A DOZEN Mount Airy veterans are working with select veterans nationwide to promote Americanism while keeping the World War I traditions of the Forty & Eight.
William Blatchley, Arthur Brett, Robert Callahan, Robert Dors, Philip Dorsey, Richard Hamilton, Douglas Henley, William Holley, Samuel Jewell, Charles Levy and Andrew Mason are members of Locale 155, a Forty & Eight unit with members in Carroll and Frederick counties.
The Forty & Eight is an independent, fraternal veterans' organization named for the French railroad freight cars of the World War I era. It was started in Philadelphia in 1920 as the honor society of the American Legion. With membership by invitation only, the group recognizes superior devotion and service of American Legion members.
Locale 155 has a long history and is one of four Voiture Locales (local boxcars) that had been chartered before Maryland's Department Charter of the Forty & Eight in 1922. Mr. Brett estimated 1,013 of Maryland's 84,000 Legionnaires belong to the Forty & Eight.
All members, who are called Voyageurs Militaire (military travelers), wear the chapeaux (hats) of the French railroad workers of the World War I era. Like the society's officer positions, divisions and activities, its full name -- La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux -- is in French.
It refers to the small capacity of railroad cars in France during World War I that were used to transport either 40 men or eight horses. The plight of veterans returning home more than 70 years ago was compared to the misery of military travelers transported in these small boxcars.
The Forty & Eight has staunchly advocated Americanism and veterans' rights through the years.
This spirit has broadened to promote child welfare, training for nurses and the AAU (American Athletic Union) Junior Olympics. The organization also provides the majority of the funding for the Carville Star, an international patient publication on leprosy produced by the National Hansen's Disease Center.
On Tuesday, Maryland's Grand Chef de Gare (state commander) Frank Marino will visit Mount Airy for a Locale 155 meeting. Sykesville resident Bruce LaPlant will be one Prisonnier de Guerre (new recruit) of two scheduled to be installed that evening.
The elected officers of Locale 155 serve under Chef de Gare (commander) Sam Jewell. Phil Dorsey serves as Chef de Train (assistant commander), with Godfrey Miller of Taneytown Post 120.
Other area elected officers include: Bill Holley, Garde de la Porte (Sergeant at Arms); Ron Harshman, Commis Voyageur (property man) -- Thurmont Post 168; John Naurot, Cheminot Locale (local executive committeeman) -- Sykesville Post 223; and Stanley King, Grand Cheminot (state committeeman) -- Taneytown Post 120.
"We're a fun-loving organization which also has goals in its program to take care of," Mr. Jewell said.
Locale 155 has 132 members, making it the second largest Locale in Maryland. Mr. Jewell said it is unique in the state because it does not meet at the same place each month. Meetings are held at various American Legion Posts in Frederick and Carroll counties and at Camp WestMar, a Legion camp in Western Maryland that was created for disadvantaged youths.
Cleanup Oct. 14
Oops! Mount Airy Jaycees Fall Clean Up will be held Oct. 14, not tomorrow, as mentioned in last week's column.
Town residents are invited to dispose of unwanted trash at Mount Airy Jaycees Fall Clean Up from 8 a.m. to noon the second Saturday in October at the Municipal Parking Lot on Park Avenue. Proof of residency in the form of a town water bill is required.
The group also is offering its services to pick up and haul away town residents' bulk trash for a $10 to $20 donation. All proceeds will go to Mount Airy Recycling Commission. Call Adam or Rebecca Linn at (301) 829-5257 to schedule a pickup.
At the cleanup, Jaycees also will accept bicycles in any condition that will be repaired and donated to Carroll County's Neighbors in Need for its Christmas program.
Area residents are reminded that they may be able to turn their unwanted goods into "gold" at Mount Airy Jaycees Fall Yard Sale from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Firemen's Carnival Grounds at Route 27 and Twin Arch Road.
The flea market features free admission and parking. To rent space, call (301) 831-9765 (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or (301) 829-0651 (4 p.m. to 10 p.m.).
For more information, call Maija Kropp at (301) 829-2512.
Give the gift of life
The American Red Cross Bloodmobile will visit the Mount Airy Firemen's Activity Building at Twin Arch Road and Route 27 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.
Prospective donors should make appointments by calling Chairwoman Mary Jo Burkett at (301) 829-2822 or (301) 829-2211. Walk-in donors are also welcome.
Kathy Sutphin's Southwest Carroll neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.