(11/15) At the recent annual Thurmont
Lions Club Making a Difference Day, Shirley
Long was named Thurmont’s Volunteer of the
Year, but that award comes as no surprise to
those who know her.
Uncomfortable with the attention she is
receiving about the award, Long, 62, quickly
averts her eyes when it is mentioned. But she
recovers quickly from her bout with humility
when the subject of her most-recent project,
Thurmont’s Trolley Trail, is raised.
Long’s enthusiasm for the project helped
her work through the very time-intensive
planning, organizing and fundraising
responsibilities for the project. But the work
was also very “satisfying,” she said.
Despite those who thought the project might
not work, the Thurmont Lions Club, with Long
running the project, worked to rehabilitate an
old, approximately one-mile long trolley path
into a recreational and exercise path through
town. While the basic trolley path project is
now complete, another grant is in process that
will hopefully pay for exercise equipment
along the path.
The biggest challenge was “trying to make
sure we were getting the job done as fast as
we could, but that we were not overspending…,”
“She’s a great volunteer,” said Thurmont
Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee.
“She and the Lions grabbed this concept (of
the trolley) and they did far and above what I
thought it would be…. Shirley Long epitomizes
the voluntarism of the Thurmont Lions Club. No
job is too big for Shirley. There is no job
that can’t be accomplished.”
John Kinnaird, last year’s winner of the
Volunteer of the Year award, said Long’s
commitment to the project is like her
commitment to everything she does. “I don’t
think the Lions Club could get a better member
than Shirley. She is community minded, works
hard and does what she can to make Thurmont a
better place to live for everybody,” Kinnaird
Long was inducted into the Thurmont Lions
Club in 1994 as one of its first women members
and became president of the club in 2004, the
year the Lions celebrated their 75th
She credits her husband, Gene Long, with
getting her involved with volunteer work. Gene
has also been a significant partner in
completing the trolley project, Shirley said
of her husband. In fact, Gene has done so much
work on the path that one of the bridges will
be dedicated to him.
Of course, as with all committed
volunteers, Long volunteers whenever needed.
For the last eight years, she has worked as
treasurer of her church. Though retired from
32 years with the federal government, she
brings her considerable experience with
accounting and budget to that volunteer job.