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Clear Spring firefighter spearheads efforts to help families in need

Frank Kimble Jr. hopes to be able to deliver goodies this year

Frank Kimble Jr. hopes to be able to deliver goodies this year

December 23, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

CLEAR SPRING -- After organizing a holiday food and toy drive for 37 families in need in the Clear Spring area before last Christmas, Frank Kimble Jr. was looking forward to helping deliver the goodies.

Instead, on Christmas Eve, he ended up having an appendectomy at Washington County Hospital.

Kimble has once again spearheaded the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Co.'s effort to help Clear Spring area families -- 83 this year -- and he intends to help deliver items this season.

"I am looking forward to it," said Kimble, 32, a lieutenant with the fire company who is to be promoted to captain Jan. 1.

Last December, Kimble talked with his wife, Marie, about how the community supports the fire company and about what the company could do to give back to the community.

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"We wouldn't be able to fund the company if we didn't have people come to our carnival, bingo. We rely on the community," Kimble said.

So Kimble approached the three Clear Spring public schools, asked for help identifying families in need, and ended up with a list of about 170 adults and children in 37 families.

In addition to colleagues with the fire company, several businesses, the Clear Spring Ambulance Club and the Sons of the American Legion helped with funding and delivering the gift boxes. Each box included the makings of a holiday meal, including a turkey, and a $100 Toys R Us gift card. Some larger families also received toys.

This year, the effort was extended to Conococheague Elementary School. With the economy down and some local residents out of work, there were more families in need. This year's drive is expected to help more than 500 adults and children.

"There's a lot of people whom without their support this project would be hard to pull off," Fire Chief Michael L. Reid wrote in an e-mail to The Herald-Mail. "But, had it not been for the vision of Frank Kimble and his compassion for others, this wouldn't be happening."

Kimble said his father, Frank Kimble Sr. of Williamsport, raised him to help out, to lend a hand.

"He would bend over backwards to help anybody," said Kimble Jr., a mechanic for Trailer Enterprises in Hagerstown.

It was a need to help that led him to become a firefighter 12 years ago.

Kimble said he has spoken to a few people the holiday food and toy drive helped.

"I've had people break down and cry over the telephone because they weren't sure how they were going to make ends meet" during the holiday season, he said.

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