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From the Desk of Mayor Don Briggs

(1/13)To the people of Newtown our hearts go out. Writing this month is difficult as Lib and I have eight grand children and have attended many events at Emmitsburg Elementary and Mother Seton. From decorating trees, speaking to fourth graders, attending recitals and breakfasts, it is in those beautiful innocent faces you know that their future to a large extent will be shaped by our actions. Good and bad. From the get-go everything I want to do in office is shaped with the perspective to make Emmitsburg a better place for our children and grand children now and in the future as an inviting place to stay or come back to raise their families. Several articles ago I mentioned a per chance reading of a newspaper at an airport, which expressed that we should use our time for praise of what is good and not for carping and revolt. That is a good message. We have the choice. For our children, look for the good and pray for those who are caught up in the tumble of derogatory remarks and actions. We are performing for our children who in the future will have to make choices and are always looking for clues in our actions.

At the very moment of the shootings in Newtown, Commissioner Sweeney and I were decorating the tree in front of the Community Center with students from Emmitsburg Elementary.

Being with children was to bookend my day. From decorating, I visited the Community Center luncheon for seniors with town manager Dave Haller, then crossing the street to the blessing of Emmitsburg campus Saint Joseph’s and Seton Heritage Ministries, a wonderful event and ending the day with the performance of the Children’s Praise Choir of Emmitsburg recital at Elias Church. Started the day with children and ended the day with children the look in their faces and innocent efforts. That’s what got me through the horrific event in Newtown. This is what our community is about - children. All age groups have needs and wants, but in the end it always has to be about the children.

This year has been wonderful. So many people do so much for the community. With next summer will be the 150th anniversary of the Emmitsburg fire that swept through the east side of the town and the advance to Gettysburg of both Union and Confederate troops passing through our town. Jointly the Lions Club, the EBPA and the Daughters of Charity, henceforth Community Day will be known as Community Heritage Day.

The Square: Monday, December 3rd - the 24th annual "Evening of Christmas Spirit". After last year we wondered if it could do better and it did. The crowd was larger, the weather cooperated and we had a special guest, Santa. The evening events started with caroling by the Children’s Praise Choir of Emmitsburg led by Jennifer Joy and Mother Seton School led by Cheryl Carney and United Church of Christ choir then the lighting of the Christmas tree by Grace and Will Blanchard with Santa. Events then moved to the Carriage House for hay rides, refreshments and entertainment. Thank you to the Hance family for again hosting this wonderful evening. Commissioners Blanchard, Sweeney, O’Donnell and Joy were on hand for the evening. A Special thanks to Commissioner Joy for setting up the sound equipment in the absence of Denny Ebaugh who is out on injury reserve.

Congratulations to the Emmitsburg Ambulance Voluntary Company 26 who in December were awarded the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Associations (EBPA) Extraordinary Service Award. Thank you, job well done.

A special thank you to the EBPA who by their "Change for Food" jars spread around town have raised more than $23,000. in three years. Every year the Ambulance Company makes a sizable contribution to the effort.

To Jonathan Kane Carroll and Peter Charles Wright for earning the Eagle Scout rank the highest in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Jonathan was awarded his rank on December 8th on the FEMA campus. To qualify for this rank among other things 21 merit badges have to be earned, there has to be a clear demonstration of leadership and an extensive service project has to be completed. Congratulations!

Quietly and they thought we didn’t see them…a big thanks to Wayne Powell, Frank Schmersal and Doc Kinney for pulling together the Sandy super storm relief drive. These gentlemen and the Maryland Fire Institute shipped over 10 tons of relief good to the disaster area from the Fire and Heritage Museum.

Last year we opened the gym and now have over 200 kids regularly using it. With the New Year other opportunities will be added such as cross country and summer outdoor basketball – thank you to Dave McCarthy and his friends.

From Lib and I, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and hoping all have a wonderful holiday season.

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