Lo­cal ed­u­ca­tor, busi­ness owner hon­ored

Sunday Star - - FRONT PAGE - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

EAS­TON — Long­time ed­u­ca­tor, busi­ness­woman and Tal­bot County na­tive Char­lene Cald­well DeShields has been ex­celling at two jobs for a long time.

So has her cousin Ricky Cald­well and his as­so­ciate Leroy Pot­ter. That’s the way they were raised, and their her­itage of in­dus­tri­ous­ness and ser­vice to Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools and to the wider com­mu­nity at­tracted the no­tice of Mary­land Comptroller Peter Fran­chot, who rec­og­nized them for their con­tri­bu­tions on Thurs­day, April 19.

DeShields is the owner of the 83-year-old Cald­well Shoe Re­pair at 15 N. West St. in Eas­ton, a shop she in­her­ited from her fa­ther upon his pass­ing in 1997. She also teaches first grade at Eas­ton Ele­men­tar y School — Dob­son.

Fran­chot thanked DeShields, Pot­ter and Cald­well “on be­half of grate­ful Mary­lan­ders” for their work in pro­vid­ing ex­cep­tional cus­tomer ser­vice at the “his­toric, mi­nor­ity-owned busi­ness.”

He also hon­ored them for their ser vice to the stu­dents of Tal­bot County.

“We couldn’t be prouder of you, and we thank you very much for ever ything you do to strengthen the com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly the kids,” Fran­chot said.

Fran­chot rec­og­nized DeShields with a sec­ond cer­tifi­cate of recog­ni­tion from the state, this one for her “41 years of teach­ing and ad­vo­cat­ing for the needs of the chil­dren of Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools ... with my deep­est ap­pre­ci­a­tion for your pas­sion, your en­ergy, your ded­i­ca­tion — as well as your un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment.”

“And that doesn’t mean you’re re­tir­ing, OK?” said Tal­bot County Pub­lic Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Kelly Grif­fith, who stopped by the shop where she also is a cus­tomer.

“I want to stay and see the new school,” DeShields said.

“Teach­ing is my love and my life,” she said. “My boys and girls are my love and my life. Each and ev­ery day, I love it, I live it. My 41 years of ser­vice has been a jewel.

“And serv­ing the com­mu­nity (as a busi­ness owner) is also part of me, and I just want to thank you all so much. My fa­ther and mother, I’m sure, and Ricky’s fa­ther, Un­cle Stan­ley — we are so hum­bled to serve, and so happy.”

“We don’t have many mi­nor­ity busi­nesses here in town, and this is some­thing we’re try­ing to hold on to and to con­tinue the legacy,” DeShields said. “We know that ev­ery­body can go to Wal­mart and Tar­get (and) get a new pair of shoes, but with­out Leroy and Ricky and the ser­vices they give to the com­mu­nity — it does take a vil­lage to raise a child, and it takes a vil­lage to keep in our com­mu­nity. God bless you. Thank you so much for this.”

DeShields left her class­room on Glen­wood Av­enue to run over to the shop a few blocks away for Fran­chot’s sur­prise visit at 2 p.m. “My su­per­in­ten­dent and my prin­ci­pal made me come,” she said. Al­though she was in the mid­dle of a les­son, she said, “I would do any­thing for (them).”

“I didn’t know it was this big,” DeShields said. “I just got an email say­ing to come and visit the shoe shop.”

“I should have brought my whole class up here,” she said.

DeShields said she has “no idea how to re­pair shoes.” That’s the job of Cald­well and Pot­ter, who be­gan work­ing to­gether at the shop after school nearly 50 years ago.

Pot­ter was in charge of main­te­nance at Eas­ton Ele­men­tary School for more than 40 years, re­tir­ing in 2012. “I’ve worked two jobs all my life,” Pot­ter said. He said his par­ents taught him, “If you want any­thing, you have to work for it.”

Cald­well drove a school bus and re­tired from TCPS in 2009. He’s worked part time for Henry Fu­neral Home in Cam­bridge for 17 years. His daugh­ter Lynne Cald­well has worked in the comptroller’s of­fice in com­pli­ance for 15 years.

Lo­cal lead­ers showed up for the oc­ca­sion, in­clud­ing long­time cus­tomers Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B-Tal­bot, Tal­bot County Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Jen­nifer Wil­liams, and Eas­ton Town Coun­cil­man and Tal­bot County Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent and CEO Al Sil­ver­stein.

John Win­grove, com­mu­nity li­ai­son for U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, R-Md.-1st, also brought greet­ings and ap­pre­ci­a­tion from Har­ris.

In the midst of the Great De­pres­sion, Stan­ley Cald­well in­vested $100 earned on his fa­ther’s farm, and $50 bor­rowed from a friend, to es­tab­lish the shop in its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion on Dover Street where the Tal­bot County Free Li­brary is now. Cald­well was one of 14 chil­dren who grew up on a farm in McDaniel, near Til­gh­man.

Stan­ley and his brother Charles moved the shop to its present lo­ca­tion in the 1960s.Fol­low

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

Char­lene Cald­well DeShields wel­comes Mary­land Comptroller Peter Fran­chot to Cald­well Shoe Re­pair shop in Eas­ton on April 19.

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