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Call to arms sounded

September 03, 1997

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

With just nine days until the start of the 135th Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam, event organizers still need about 100 more volunteers to handle tasks from selling programs to collecting garbage.

But event organizers, who will hold the first of six volunteer orientation sessions today, said they aren't worried that they might not have enough people to help when the three-day event begins Sept. 12.

"I feel good about the situation. I think the important thing is we can never find too many volunteers. We will find jobs for all of them," said Greg Larsen, coordinator of the event.

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So far, more than 200 people have registered to volunteer at the event, he said. Organizers would like to have about 300 people each day to take care of duties such as ticket sales, merchandise sales, parking patrol and trash detail.

"We could always use more. They're sort of dribbling in," said Georgene Charles, who is coordinating volunteers for the event.

Of particular importance to organizers will be those volunteers who will answer questions for the estimated 50,000 people expected to come to the event, which includes three battle re-enactment scenarios and living history demonstrations.

"Those are sort of our ambassadors who are dealing with the public to direct them," Larsen said.

To attract volunteers, organizers have been seeking help from other volunteer groups and local businesses, as well as making public appeals for help, Larsen said.

This week's orientation sessions will give event organizers an idea of how many more people are needed - and in what specific areas of the event there is a need - as well as let the volunteers know what is expected of them, Larsen said.

He said the sessions also will allow organizers to fit the volunteers to the jobs that best suit them.

"Obviously, we have to be very careful. We don't want a child to be working with money, for example," Larsen said.

Orientation sessions will be held on the event site, adjacent to the Artz farm at 17734 Rench Road. Sessions will be at 6 p.m. today and Thursday. Two sessions will be held each day on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites is organizing the event.

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