THE MAYOR’S REPORT: Old Home Week news and plans for 9/11

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

WOW! What a week it has been in Greencastle-Antrim. So how was your post-Old Home Week Sunday? Tina and I strolled around town this morning and checked out the display windows we hadn’t observed. It was like walking through an open-air museum. My heart-felt congratulations to 41st triennial President Bonnie Shockey and all of the volunteers who made this 120-year historic event a huge success. It wouldn’t be fair to ask what your favorite event was because they were all wonderful with large crowds.

See the pictures:Greencastle-Antrim's Old Home Week parade held Aug. 11

A new community image:Mural created at Old Home Week Paint in the Park

I’m going to tell you about an Old Home Week love story in just a few minutes so stay tuned. Meanwhile, Sunday has been a day of rest with some front porch and side porch sittin’! With Old Home Week, did you feel the community spirit and the enjoyment of families and friends getting together? The spirit of Old Home Week should continue in the G-A community. I encourage all of us to continue that wonderful feeling as you visit with family, friends, and neighbors as we enter the fall season. To those of you reading this that could not return to the “hometown,” check out the Echo Pilot and Old Home Week websites for the wonderful photos and stories. What sticks in my mind is a black and white photo of our Center Square during Old Home Week in the 1920s with an aging Philip Baer seated on a chair surrounded by citizens. That was 100 years ago. The magic continues.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

Tina and I were honored to have many guests at our home during the week. U.S. Congressman John Joyce, state Sen. Judy Ward, and our neighbor, Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Schemel stopped in for a visit. Dr. Joyce and Sen. Ward are just in awe of the community spirit of the G-A community. Paul and I get to live it every day. As mayor of Greencastle, I designated Congressman Joyce and Sen. Ward as our “honorary citizens” and presented them with Official Old Home Week badges.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. pins an Old Home Week badge on U.S. Congressman John Joyce, making him an honorary citizen of Greencastle.

Congressman Joyce spent Thursday afternoon in Greencastle for several very special veterans’ presentations that included U.S. Army veteran R. Eugene “Gene” Hurley receiving his service medals as a Vietnam veteran. Greencastle residents Roger and Bev Bitner received a United States flag that was flown over the nation’s Capitol in memory of their son, Green Beret Master Sgt. Ben Bitner, who died in Mushan, Afghanistan, on April 23, 2011. Congressman Joyce then visited several Greencastle businesses. Police Chief John Phillippy and Borough Manager Emilee Little had a good sit-down with the congressman and discussed federal issues that he may assist us with in the future.

Can you participate by walking or observing? The mayor is again hosting our Sept. 11 Observance Walk and Programs. Since 9/11 is on a Sunday this year I’ve scheduled our special programs on Saturday, Sept. 10. The walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. along Eastern Avenue and proceed through Center Square then to the Veterans Monument and Memorial at 60 N. Washington St. A patriotic blue grass concert will be at the Jerome R. King bandshell that Saturday afternoon from 2 until 3:30 p.m. More information will be forthcoming. Those with challenged mobility can meet us on Center Square and walk to the Veterans Memorial or just bring a lawn chair to the destination location at 60 N. Washington St. 

Over 60 years after their original engagement, Ed Sneckenberger of Morgantown, W.Va., and Prescilla Matheny of Hagerstown plan to marry this November. They shared the news with Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. after a performance of the Old Home Week pageant.

And now, here’s a wonderful love story. After Wednesday evening’s Old Home Week pageant in the G-A High School auditorium, I stayed and talked to lots of attendees. After about 30 minutes the auditorium was cleared except for a lovely couple sitting in the center of the large facility. As I walked up the aisle, I greeted them and they said, “We’ve been waiting on you.” That is when I met Ed Sneckenberger of Morgantown, W.Va., and Prescilla Matheny of Hagerstown. Mr. Sneckenberger graduated from Greencastle High School, then located along South Washington Street, in 1955. They were engaged to be married, however, the relationship ended … but not for long! Over 60 years later, the two have gotten back together and are again engaged to be married this November. I do hope I’m invited to their wedding. We had a wonderful conversation along with others present right in the middle of the auditorium. Now that is quite a love story. Congratulations Ed and Prescilla!

I end by saying thank you to our community for participating in the 41st triennial Old Home Week and for keeping our community safe. My best wishes to our 42nd OHW officers, President Garon Gembe, and Secretary (43rd President) Vernon McCauley. Let’s keep this great community spirit going in G-A until we meet for OHW events again in three years. OK … I’m puttin’ the laptop away and getting back to some side porch sittin’! WOW … We are so blessed!