Smithsburg resident named Miss Washington County Fire Prevention

January 10, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG ? For at least 20 years, Washington County has not had anyone carrying the title of Miss Washington County Fire Prevention.

But this year, Jennifer Barciz has been tapped for the position and will compete this summer in Ocean City with counterparts from other Maryland fire companies.

A member of Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services, Barciz said she got interested while attending a Maryland State Firemen's Association convention in Ocean City.

"I saw these young women in sashes getting awards," Barciz said, prompting her to look into what it was all about. When attending the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association November meeting, Barciz made her intentions known.


A member of the auxiliary stood up at that meeting and concurred there was interest in having a representative for Washington County at the 2008 convention.

The deal was that if no one else expressed an interest by Jan. 1, Barciz would be named Miss Washington County Fire Prevention.

Barciz said she will be appearing at banquets, carnivals and other activities. She also hopes to establish a fundraiser for pediatric burn patients at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

"I used to take stuffed animals to kids in hospitals," Barciz said. "I want to tell people that not only do houses get burned in fires, people get hurt, too."

As a young girl, Barciz toured the Burn House at Children's Village of Washington County. She said she remembers how the house still smelled like smoke years after the fire.

A native of Waynesboro, Pa., Barciz joined the U.S. Navy after high school graduation. For two years, she was assigned to aircraft carriers in Florida and Norfolk, Va., where she was trained in air traffic control.

During her Navy tour, Barciz managed to put in her 24 hours of duty a month in Smithsburg to stay active with the rescue company she joined four years ago.

When she got out of the Navy in May, Barciz bought a house in Smithsburg. She is tending bar at Gabby's Bar and Grill until she decides on the direction of her civilian life.

"I will be finishing up my EMT classes on Feb. 27," Barciz said. "I am very serious about a career in emergency services. I want to get my skills down to a T."

If chosen Miss Maryland Fire Prevention, Barciz said she would be making appearances around the state for a year.

During her reign in Washington County, Barciz said she is being advised by Twylla Grove, chaplain of the local fire and rescue association auxiliary.

"She is also making my sash," Barciz said.

The Herald-Mail Articles