Mount Airy teen-ager reigns as state fire prevention queen


July 12, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AS MOUNT AIRY Volunteer Fire Company prepares to select a new fire prevention queen, current queen Katie Ritter is busier than ever.

Katie, 16, was chosen as the state's fire prevention queen by the Maryland State Firemen's Association.

"This gives me an opportunity to get out and make a difference," said Katie. "It's my way of helping the community."

Firefighting and fire prevention are traditions in Katie's family. Her uncles are involved in firefighting. Her mother, Amy Hawthorne Fisher, was Miss Fire Prevention 1981 in Mount Airy.

"I really wasn't involved in the fire company before I became queen. I heard about the competition, sent in my application and started studying and researching fire prevention," said Katie, who will be a senior at Linganore High School in the fall.

Candidates are required to prepare a short presentation on a topic of fire prevention. At the state level, where she was one of 11 contestants, Katie spoke about residential fire sprinkler systems.

"We all made our presentations and were asked questions on our topics and then interviewed on stage," Katie said, describing the competition held June 17 in Ocean City.

As Maryland fire prevention queen, Katie will travel the state visiting fire department open houses, participating in parades and visiting schools to teach about fire prevention.

Juggling those responsibilities with her senior year in high school will be a challenge. Katie has decided to participate in Linganore High's work-study program, which will give her business experience working in her mother's publishing company while completing her studies.

"I think it will give me the flexibility to go to school, work for my mom and also complete my duties as fire prevention queen," Katie said. "I'd like to travel around the state meeting other local queens and getting them involved in more activities."

Katie would like to take classes in firefighting or emergency medical technician training. She also wants to become more involved in fund raising and hopes to study to become an architectural engineer.

On July 22, a new Mount Airy fire prevention queen will be chosen at the annual firemen's carnival.

Before the on-stage competition, candidates will be interviewed individually. They must prepare a three- to five-minute presentation on fire prevention or life safety.

The final phase of competition will be at the carnival, where each candidate will present a one-minute speech on what fire prevention means to her.

The new queen will participate in parades and be asked to visit area schools to teach children about fire prevention.

Applicants must be between ages 16 and 22, childless and live within the fire company's response area. Application packets can be picked up at Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, 702 N. Main St.

Information: 301-829-0100.

Carnival fireworks

Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department continues its 38th annual carnival with a fireworks display at dark tonight. The carnival is held at the firemen's carnival area behind the firehouse on Route 26.

Entertainment tonight will be Ashley Marie. Jay Henley and Stone Broke perform tomorrow.

Information: 410-795-1333.

Yard waste pickup

Yard trimmings, grass clippings, small tree prunings and leaves will be picked up in Mount Airy tomorrow.

Town residents are asked to place the waste in paper bags curbside by 7 a.m. tomorrow.

The town will not pick up root balls, dirt, sod, rocks and branches larger than 3 feet long or 3 inches in diameter.

Information: 301-829-1424.

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

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