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Stewart Brennan - Clear Spring man proud of serving town

April 19, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING - When Stewart Brennan gets up in the morning, he immediately starts moving.

"I don't want to sit around," the lifelong Clear Spring resident said. "And if I'm moving, I'd like to be doing something."

To the benefit of Clear Spring and all of its residents, that "something" is usually some vital service to the town he calls home.

Brennan, 86, checks in with Town Clerk Juanita Grimm first thing every morning and then again in the afternoon.

"Juanita tells me if there is a broken water pipe or something else that needs to be checked or fixed," Brennan said.

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Brennan usually gets right into the middle of any projects - standing around supervising isn't his strong suit.

"I've fixed many a broken water pipe in this town," he said.

More than 20 years ago, Brennan was involved in the installation of the water lines to the wastewater treatment plant outside Clear Spring.

From spring through fall for the past 16 years, Brennan has cut the grass at the Clear Spring American Legion.

"I get paid but not much," Brennan said. "It just needs to be done and I'm cheap labor."

People in Clear Spring could set their clocks by Brennan, so if he deviates from his daily rounds, the news gets around town fast. In late January, a cold caused Brennan to change his routine a little for a few days.

"People were checking up on me," he said.

Without benefit of a telephone answering machine, caller ID or a cell phone, Brennan always seems to know what's happening at any given time in Clear Spring.

"I stop by the hardware store and find out what's going on," he said.

One of eight children born at the Brennan family farm, he worked hard while growing up, but went to school because his parents believed in the value of education, he said.

Shortly after signing on as a mechanic for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Hagerstown, Brennan was drafted. He served with the U.S. Air Force in England during World War II.

Back in the United States, he returned to work for the railroad and married Peggy in 1947.

"I worked 31 years for the railroad, retiring in 1973," Brennan said. That same year, his wife died.

After a seven-year stint making pipe for CertainTeed near Williamsport, Brennan retired in 1980. It was then that he really got involved in his town and its residents, serving on the town council from 1983 to 1986.

In 2001, Brennan was nominated for Washington County's Most Wonderful Citizen by former Vice Mayor Julianna Albowicz. He didn't win, but Albowicz's letter made it clear the lengths to which Brennan would go for the town.

In her nominating letter, Albowicz cited one example of Brennan's deeds that occurred in 2000 when the town was undergoing a major streetscape project that required every home on the main street to receive a new water meter.

Mistrust and rumors abounded. Brennan volunteered to go door to door, gathering permission slips and explaining the importance of the project to any homeowner with questions.

"I do things for my town because I want to see it stay nice," Brennan said. "It's a nice little town."




Q&A

Name - Stewart Brennan

Address - Clear Spring

Date of birth - January 1920

Occupation - Retired railroader

Most notable achievement - Having faithfully served the town in which he was born and raised and has lived in most of his life.

Your proudest moment - On his 80th birthday, the entire town threw Brennan a surprise party at the American Legion. "A lot of nice things were said about me that day," he said.

Who is the person you most admire and why? - His father, who raised eight children during the Depression while working a farm.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Who gave it to you? - I was taught to always be polite to people - that was my mother's doing.

What is the next goal you would like to achieve? - I'd like to keep on doing what I've been doing. I'm satisfied and happy."

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