From New Hampshire to Wyoming, G. Fred Jacobs worked as a plumber and a police officer until he found his niche at the Maryland House of Correction and Annex in Jessup.
Two years ago, the 46-year-old Mount Airy resident began a new career as a Correctional Maintenance Officer II Plumber. Evidence of Mr. Jacobs' success at his new job hangs on the wall of his Mount Airy home. He was honored last month as the Maintenance Employee of the Year at the Jessup complex.
From repairing steam lines that supply hot water and heat to redesigning plumbing for the dorms, Mr. Jacobs wears many hats at the 3,000-inmate facility. He responds to maintenance emergencies and has pulled long stints at snow removal.
His repair domain includes steam fittings dating to 1887.
"I bring things up to code as I go," he said. "Basically, what I am doing is all new construction inside the House and the Annex."
Mr. Jacobs works inside the institution with prisoners and teaches plumbing skills to two inmates.
He said he gets along with "just about everybody. You have to be completely security-conscious of every act you perform in there."
Supervisors Richard Hill, Clarence Hall and Robert Myers nominated Mr. Jacobs as Maintenance Employee of the Year because of his professionalism, his ability to work with everyone and his ability to show a variety of skills when they are needed.
"He is the type of employee that the Maryland House of Correction needs to be able to keep the institution functioning at a good operational level," said Mr. Hill, a maintenance services manager. "He has an excellent personality. He is willing to work with almost anybody under any circumstances."
Mr. Jacobs' award was one of several at the Jessup prison complex and one of many statewide awarded to security and nonsecurity employees by Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services during Correctional Officers Week last month.
At an awards luncheon in Jessup, Mr. Jacobs was described as follows: "Whatever needs to be done, he is always available. This employee gets the job done without any hassle."
The Mount Airy recipient has an unusual background. He began a five-year plumbing apprenticeship with Baltimore Local 48 in 1968.
After winning local and state apprentice contests, he competed in a national contest at Purdue University in the fifth year of his apprenticeship with the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.
After working all over the country as a plumber, he decided in 1976 to become a police officer. He has worked with police departments in Baltimore City, Wyoming and New Hampshire.
During his 15-year career as a uniformed police officer, he said, he was decorated three times and honored with the J. Edgar Hoover Humanitarian Award for his work with school children in 1990. In 1990, he was listed in "Who's Who of Law Enforcement."
That year, he resigned from police work to return to the Mount Airy area to help his family care for his dying father. He also returned to his plumbing skills, working locally, and entered the Academy for Correctional Officers in 1993.
He lives in Mount Airy with his wife, Dottie. The couple have three grown children and one granddaughter.
Now is the time for parents to enroll their children in the fall soccer program offered by Mount Airy Recreation Council.
Soccer teams will be available for girls and boys in grades one through eight. Registration will be held in the lobby of Mount Airy Middle School tomorrow from 9 a.m. to noon, Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and June 10 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Registrations will not be accepted for fall 1995 sports after June 10. For more information, call council soccer program coordinator Sam Beck at (301) 829-1453.
Don't miss the chance to help Mount Airy Lions Club help our community by supporting the club's annual carnival, Monday through June 10.
Food, rides, games and more will be offered each evening from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6:30 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Ride-all-nights will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday -- look for $2 discount coupons at area merchants. For more information or to offer the Lions help with this fund-raiser, call (301) 829-LION.
A rabies vaccination for your dog or cat is as close as Winfield Fire Department at 1320 Old Liberty Road this week.
Two in a series of rain-or-shine 1996 anti-rabies clinics will be held for dogs and cats over 3 months old from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday. The cost is $4 per animal, and each animal must be restrained by a leash or be in a carrier.
Another vaccination session will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 11.
The clinics are sponsored by Carroll County Health Department. All vaccinations are given by licensed veterinarians. Information: (301) 875-3395.