West Friendship: For its many services, our fire department deserves our thanks

Many thanks to the members of the West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department for all they do and have done for our community this year.

Whether it was the joyful sounds of Santa atop a bright red fire engine during the neighborhood holiday drives through town or the fervor of the fundraising events this year with a fall flea market or the Toys for Tots campaign, the volunteers and the auxiliary are always on thejob.

Most important is the daily on-call nature of the firefighters and emergency medical crew at Station 3. These men and women are always at the ready for us and have demonstrated once again how responsive and invaluable the fire department members are to our community.

On June 29, 2012, when the fury of the derecho storm hit our region, Station 3 members were on thejoband assisting the community within minutes. During 2012 the members of West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department responded to close to 900 fire incidents and over 1,000 emergency medical incidents.

The members of Station 3 continue to look out for our community in the selfless way in which they always have. Thank you from all of us in West Friendship.

The members of the West Friendship Livestock 4-H Club are preparing for the new year in style. Recently the club members met to announce the roster of officers for the coming year.

Congratulations to president Jeffery Woodbury, vice president Laura Thomas, treasurer Charlie Coles, recording secretary Emma Woodbury, parliamentarian Chris Buckley, reporter Matthew Pysh, corresponding secretary Eric Fiege, historians Rachel Thomas, Breanne Yencha and Nathan Thomas, recreational leaders Jonathan Pysh, Justin Woodbury and Ashlyn Turner and greeter Caroline Beall.

Before you know it these local and active 4-H members will be detailing their plans for the Howard County fair.

Joel Goodman and members of the Celestial Searchers Astronomy Club enjoyed a festive holiday meeting on Dec. 17 when the club members made "Astro" cards and heard the astronomical story of "The Star of Bethlehem".

Visitors to the historic district in Ellicott City are invited to vote in the People's Choice contest for the best holiday window on Main Street.

The merchants go all out at this time of year and the historic area always is a treat to behold. Restaurants, shops, the train station and more are great spots to entertain out-of-town visitors, too.

Ed Lilley, president of the Ellicott City Restoration Foundation, invites folks to come on down and stop in at the Tourism Office at 8267 Main St. while visiting old Ellicott City. Ballots for the holiday window contest will be accepted at the tourism office through Jan. 2.

If you haven't visited the Shrine of St. Anthony, now is the time. Brother Gerry Seipp is once again welcoming the public to enjoy his outstanding and huge holiday train garden display. Brother Gerry loves trains and has been collecting since his boyhood days in Baltimore.

The train garden set up will be in place and open for viewing from 3 to 5 p.m. each Sunday in December and January. Next up is Dec. 30. The Shrine of St. Anthony is at 12290 Folly Quarter Road.

Happy New Year to all in the West Friendship community. Without you, and your constant reel of family, school, Scout, business, church, civic and community activities, this column couldn't exist. Keep the news coming.

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