RVFD hon­ors legacy of Madge Thomas

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By DUSTIN HOLT dholt@ches­pub.com

— The Ridgely Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment ded­i­cated its fire sta­tion train­ing room to the late Madge A. Thomas, a Caro­line County ed­u­ca­tor for 43 years and a lifelong res­i­dent of Ridgely.

Thomas was born Oct. 11, 1909, at home on Belle Street in Ridgely. She lived to be 105 years old be­fore her pass­ing on Feb. 24, 2015.

She be­gan teach­ing in Mary­del in 1928. Af­ter a teach­ing stint in Golds­boro, Thomas took a new first grade po­si­tion at what was then known as Ridgely High School. The Ridgely po­si­tion lasted for the next 40 years un­til she re­tired in 1973.

Dur­ing her years teach­ing in Ridgely, Thomas taught many mem­bers of the Ridgely Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment. She even lived be­tween fire­fighter Lou Hayes and cur­rent RVFD Pres­i­dent Tim Gun­der­son.

“It is our honor to ded­i­cate this room, as a train­ing room to Madge Thomas and her legacy in Ridgely,” Gun­der­son said dur­ing a July 21 cer­e­mony. “The rea­son we ded­i­cated the train­ing to her is be­cause she is an ed­u­ca­tor.

“She was a teacher her whole life,” he said. “It was re­ally im­por­tant to use, as com­mu­nity mem­bers, to ac­knowl­edge that.”

Join­ing fire de­part­ment mem­bers at the cer­e­mony were Caro­line county com­mis­sion­ers Wil­bur Le­ven­good, Larry Porter and Dan Franklin. Caro­line County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion mem­ber Louise Cheek also at­tended the cer­e­mony.

Ridgely opened its new fire sta­tion in spring of 2017, and Gun­der­son cred­ited Thomas for help­ing to get the project go­ing when she left a large sum of money in her will to the fire de­part­ment.

“When she past away, we re­ceived a very large do­na­tion from her will,” he said. “It floored us all when it came, and kick-started the build­ing project.

“It is our honor to ded­i­cate this room, as a train­ing room to Madge Thomas and her legacy in Ridgely,” he said. “May your life-long com­mit­ment to ed­u­ca­tion con­tinue to in­spire. That is why we are here.”

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

A plaque hon­or­ing the late Madge A. Thomas, a lifelong Ridgely res­i­dent sits on the wall in­side Ridgely Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment fire sta­tion train­ing room.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Ridgely Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment mem­bers stand in front of a plaque hon­or­ing the late Madge A. Thomas, a lifelong Ridgely res­i­dent.

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