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Retired police officer remembers brush with JFK

July 11, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN

marlob@herald-mail.com

Retired after a long and distinguished career with the Maryland State Police, Hugh Everline has many memories of those years. But there is one moment that stands out - a moment captured in a photograph that hangs on the wall of Everline's Hagerstown home.

The picture shows Everline standing shoulder to shoulder with John F. Kennedy as the president attended the dedication of the John F. Kennedy Highway at the Maryland-Delaware state line.

The picture was snapped on Nov. 15, 1963, just seven days before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

"I was in my office a week later when I heard the news," Everline, 84, said. "It was hard to believe ... him, the president of the United States."

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A lieutenant then, Everline had been assigned to that road - previously known as the Northeast Expressway - which had its own barrack assigned to the 40-mile length of road spanning three counties.

At that time, the barrack's 35 personnel and four clerks were housed in the Maryland State Highway Administration building.

"On the dedication day, the road wasn't actually open yet," Everline said. "There was a rope across it with traffic waiting to flow right after the ceremony."

The highway administration set up the dedication ceremony and it was one of its employees who snapped the picture of Everline with the president.

"There was such a crowd there, he had to hold the camera over his head, shoot and hope he got something," Everline said.

Later, Everline learned the picture was taken of him and the president, and he managed to get a copy.

In high school, Everline learned auto mechanics and worked at Fleigh Motors.

He also worked with his father in Baltimore and around Maryland in sales and collections, but was looking around for something else when a poker game changed his life.

"I played poker with a state police motorcycle cop and he recruited me," Everline said.

He made the grade to be in the state police, working for two years as a trooper before World War II interrupted his career and he joined the Marines.

After his discharge in 1946, Everline checked in at Pikesville, Md., and resumed his career as a trooper, rising through the ranks and the barracks, retiring in 1973 with the rank of major as planning officer and chief inspector in Pikesville.

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