When you're 40-something, if someone shaves two years off your age -- it is a compliment. But when you're a teen-ager, a two-year mistake in age can seem quite the opposite.
Sincere apologies to Melvin Szymanski, who is 15 years old -- not 13 -- as mentioned in last week's column. Melvin is a member of Mount Airy's Civil Air Patrol Squadron 18091 of the Maryland Wing. He served as master of ceremonies for the Squadron's Charter Ceremony that was held Sunday at Mount Airy Fall Festival.
CIVIL AIR PATROL members officially will be based in Mount Airy beginning Sunday when Squadron 18091 of the Maryland Wing receives its charter.
The charter ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday onstage at Mount Airy Fall Festival. Melvin Szymanski, 13, master of ceremonies for the event, will give a brief history of the organization before a 15- to 20-minute Cadet Honor Guard performance.
The presentation of the charter by Maryland Wing Commander Eugene Przybylowicz and other presentations will follow.
The organization focuses on community service in three areas: aerospace education, leadership training, and emergency search and rescue instruction. Members often provide four-wheel transportation to medical providers during inclement weather, search crews for missing people and aircraft, and aerial surveillance of natural disasters.
"We're actually an auxiliary of the United States Air Force," said Squadron Commander Tom McLellan of Mount Airy.
Mount Airy's group, which has been part of the Frederick Squadron for the past year, is composed of senior and cadet members. Fifteen members were needed before the group could be chartered.
Cadets must be at least 12 years old and must have completed the fifth grade before joining. Individuals may join cadets through age 18 and may retain cadet classification through age 21. Senior membership spans age 18 "to whatever," Mr. McLellan said.
From flight scholarships to international travel, many opportunities are available to Civil Air Patrol cadets, who must complete at least one summer encampment to be eligible for other training programs and awards.
A former commander of the Frederick Squadron, Mr. McLellan lives in Mount Airy with his wife, Judith, and their children, Shaun and Kathleen.
Squadron 18091 meets each Thursday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 204 N. Main St., Mount Airy. It will be one of 22 squadrons in Maryland, Mr. McLellan said.
He said the group is "always interested in prospective members -- cadets and seniors." Information: (301) 831-5654 or (301) 829-9057.
In addition to Mr. McLellan, senior members of Squadron 18091 include: Ted Browzwski, Clyde Grimes, Judith McLellan, George Curt" Pospisil (deputy commander of seniors), Diane Saxton (deputy commander of cadets), and Jim "Skip" Ticcirilli. The roster of cadets includes: Jed Abendroth, Michael Brandon, Laure Chase, Jen Hogin, Chris Kirk, Shaun McLellan, Derek Pospisil, Heather Pospisil, George Riordan, Adrian Rogers, A. J. Rogers, Paul Saxton, Devin Szymanski, Melvin Szymanski and Jim Ticcirilli.
Fire company open house
Mount Airy's fire company volunteers are inviting area residents to their North Main Street home from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday for a Fire Prevention Open House.
Tours of the new fire station and equipment as well as fire prevention displays, safety lessons, and blood pressure screening will be featured at the free event.
Fire prevention committee chairman Gene Mellin said National Fire Professionals Association videos also will provide opportunities for fire survival instruction to guests -- sixth-graders to adults.
Visitors will have the chance to take home free door prizes that have been donated by these local establishments: Memories Restaurant, Four Seasons Restaurant, Ace Hardware and Mount Airy Center Hardware. Sparky, the company's fire dog character mascot, will visit the event.
A new tradition will be initiated at the Sunday event at 2:30 p.m., when judges select a Little Miss and a Little Mr. Mount Airy Fire Prevention. Mr. Mellin invited children in grades three to five who live in the fire company's "first due" service area to participate in the competition.
Contestants will be interviewed by a panel of judges at 11 a.m. Sunday to measure their age-appropriate fire prevention knowledge. Savings bonds and coupons from Pizza Hut and Mount Airy Bowling Lanes await the two winners.
Winners will be expected to represent the Mount Airy Fire Company whenever possible at area parades and events. Mr. Mellin reminded parents of prospective contestants that they will be expected to provide support to the winner. Children must register by tomorrow by calling (301) 829-0100.
Saddle Pals horse show
Don't miss an opportunity to see area equestrians show off their steeds at Mount Airy Saddle Pals Fall English and Western Horse Show on Sunday at Mount Airy Firemen's Carnival Grounds.
The 31-event show begins at 9 a.m. and will feature a midday demonstration by the Saddle Gals Equestrian Drill Team. The show is open to area riders of all ages with horses who have a current Coggins test.
A $4 fee per class will be charged and registration begins at 8:30 a.m. The event is free for spectators, and food will be available to purchase. Information: (301) 831-5230.
Middle school book fair
Books, posters and book marks purchased at Mount Airy Middle School Book Fair, Monday through Oct. 13, will help stock the school's media center shelves and coffers.
Mount Airy Middle parents and friends are invited to visit the fund-raising Scholastic Book Fair, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. The event provides the perfect opportunity to browse for holiday gifts. All visitors must register at the school office before going the media center.
Volunteers under the direction of Media Specialist Blair Reid will staff the event. Orders for sold-out items will be placed daily.
Information: (301) 829-1314.
Area bingo players are invited to enjoy their favorite game of chance every Tuesday evening and help the mission of Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company.
Doors of the Firemen's Activities Building at Twin Arch Road and Route 27 open at 5:30 p.m. There's time for fellowship and food before the games begin at 7 p.m. Sandwiches, soups and other goodies will be sold.
The "smoke-free" evening features 30 all-paper games including two early bird games, a Nevada table, door prizes, and free coffee and tea. A $1,000 progressive jackpot is offered, which begins at $500 and increases by $100 each week until the $1,000 pot is reached or a player takes home the prize.