in the United States, even surpassing Station #10 and Ladder #10 at Ground Zero in New York City.

The Frederick County Fire and Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg is also the home to the National Fire Heritage Center. The Center houses many interesting artifacts from famous fires and data about the how firefighting has evolved over the years. Visitors may see fire station log books from Station #10 at Ground Zero on 9/11/2001, from Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where volunteers responded to a plane crash in a field on 9/11; and from Arlington County, Virginia, Engine Company 10, where volunteers watched as a plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. These log books and many, many artifacts make a trip to this museum fascinating.

On Saturday, despite some rain, the Red Helmet Riders cruised through Emmitsburg on their motorcycles to show support for the fallen. Later that evening, a quick procession of bag pipe bands traveled from the Vigilant Hose Company to the town square and then filled the Ott House Pub. These same bag pipe brigades and drum units—comprised of musicians from all over the country—came together to provide poignant music during the emotional memorial service on Sunday.

At the memorial service, families of the fallen received flags that have flown over the U.S. Capitol and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. What an honor it is to serve as hosts to such an impactful event. In the thirty-three years that this service has been held, Emmitsburg has been the host location for all services, except one. In 2002, due to the large number of firefighters who perished 9/11/2001, the service was held in Washington, D.C.

For a complete list of fallen firefighters being honored and a widget to display their information on your website, along with Memorial Weekend streaming information, videos, photos, and satellite coordinates, go to For information about the Vigilant Hose Company, visit the station in person at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg or online at For information about the National Fire Heritage Center, visit them in person on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg or online at