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