Mount Airy leaders plan patriotic rally


October 05, 2001|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

MORE THAN 2,000 people are expected to attend the God Bless America Rally at Mount Airy Firemen's Carnival Grounds at 7 p.m. Sunday.

"We wanted to plan a gathering to honor the people who perished [in the terrorist attacks] on Sept. 11," said Mount Airy Mayor Gerald Johnson. "We don't see this as closure as much as a way to help people move on, to bring unity to the community."

Speakers at the candlelight service will include Republican Reps. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who represents Carroll and Frederick counties and Western Maryland, and Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who represents Harford County and parts of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties; Republican state Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson, whose district includes Carroll and Frederick counties; and Col. Richard Schnell, former commander of the Maryland National Guard.

The rally will begin with a color guard made up of members of Mount Airy Civil Air Patrol. Local residents will lead patriotic songs and several local ministers will speak.

Participants are asked to take candles to light in memory of those lost in the terrorist attacks.

Festival on the Ridge

Mount Airy's annual celebration of fall, Festival on the Ridge, will take on patriotic overtones because of the terrorist attacks. The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A color guard will open the festival tomorrow. Local ministers will speak and give the invocation. Patriotic music will be performed on the main stage at noon and 3 p.m. both days.

Cub Scout Pack 1191 will accept donations for disaster relief workers. Mount Airy will donate all proceeds from the festival to a scholarship fund it has established for the families of two local residents killed in the terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

Free hayrides will be offered each day, as well as free shuttle bus service from the carnival grounds to the festival.

Area bands including Emergency Exit, Chesapeake Pickers, Chromatics and Caballeros will perform on the main stage.

Support for military families

Two local veterans organizations have announced programs to help military personnel and their families as the United States continues a military buildup in response to the terrorist attacks.

Mount Airy American Legion Post 191 has announced a national Family Support Network Hotline to help the families of activated military and reservists cope with day-to-day problems. The hot line was established during the Persian Gulf war and was re-established after the attacks Sept. 11.

"The American Legion knows what it's like back there at home and we want to give positive reinforcement and support to the families of military personnel," said Lee Harvey, Family Support Network coordinator.

The Family Support Network Hotline number is 800-504-4098.

Keeping military personnel in touch with their loved ones is Operation Uplink, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Mount Airy Local Chapter 10076 has announced the program, which provides free calling cards to active-duty service members.

The calling cards can be used in this country, overseas and aboard military ships. The VFW has provided many cards to military workers deployed to New York after the attacks.

Cards can be requested by writing to Bill Self, VFW Post 10076, P.O. Box 13, Mount Airy 21771-0013. Include full military address, local address and phone number.


Local residents continue to raise money for disaster relief efforts. Mount Airy ballet instructor Fiona Ellwood-Chaconas is organizing a danceathon.

"I can dance, I can teach, and this is a way I can help," she said.

The danceathon is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at Health Unlimited, 103 Century Drive, Mount Airy.

Ellwood-Chaconas is a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and will teach creative movement and jazz. Danceathon participants will be divided into classes by age. The cost is $5. Proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Information: 301-829-4244.

Coin donations

Two Mount Airy elementary schools have raised thousands of dollars for the American Red Cross.

Twin Ridge Elementary School pupils are collecting donations in a "loose change drive." Children have brought in nearly $1,500.

At Mount Airy Elementary School, pupils have filled a fireman's boot many times to raise more than $2,100 for disaster relief efforts.

Lesa Jansen's Southwest neighborhood column appears each Friday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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