THE MAYOR'S REPORT: Honoring Rescue Hose Co. EMS and Greencastle-Antrim's Hometown Heroes

Ben Thomas Jr., Greencastle mayor

So it’s side porch sittin’ season and it’s already nearing 90 degrees. OK ... so I’m staying inside for now to author this report. Tina and I just made some golden iced tea and it tastes so good. Join me for a few minutes as I write about Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week, Memorial Day and Hometown Hero banners.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

It was an honor to join Antrim Township Supervisors Chairman John Alleman with a joint proclamation commemorating EMS Week in Greencastle-Antrim (May 16-22) by honoring the Rescue Hose Company, who has provided these services over the past 54 years.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr., center left, and John Alleman, chairman of the Antrim Township supervisors, center right, presented a joint EMS Week proclamation to Rescue Hose Co. EMS Chief Mark Miller.

Rather fitting as John and I have a combined 100 years of service with the Rescue Hose Company, many serving in EMS as emergency medical technicians. We took the first full Pennsylvania class in 1975. Before that we trained under the late Dr. Walter Wolfinger at Waynesboro Hospital as emergency ambulance technicians. Seems like yesterday.  We commend the volunteers and career staff of Rescue Hose Company and Medic 2 for providing these extremely vital and life saving services in G-A and beyond 24/7.

Blue Devil Scholars project: Who are Greencastle-Antrim's Hometown Heroes?

Serving the community: Mayor's Report: National Police Week

I’m often asked if there’s a listing of the G-A Hometown Hero banners and historical information about the men and women so listed. Thank you students and advisers of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Blue Devil Scholars, the G-AHS chapter of the Rho Kappa, the national social studies honor society, for creating this interactive map for the Hometown Hero banners that’s available on the G-A Chamber’s website. A Google map lists each service members, their branch and photo. Take a few minutes and check it out. A group of G-A High School students is working on a project to tell as many stories that they are able to research.

As I drive, walk or ride my bicycle, I’m of an age where I know or knew many of these veterans. It is fitting that our high school students learn about these service members that sacrificed so much for us while some paid the supreme sacrifice for the freedoms we so take for granted.

The banners around Center Square in Greencastle honor Hometown Heroes who were killed in action, including Harry R. Pensinger in World War II and Thomas R. Cook Jr. in Vietnam.

So fitting for Memorial Day 2021 which is next Monday, May 31. A ceremony is scheduled at 11 that morning at Cedar Hill Cemetery. I pray for good weather so you may bring a lawn chair and share this humbling service. I encourage you to visit the veterans monument and memorial wall over the weekend at 60 N. Washington St.’s borough hall.

During World War I the borough hall, known then as “council hall” and the Rescue Hose Company fire station, was used for physical examinations and registrations for Greencastle-Antrim men eligible for military service. This included 235 citizens of Greencastle; 463 citizens of Antrim Township. A total of 111 young men would serve from the G-A community during WWI.

Sgt. Frank L. Carbaugh

Sgt. Frank L. Carbaugh grew up on a farm along Long Lane near the Greencastle reservoir and became a math teacher. He was wounded in France and died in a field hospital where he wrote “The Fields of The Marne” that tells the story of war then looking forward to peace. The poem was published in Stars and Stripes magazine in 1918. At the age of 22 he succumbed to his wounds following four surgeries in a field hospital. He was interred three years later at Cedar Hill Cemetery in his home community of Greencastle-Antrim. 

The American Legion Post is named in memory of Sgt. Frank L. Carbaugh and his writing is the official poem of Post 373. 

On Memorial Day I pause to think of the family members whose loved ones paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in our armed forces. Those memories are even more challenging on Memorial Day. Please know that your loved ones are not forgotten. They live in the hearts of those of us who possess memories of their lives and the wonderful times we shared together. This long weekend ahead, I again ask you to visit our veterans memorial wall and take a walk or drive around Greencastle and view the Hometown Hero banners lining our streets. Say a prayer for the Gold Star families. We are blessed.