Maryland's emergency volunteers resolve top issues

Copyright 2006 The Baltimore Sun Company 
The Baltimore Sun 

A new fire training center, guidelines for the junior firefighter program and election of officers for the 2006-2007 year were the main topics covered at the second annual convention of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association.

Outgoing association President E. Richard "Ricky" Baker Jr. announced that Lehigh Cement Company had increased its land donation from 25 acres to 40 acres for a new fire training center to be built in the Linwood area.

The firefighters had asked for additional land for a large apparatus driver training course and safety village, among other training areas, such as a burn building, hazardous materials training and a classroom building.

"Lehigh has been very receptive when we asked for more land when we explained what we wanted; they saw the justification for it," said Scott Campbell, director of the Carroll County Office of Public Safety.

Commissioner Perry L. Jones Jr., who attended the all-day convention at the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company on May 20, told the group that as soon as Lehigh's German headquarters signs the papers for the donation, the county can start drilling to see what the ground looks like for constructing buildings and training areas.

Jones added that community meetings about the new training center would be held in Linwood to calm residents' concerns about how the facility would be used.

"That's the land we got, and that's where the training center will go," Jones said.

The commissioners have budgeted $7 million for the project.

But the current training center on Washington Road, wedged in between Westminster High School, the Career and Technology Center, Gateway School and Robert Moton Elementary School, needs a number of upgrades to keep it viable until the new center is built, said William Luebberman, training grounds manager.

The association also has been working for two years on guidelines for its junior firefighter program. When the question was raised on what children younger than age 16 can do in training for the fire service, a statewide committee was set up to settle the question.

Committee Chairman Terry Thompson from the Maryland State Firemen's Association gave the Carroll association a set of guidelines for a junior cadet program that outlines specifically, according to state law, what children of certain ages are allowed to do.

"The guidelines cover Maryland Child Labor Laws, parental consent, work standards, a sample application and officers for the program," Thompson said. "We had them reviewed by the state's attorney for accuracy."

The association also elected new officers for the next year. They are Richard Green Sr. of Gamber, president; William Eyler of Pleasant Valley, first vice president; Mark Bilger of Hampstead, second vice president; Ralph Dull of Manchester, secretary; and Dennis Brothers of Gamber, treasurer.

The association's auxiliary also held its annual convention the same day and elected new officers. They are Jeanne Green of Gamber, president; June Black of Sykesville, first vice president; Barbara Zepp of Winfield, second vice president; Kim Thomas of Pleasant Valley, secretary; Kristina Rogers of Harney, treasurer; Dorothy Rue of New Windsor, historian; and Wanda Schaeffer of Reese, chaplain.

During an awards banquet after the business meeting, three members were inducted into the Hall of Fame, each of whom had other family members already in the group.

Baker joined his father, E. Richard Baker Sr., and great-uncle C. Oscar Baker, all past association presidents, in the Hall of Fame. Donald L. Nott Jr. from Manchester Fire Engine and Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, joined his uncle, Harvey H. Nott Sr. Dennis Wayne Brothers from Gamber & Community Fire Company also joined his uncle, Calvin Brothers, in the Hall of Fame.

The association awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Nick Hornberger, a graduating senior at North Carroll High School, who has been accepted in the paramedic program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He is a member of the Manchester Fire Company who worked his way up through the junior program.

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