THE MAYOR’S REPORT: The importance of volunteers

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Two weeks ago I began my article about addresses and I mentioned party lines. I received a lot of comments from citizens who reminisced about their use of party line phones, when you actually dialed or picked up the phone to talk to an operator. Now, you never listened in on a neighbor’s phone call did you? The party line phone system began in the late 1800s. Through World War II it was the phone system folks could afford to pay for if you even had a telephone. New technologies and more affordable phone systems ultimately eliminated the party line. 

The Rescue Hose Co. provided bright orange phone stickers with emergency phone numbers for quick reference in the days before 911.

The local phone exchange office was in the first block of East Baltimore Street beside the vacant lot at Washington Street. Operators there even received phone calls for fires and sounded the town sirens (plural). Later, the Rescue Hose Company fire station would have emergency phones at the South Carlisle Street station. A secondary fire phone was in Zimmerman’s Funeral Home where Mr. or Mrs. Zimmerman would dispatch the calls. Ambulance phones were in members’ homes. When they received a call, the volunteers would telephone volunteer members to respond to the fire/ambulance squad station to respond on the call. Was your lone dial up phone in the kitchen like ours? The Rescue Hose Company had bright orange phone stickers for quick reminders of the emergency phone numbers that predated the 911 system.  I’m sure many senior members remember those phone numbers. It took a lot of volunteers 24 hours a day to answer the calls. 

Rescue Hose Co. responds:Antrim Township home sustains major damage in fire

THE MAYOR'S REPORT:The evolution of addresses

National Volunteer Week was commemorated April 17-23, 2022. On April 14 I was honored to speak at the Greencastle Lions Club’s 78th Charter Celebration. That means that 78 years ago (1944) the local Lions Club received their charter when 26 citizens met at the Evangelical Lutheran Church and formed the Greencastle Lions Club. Volunteers are the heart of communities in the U.S. and Greencastle-Antrim is no exception. Look at Old Home Week. When I served as president some 12 years ago I estimated that it took 500 volunteers to make it happen. So, will you consider volunteering in a G-A organization? Be it Greencastle, State Line, Shady Grove, Kauffman Station, or other areas, consider joining and volunteering. I am authoring this report later on Sunday evening and here’s what I’ve observed in the past six hours.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Two Troop 99 Scouts received their Eagle badges in ceremonies this afternoon at the Greencastle Church of the Brethren. Quentin Campbell and John Schemel were recognized for their community service projects. They received recognition from the Antrim Township Supervisors, the Pennsylvania House and Senate, the lieutenant governor and the mayor of Greencastle. I am inspired by their leadership skills that are achieved in Scouting. I issued citations to both on behalf of the citizens of Greencastle, highlighting their leadership and devotion in completing major community service projects. Quentin’s project was a seating area, lighting and landscaping at the historic Highline Train Station on South Jefferson Street. John’s project was a seating area and outdoor aerial map showing the 3-mile cross country trail at the Greencastle-Antrim School District Campus. 

Later in the afternoon, Rescue Hose Company and many mutual aid companies responded to a working house fire along Whispering Springs Drive west of Williamsport Pike. The call sounded at 5:25 p.m. and units were still on the scene at 9 p.m. During that incident a motor vehicle crash occurred at milepost 3 on I-81, summoning additional emergency services units and providers. By the time all equipment is inventoried and cleaned, it will be midnight. Remember all of these volunteers as they serve our community. 

Meanwhile, the hour is late. We’re ready to do some side porch sittin’ as spring has arrived. I just hope we have spring!  Next time I’ll write about police services — past, present and future — as the times, they are a changin’. Remember, living in G-A, we are certainly blessed.