Kercheval files for County Commissioner

July 11, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

Coming from a strong educational background, James F. Kercheval says he is uniquely qualified to fill one of the five seats on the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Kercheval's father, Bill Kercheval, was supervisor of math for Washington County Schools when he retired. He is now a minister.

Kercheval's uncle, Ed Kercheval, was at one time assistant superintendent of schools in Washington County.

"My background in education should help me as a commissioner," Kercheval said. "I see my top priority as how to get more money for education. That money comes back tenfold down the road."

A Republican, Kercheval, 37, is the founder and owner of Kerch's Southern BBQ at 13420 Pennsylvania Ave.

A graduate of Smithsburg High School, Kercheval went on to Shippensburg University, where he earned his degree in mathematics and computer science.


"I was looking to go into education and, in fact, I did some substitute teaching," he said.

A summer experience working at a barbecue restaurant in Ocean City, Md., ignited Kercheval's quest to go into business. He met two men there and worked for them in the restaurant and catering business.

Kercheval eventually returned to Hagerstown and started his own business, buying out the previous owner at the Pennsylvania Avenue location.

There was a satellite Kerch's location on the Dual Highway for five years, but Kercheval realized he didn't want to work that hard, especially when he became a father.

"It turned out to be a good business move, too - the first year we went back to one location, we did better than we had with two locations," he said.

With the business doing well and having a loyal staff, Kercheval said he began thinking about spending some time doing work in the community.

"It's not the politics that attracts me - it's the community service," Kercheval said.

Convinced that growth must be managed, not stopped, Kercheval said he is willing to put in the time it will take to do the right things for Washington County.

"I will jump into it 100 percent or not at all," Kercheval said.

Clair Kercheval, who is comptroller of Building Systems Inc., is serving as her husband's treasurer in the campaign. They are the parents of two children, Jacob, 3 1/2, and Garrett, 1.

The primary election is Sept. 10, with the general election slated for Nov. 5.

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