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Gaver lights up Old Tyme Christmas

December 08, 2004|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Rich Gaver

Age - 44.

Occupation - Full-time electrical inspector for Washington County; part-time sales associate for Lowe's.

Hometown - Funkstown.

Where would you see Gaver? - Gaver, a South High graduate, was one of the last three boys to earn the rank of Eagle before the Funkstown Boy Scouts troop folded. He said the networking skills he gained in that endeavor have been invaluable to him as co-chairperson of Funkstown's Olde Tyme Christmas.

His wife, Rose, is also co-chair and deserves top billing, he said. He's been married to her for 19 years and has two grown stepsons.

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Rich Gaver is quick to add that a core group of about six families and several businesses put in a lot of time, as well.

"They spend a lot of blood, sweat and tears so it doesn't cost anything for people to come," he said, with the exception of the wagon ride that costs $3 for adults and $2 for children younger than 12.

A tradition in Funkstown since 1992, the event takes place this year on Friday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. Most of the shops stay open through the evening and there is a craft show and dinner in the lower level of the fire hall.

In addition, there is a raffle and Olde Tyme Christmas cookbooks and glass ornaments will be on sale. This year's ornament features a hand-drawn picture of the Jacob Funck House 1769, the oldest house in Funkstown.

The Gavers, who live on Chestnut Street, have been organizing the event for the past five years. Their committee starts meeting in August to plan the event.

There's a schedule of events to plan, fliers to produce and distribute, a visit by Santa, musical groups and wagon rides to organize. Assembly of the 4,000 luminarias that will line the streets and light the cemetery begins in early November in Rich Gaver's mother's garage.

"This takes a lot more work than people think," Rich Gaver said. "We're to the point now it runs pretty smooth."

Gaver likens the logistics of planning an event like this to preparing an army for battle.

"But we do ours for free and nobody gets hurt," he said.

Hobbies - Gaver likes playing with the computer and doing woodworking.

What does Gaver like best about Washington County? - "It's a community. It's a family," Gaver said.

He compares it to Frederick, Md., where he said people are afraid to open the door to strangers.

"Up here, you drive by somebody and they'll wave," he said.

A native of Funkstown, Gaver's family lived on a farm outside of Funkstown until they moved to Chestnut Street in 1968. He said his father and grandfather were the largest grain contributors to the Chewsville Grain Co-op when they were farming.

Gaver is well aware of the growth that's taking place in the county. As one of two full-time electrical inspectors with the Permits Department, his job is affected by the boom in development.

"That's why I wanted to stay with the Permits Department," Gaver said. "I want safe places for people to live."

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If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail janeth@herald-mail.com

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