Iconic Etching will Welcome Responders to Emmitsburg
By Chip Jewell
October 7, 2019

EMMITSBURG -- With over 150 firefighters from throughout the United States in attendance, the William Cochran glass etching was dedicated Friday evening at its new home in front of the Frederick County Fire & Rescue Museum on South Seton Avenue.

The etching “Volunteers” was officially presented to public view after nearly two years of project and fund raising efforts to provide a new home for this iconic fire service depiction. It was originally dedicated in 1989 at the Firehouse Financial Center in the old Independent Hose Co. building at 12 West Church St where the etching was on display for almost 30 years.

After Museum President Chip Jewell welcomed the crowd and gave an overview of the project to bring the etching to Emmitsburg, local dignitaries and national fire service leaders spoke to commemorate the event. Mayor Don Briggs expressed his sincere appreciation in bringing this William Cochran art to town where is will serve as a fire service welcome to the community.

County Executive Jan Gardner expressed sincere appreciation for the efforts to save the artwork for the hundreds of fire service personnel that visit Frederick County when they attend class at the National Fire Academy. Tourism Director John Fiesler echoed her comments and noted the etching will enhance the nickname of Emmitsburg as “Firetown, USA.”

Artist William Cochran was excited to see the etching again for the first time in many years and congratulated the fire museum for completing this challenging project. He was very pleased with the design to provide an excellent view of the entire artwork when entering Emmitsburg. He recalled the development and actual sittings for the initial etching.

Four members of the Independent Hose Company, who posed for the etching were in attendance, were Dewey Foreman, John Grice, Bill Horine and Chuck Handley. Bob Stevens and Chris Cochran also are featured as well as Gus, a dalmatian.

Jewell told the crowd that firefighters would keep with the tradition of responding. With that, the door went up and IHC members dressed in period uniforms pulled their 1893 hose carriage, “Romeo,” toward the lighted display. Ringing brass bells broke the silence of the windy, cool evening.

“It was just perfect. We needed to do something other than cut a ribbon. I think the response of the hose cart was fitting,” Jewell said.

National fire service leaders Chief Keith Bryant, Administrator of the United State Fire Administration and Deputy Administrator Dr. Denis Oneal congratulated the museum for this accomplishment that will continue to enhance the student experience. Dr. Oneal spoke of the historic aspects of Emmitsburg and how the historic St. Joseph’s College became home of the National Fire Academy.

Chief Ron Siarnicki, Executive Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation , spoke of the importance of this weekend to the families of the fallen heroes and how this etching will also serve to honor those that are memorialized each year.

Chief Kevin Quinn, 1st Vice Chairman of the National Volunteer Fire Council, presented an organization plaque to the museum.

Jewell noted that a number of businesses came together to assist with the project, and without them, it would not have been possible.

The Emmitsburg Glass Company played a critical role in both saving the iconic glass and the tedious installation. The initial design work was done by Dan Reaver. Ken Simmers served as the project manager. John Wantz of S&W Wantz Construction built the display.

Frederick Brick Works donated the brick and mason Todd Wilhide laid the brick. Eric Burriss of Burriss Electric of Emmitsburg provided the electrical expertise by installing the
lighting that he provided.

Financial support to build the display came from the Tourism Council of Frederick County, Frederick County Office of Economic Development, Delaplaine Foundation, Ausherman Foundation, VFIS, Steve Trout and the Town of Emmitsburg.

The etching was dedicated to all members of the fire, rescue and EMS service. Jewell said it will provide a welcome to the thousands of responders who visit the National Fire Academy annually.

--- Posted by Susie Nicol, FCVFRA secretary