Carroll volunteer firefighters elect woman to a top post for first time

She has worked in field for more than 25 years

May 28, 2002|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

For the first time in its 79-year history, the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association has elected a woman - Marianne Warehime - to a top administrative position.

As the association's second vice president, Warehime, who has worked more than 25 years in fire and rescue and administrative positions at the Manchester and Lineboro fire companies, is poised to assume the top leadership role in two years.

"She's been pretty much representing us at the county since she joined the company," said Linas Saurusaitis, a former Lineboro fire company president. "The whole company nominated her. She was the obvious choice."

Warehime, who was elected at the group's annual convention this month, does not view herself as a trailblazer. She said she is simply a member of the association with a job to do.

The association, which represents Carroll's 14 volunteer fire companies, lobbies the county for money for its program and services. Its officers lead the group in dealing with the county and handle a host of business and administrative matters.

As vice president, she said, she'll work with association President Doug Bostian.

The next two years will be "a learning process, knowing what issues may have to be followed," Warehime said. "I look at it as a positive challenge. I was elected to it, and I intend to fulfill it to the best of my ability."

Warehime, a student monitor at North Carroll High School, joins a growing number of women in leadership roles in the fire and rescue services.

"I think it's picking up all the time," said Charles "Jenks" Mattingly, president of the Maryland State Firemen's Association, naming three other female presidents in the state who head local firefighters' groups.

"The other thing I'm seeing is in individual organizations, there's more and more women moving in and being elected," he said. "A lot of rescue squads have women leaders."

Terry Thompson, second vice president of the state firemen's association, said, "I think they're becoming a very valuable asset to the fire service, and we will see more and more go into leadership roles."

Warehime, who gives her age as "over 50," became interested in the fire service through her husband, Tim, who was an active member of the Manchester fire company in the 1970s. It was a way for her to help people and provide a service to the community, she said.

While raising three children, she took classes to become a firefighter, emergency medical technician, certified advanced life-support provider, cardiac rescue technician and paramedic. She also teaches EMT and cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes.

"[I do it] because someday I might make a difference in someone's life for the positive and that might be someone who would do great things," she said.

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