This has always been the spirit of the local volunteer fire companies. And all they ask is recognition, appreciation, a word of thanks and the financial support of their communities.
I am not a member of any of the local volunteer fire companies, but they are my friends. I have stood beside them at barn fires when I thought they would drop from exhaustion, their faces and hands black with soot and blistered by the heat. I have seen them cleaning up their equipment after they have been out all night on a stubborn fire, after they had worked all day at their regular jobs the day before.
And the next time the alarm goes they will be there again. But I wonder, how long can we expect this free labor of our friends, neighbors and fellowmen that we have come to depend on?
All that I can say is, "Thank you for your kind services of the past years! It has been greatly appreciated by the people of your communities! Thank you Maugansville, Longmeadow, Leitersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro, Halfway, Funkstown, Boonsboro, Keedysville, Williamsport and any others that I may have missed!"
Harold E. Martin
Harold's Body Shop
On Christmas Eve as I was away at church, my home was broken into and some money, stamps and checks were stolen. Although the intrinsic value was small the possibilities of my missing checks was frightening. But this is not a letter of complaint, rather I want to publicly thank all the wonderful services that rallied to my aid.
First, on Christmas Day DFC Annette D. Selph from the Washington County Sheriff's Dept. efficiently and with sensitivity answered my call to report the break-in.
Second, my bank Washington County National Bank at Williamsport did an almost impossible task of stopping all my accounts, start new ones with new checks, all in time for my first of the month financial responsibilities. Thanks to the bank staff and particularly the Customer Service Representative Marilyn M. Nunamaker.
Third, my insurance companies that automatically deduct my premiums from my bank account were also swift and understanding. My gratitude goes to the Quality First Insurance Agency and Howard Feldman my State Farm Insurance Agent.
Last, I expected my Maryland State Pension System (I'm a retired teacher) to be closed but they have a 24-hour 7 day a week telephone line open. Leonard Dorsey was working on the holiday and was able to help me with the direct deposit change.
Sometimes it takes an emergency to remind us how fortunate we are to live in such a supportive community. My New Year is brighter because of their kind services.
Joel E. Gorgodian
There were over 1,000 entries this year in the Woolly Bear contest and only two or three were of the wrong species, but since several people are confused I will set the record straight.
The caterpillar judged as the cutest and cuddliest is the Isabella Tiger Moth of the Arctiidae family, black stripe at each end and reddish brown in the middle. There are 10,000 species of this family. If you check the World Book Encyclopedia you will find the Tiger Moth is called a Woolly Bear.
The winner of the Biggest and Woolliest is not a Great Leopard Moth. It is also of the Arctiidae family and is a Spilosoma Lubricipeda, very big, very woolly and very black.
Since almost all of our entries were of the right species, I think we will continue to keep it very simple and call them the cutest and cuddliest and biggest and woolliest.
Please allow me to respond to your article about fifth-grade teacher Paul Clemmer, who killed a turkey in front of his students to teach them about "the reality of life" ("Turkey's demise is food for thought," Nov. 27, 1996.) According to Mr. Clemmer, "An animal needs to die before we can eat."
That's news to the 12 million (and counting) vegetarians who live - and eat - in the United States!
And when Mr. Clemmer is teaching kids these life-and-death lessons, does he remember to tell them about factory farms? After all, that's "the reality of life" for turkeys who are raised for food today.