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Fred Lewis’ long career has been animal magic | GLENWOOD/GLENELG/DAYTON

John Goodman, a lifelong resident, has lots of stories about Howard County and the interesting people who have lived here throughout the years. He contacted me recently with some stories about Fred Lewis, a veterinarian, who opened the first veterinary hospital in Howard County in 1957.

Lewis grew up on a small dairy farm in Delaware. At the time, draft horses were still doing a lot of the work. Long hours working on the farm with the horses helped him to decide on his career.

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After college, he heard Howard County needed a veterinarian. He and his wife, Mary Agnes, moved here with their two sons and settled down. At the time, there were over 200 dairy farms, many beef farms and a few horse breeding operations in Howard County. The Lewis Veterinary Hospital, at the corner of U.S. 29 and Route 108, was soon very busy with all the clients Lewis could handle.

Over the years, the Lewis Veterinary Hospital moved to several locations, but some things didn’t change. Mary Agnes ran the office, did the scheduling and relayed calls on the two-way radio to Lewis as he traveled from farm to farm. She also gave birth to 10 children in 20 years. As soon as the children were old enough, they would go on calls with their father to learn the business.

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Lewis would show up with knee boots, coveralls and long rubber gloves, never knowing what the ground conditions would be in the barnyard. Calls ranged from relieving bloat and treating fevers to delivering calves and surgery to remove dangerous objects animals had swallowed.

Lewis’ motto: “Never let the sun set on an ill animal.”

Fred Lewis
Fred Lewis (Howard County Living Farm Herita / HANDOUT)

The weeks before the county fair were very busy. All animals had to have shots if they were to be shown. Changes in the dairy industry also meant dairy farmers selling milk had to have all their cows tested and inoculated for tuberculosis. With the size of the herds, this would have kept a vet busy all day.

One of Goodman’s favorite memories of Lewis was when Goodman was bitten on the leg by a friend’s dog. He and the friend were heading to Dalton Pond to go ice skating, and the pond was near Lewis’ office. Goodman went in to see the veterinarian, who cleaned the wound with alcohol and sent him on his way.

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“I’m not saying he saved my life, but he sure saved me a lot of time,” Goodman said. “Being able to skate on the pond was very important to me at that time.”

Howard County has changed since 1957. Lewis no longer works at the Lewis Veterinary Hospital, which is now the Veterinary Centers of America Lewis Veterinary Hospital. He works from his farm instead, caring for his own horses and a few horses belonging to longtime customers. He believes that “If you’re doing what you like, it’s not work. I’ve never worked a day in my life.”

We are fortunate to have great people like Fred Lewis and John Goodman living in our neighborhood.

Congratulations to the Glenelg High School football team for defeating Howard High and claiming the Elgard trophy for the third straight year. This was the 63rd year that the two teams met on the field to determine which school would claim the trophy. The game was a nail-biter. Glenelg won with a touchdown with only 13 seconds remaining on the clock. Congratulations Gladiators!

Glenelg High School’s graduation will be held in person at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 3 at 3 p.m. There will also be a virtual option.

Calvary Lutheran Church on Old Frederick Road is once again holding a communitywide diaper drive for the entire month of May. Donations of diapers for children or adults, pullups and wipes can be placed in the “mini-church” on the lawn in front of Calvary at any time.

There is a great need for all of these items in our area. The donations will be split between the local food pantries and the Howard County Diaper Project, Carroll County Family Center and the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Needs for Frederick County. Please help our neighbors. If you have any questions about this project, call 410-489-5280.

Calvary Lutheran is having a drive-in crab cake or fried chicken platter dinner on May 28 from 4 to 7 p.m. The platter includes the famous homemade crab cake sandwich or two pieces of chicken with homemade potato salad and coleslaw, applesauce and dessert. The crab cake dinner is $15, and the chicken dinner is $13. COVID-19 restrictions are being followed.

Amy Syversen, the director of bands for Dayton Oaks Elementary School, is proud to announce the band musicians of the month for April. Congratulations to Ava Pollard, Brendan Cabaniss, Casey Sebastian, Connor Haskell, Ellie Frank, Evelyn Rubens, Hope Bogard, Jackson Rose, Noah Cosgrove, Owen Channel, Saisha Vyas and Tej Dhaliwal. Keep working hard and creating beautiful music.

Send information to tracy21738@yahoo.com or 410-489-7444.

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