Three years ago, plans were made to honor the Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department’s 50th anniversary during the opening ceremony at The Thurmont & Emmitsburg Community Show, but those plans were put on hold when COVID forced the Community Show to be canceled. So, Thurmont Grange decided to honor Lewistown Fire Department on Monday, June 26, for their 53rd anniversary. Although three years late, it was still a wonderful occasion.
In attendance were several Lewistown officers and members, including current President Vicky Martin and founding President James Grimes. The program began with a history of Lewistown given by Grange President Niki Eyler.
In 1970, because of what was then considered a remote location in the county, Lewistown area residents made the decision that they needed a fire company of their own. So, Company 22, The Lewistown District Volunteer Fire Department, was formed to serve Lewistown, Utica, and Mountaindale. The first meeting was held on June 3, 1970, and founding officers President James Grimes, Vice President Donald Coyle, Secretary John Reburn, and Treasurer Richard Ellis were voted into office. There were approximately 20 founding members, including Russ Goodsell, Raymond Stull Jr, Bill Stull, and Bill Biddinger. By August of 1970, the newly formed company had purchased Engine 222 for $1,800. It was the first diesel engine in the county.
James Grimes, who later would become mayor of Frederick, was instrumental in the early plans for the department, as well as Albert Powell, director of the State Fisheries in Lewistown; Donald Martin; John Reburn; and Jack Barber. Within a year, Lewistown had purchased a garage, owned by Jim Grimes, and moved into the building with Engine 222 & 223 and Tanker 22. They had a yard sale, a raffle, several suppers, and 50/50s under their belt.
Today, the fire department has approximately 80 members. It has six different apparatuses: Engine Tanker 224, Engine 221, Tanker 22, Brush 226, Utility 22, and Ambulance 229. The fire station is staffed by volunteers from the community and two paid employees of the county who are on duty 24/7.
Lewistown Volunteer Fire Department is vital to the safety and well-being of the surrounding communities. In 2022, Lewistown ran 164 fire calls and 640 EMS calls. Just last month alone, they went out on a total of 76 calls, 11 fire, and 65 EMS.
Thurmont Grange No. 409 thanked Lewistown for 53 years of volunteer service, and they were honored to recognize the fire department for all the volunteers do to protect and serve not only Lewistown but the surrounding communities.
Pictured from left are Vicky Martin (current Lewistown President), Jim Grimes (Founding Lewistown President), Rodman Myers (Community Show Committee President), and Niki Eyler (Thurmont Grange President).