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Harford County Council honors Poet Laureate, Harford Living Treasure

Sam Fielder, of Jarrettsville, was named an Honorary Poet Laureate for Harford County during Tuesday evening's County Council meeting because of the poems he has written over the years about the Korean War and loving one’s country.
Sam Fielder, of Jarrettsville, was named an Honorary Poet Laureate for Harford County during Tuesday evening's County Council meeting because of the poems he has written over the years about the Korean War and loving one’s country. (Aegis staff photo by Matt Button/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Two Jarrettsville men, Samuel Fielder Jr. and Marvel Winskowski, received top honors from the Harford County Council and County Executive Barry Glassman Tuesday for a lifetime of service to the community, their service as veterans of the Korean War and in Fielder's case, as a poet.

The county executive and the council named Fielder an Honorary Poet Laureate for Harford County because of the poems he has written over the years about the Korean War and loving one's country.

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Winskowski, 85, was named a Harford County Living Treasure for his decades of community service with the Jarrettsville Lions Club, the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company and as the operator of a local home building company started by his father.

Winskowski was a noncomissioned officer in the Army's 101st Airborne Division in Korea, and Fielder was a member of a Marine Corps artillery unit.

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"His love for country is evident in his emotion-filled literary works," Councilman Jim McMahan said as he read from a proclamation for Fielder.

Fielder has read his poem, "Our Flag" at the annual Flag Day ceremony in Shamrock Park in Bel Air, and he recited it at McMahan's request as he was honored Tuesday evening.

"Sam Fielder, aside from being a very proud Marine, is an individual that has used his talent, sometimes in a foxhole and sometimes in a barn, and he writes poetry," McMahan said. "His poetry has fallen on the ears of many Harford Countians."

The poem "Our Flag" is about "one stately-looking gentleman," a veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, who tells the crowd at an Independence Day parade what the American flag means to him and other veterans.

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"She's stitched from a drop of blood of each patriot true that didn't turn away, run or hide when called to serve the red, white and blue," Fielder recited.

County officials also acknowledged Fielder's service with national and state Korean War veterans' associations.

Glassman thanked him for his work "not only with the written word," but with veterans across the country and youths in Harford County.

He recalled his first time hearing Fielder read "Our Flag" for students at North Bend Elementary School in Jarrettsville, noting "you could hear a pin drop" as the children listened.

"We congratulate you and thank you for all your work," Glassman said.

Fielder encouraged those in the audience and people watching the Harford Cable Network broadcast of the meeting to attend this year's Flag Day ceremony in Bel Air, scheduled for 8 a.m. on June 3.

"Everybody get up and get down there and see that [ceremony]," he said. "We need a group of people."

Winskowski accepted his Harford Living Treasure honor with several generations of his family present, as well as fellow Lions Club members.

McMahan read the proclamation, noting Winskowski's wartime decorations such as the Bronze Star and the Presidential Unit Citation.

He noted Winskowski had perfect attendance at Lions Club meetings for more than 50 years, that he is a former president of the club and he led the effort to found the Lions Club's Carnival, which has been an annual event since 1969.

Winskowski took over his father's contracting business in 1955, retiring in 2014.

"Mr. Winskowski is an invaluable source of Harford County heritage," McMahan said.

Harford Living Treasure nominations are made to the County Council by the county's Cultural Arts Board. The oral history of each Living Treasure's experiences in Harford are recorded and maintained by the Harford County Public Library.

"I think one of the great things about the Harford Living Treasure is the recorded history ... you see such great Harford Countians over time," Glassman said.

Councilman Chad Shrodes, a longtime friend and fellow Lions Club member, lauded Winskowski.

"Marvel is an incredible guy, and we love him to death," Shrodes said.

Shrodes noted houses built by Winskowski's company in Harford and Baltimore counties and York County, Pa., are known for their durability.

"Any time a Marvel Winskowski home is for sale, it's something that people kind of tout about because they know that it is built to last," Shrodes said.

Winskowski recognized Fielder in the audience, and he shared stories from his time in the Lions Club.

"Thank you all so much," he said.

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