Volunteer, 75, nominated for state award

Nominee: An longtime artisan at Carroll County Farm Museum is among 22 residents honored by the county for their good deeds.

October 04, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Michael "Bud" Leister saw his name yesterday on the program listing nominees for the Maryland's Most Beautiful People volunteer awards. After listening to organizers detail the good deeds of 21 other Carroll residents, he wondered whether he had been forgotten.

But no one forgot the 75-year-old Millers resident, a volunteer for more than 20 years at Carroll County Farm Museum. They saved Leister for last, naming him Carroll's representative to the annual state event honoring those who give of themselves. Leister hopes to travel to Annapolis for the ceremony Nov. 14 at St. John's College.

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge, who presented the award to Leister, called the museum's reception barn the most appropriate place to honor him. Leister, who has mastered the art of blacksmithing, has restored many of the accoutrements in the barn. He also has demonstrated antique crafts to thousands of museum visitors, particularly children.

Leister thanked the founders of the farm museum when he accepted his award.

"They had a wonderful idea for preserving what we have for our grandchildren and great-grandchildren," he said.

Leister, who remembers the old blacksmith shops in Millers from his childhood, wanted to pass the skill on. When his health began to fail and he could no longer tolerate the forge's heat, he taught himself a new skill: whitesmithing, or working with tin. His tin shop is set up at the museum with much of his handwork on display, including a replica of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, complete with a heart painted on its chest.

"You can take its oil can cap off," he said.

Until a recent bout of ill health, Leister would work at his craft in the immaculately maintained shop every day, laying out sheets of tin and fashioning them into lanterns and sconces like those that hung in the barn yesterday. He was also featured in last month's edition of Southern Living magazine.

Dottie Freeman, museum director, said, "We would be lost without our volunteers. They are integral to every organization."

Jolene Sullivan, director of Carroll's Department of Citizen Services, congratulated the nominees, saying, "Every one of you are Carroll County's most beautiful people."

Gouge added, "You have all done wonderful things and made our county better. I can't imagine what it would cost if we had had to pay for all those volunteer hours."

Other nominees are Roy Babylon, Sue Bond, Barbara Brown, Susan E. Bundy, Emily Chamelin, Doris Comings, Emma DiMaio, Mildred Doehrer, the Rev. Frederick Eckhardt, Karen Feroli, Robert E. Forrest, Robert Galandak, Donna Geiman, Don Hohne, Martha and Richard Hyson, Jeanne Lippy, George Murphy, Edith Pfoutz, Mary Sanders and Joshua Stewart.

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