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Chief Gunners Mate Thomas W. Humerick

James Houck

Emmitsburg received a new resident, shortly after June 13, 1945, the date Tom Humerick was born at Annie M. Warner Hospital Gettysburg Pa. Tom was brought home by his father John G. (Jack) Humerick and mother Eleanor (Mingle) Humerick. Tom's grandfather had taken his family and moved from Emmitsburg in the late 1800's to Altoona Pa. to build train cars for the Pennsylvania Railroad because there was no work in the Emmitsburg area at that time.

Toms grandfather moved back to Emmitsburg and worked at what everyone in the area refers to as the "Tunnel". John graduated from high school in Altoona and got married very soon there after moved to Baltimore Md. and worked as a salesman. He moved back to Emmitsburg in 1942 with his wife and Toms older brother Michael who was born in 1941.

Tommy, as he was called by people in the Emmitsburg who knew him, had a great childhood growing up around town. One of Toms first memories was of he and his brother Mike going along with their father who sold Fuller Brushes to make a sales call in Brunswick Md. and his dad dropping them off on a hill overlooking the trains and the roundtable and being fascinated the entire time and on the way home they would stop at Mays Ice Cream in Middletown Md. and get a cone and what a treat that was to a kid on a hot day.

Jack also worked part time for Clarence Frailey at the grocery store and Tom remembers a funny little thing that happened to his dad while making a delivery. Mr. Frailey had an old silver panel truck to make deliveries in and Jack was making a delivery on Annandale Rd. and the seats being worn popped a spring through and it got caught in the seat of his trousers and he couldn't get out of the seat so he had to remove his trousers to get loose and being on the side of the road he was really rushing to get out of and back into his trousers.

Happening fifty five or sixty years ago Tom is amazed at how clear the memory is to him and still laughs . He remembers when the first wall with names of local WWII Veterans was erected in front of American Legion Post 121. The wall was built in the 1950's and he passed it every day while it was being built on his way to and from school. Tommy went to St. Euphemia's and Mother Seton Schools through eighth grade and Emmitsburg High School nine through twelve.

Tom was the neighborhood postman because when he got out of school in the afternoon he would stop at the post office and hold his hands out and he would be presented with all his neighbors mail and then he would distribute it.. Tommy especially liked to pick the mail up on Saturday because one of his neighbors, Mrs. Hoke would be baking dinner rolls and sticky buns and he was always rewarded for delivering her mail. Tom like most kids in the Emmitsburg area picked cherries when they were in season and recalls the fun of working in the orchards for I. Z. Mussleman at Ortanna Pa. where his brother Mike being four years his senior made him pick the tops while Mike picked the bottoms and guess who made the most money that's right it wasn't Tommy.

Tom also worked for Ed Meadows at his farm baling hay in the summer. Mr. Everett Chrismer a WWII Navy Veteran worked at the post office and he was one of Tommy's childhood heroes . When Tom was fourteen years old he knew that some day he was going to be a Chief because that was all he wanted since he met Mr. Chrismer.. Tom truly loves Emmitsburg because he has been all over the world and when someone asks him why always returns to Emmitsburg he tells them because it is clean and green you have four seasons and you have the mountains and rivers we have some of the best museums in the world and are an hour to an hour and a half away also the ocean is a few hours to the east so we have it all.

Tom graduated in June of 1963 and the day after graduation he went to Fort Holibird at Baltimore Md. to join the navy and the agreement he had with the recruiter (because Tom was fascinate with history from an early age)was to hold off until July 22 1963 because tom wanted to be here for the 100th anniversary of the Gettysburg battle. Tom took his very first flight in an airplane. He left Friendship Airport (now BWI) and landed in O’Hara in Chicago Ill. and a bus took him to boot camp. Tom said it was all down hill from there and an experience. He served on many ships and the first one was a destroyer ship. Tom was in for the long haul and received many Medals including the Purple Heart for being hit by shrapnel.

On July 31, 1985 twenty two years later Tom retired from the Navy. Tom said he has not had one regret for joining the Navy. He said he met so many good people and made so many good connections and still does.

Tom is a traveler and has been in many countries, and since returning from service, has taken lots of motorcycle trips all over the U.S. but always returns to Emmitsburg. Tom has two children Jillian and Tom Jr. and three grand children Aston , Charisa and Tom III. Tom's first Motorcycle trip after returning home was with his son Tom Jr. and they went up through New England over into Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and stopped at Halifax and back down into Maine and visited cousins while there and went to Lake Placid for a motorcycle rally where Willie Nelson was the entertainment and he was amazed at how much his son enjoyed listening to Willie because his sons type of music was rock. They left there and returned to Maryland and then Tom went to California to his cousins wedding then to Yosemite National Park and Death Valley and Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon then up to the Great Salt lakes then Montana and Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore then the Black Hills and the Badlands on his motorcycle.

Tom is going over to Brussels Belgium June 15th with his daughter and granddaughter for the reenactment of the 295th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and stay about a week or so with them and they are coming back to the states and Tom is going over to Holland and Germany and visit with a friend of his that was in the German Navy. Tom hasn't seen him since the seventies and wants to spend some time with him and his family. Tom met some good people in the service.

Tom worked a couple of odd jobs like bartender at the Ott House but has been living mainly on his retirement. He is really into Civil War reenactments and makes all his own uniforms and accessaries. Tom was in the motion picture Gettysburg in several scenes as a matter of fact he can be seen in blue and grey coming over fences in the same scenes because of the way the film was edited. He plays any role that is open for the reenactments. Tom goes all over the country to reenactments including Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia.

Tom also volunteers at Harpers Ferry West Virginia, and if you would like to interact with the Tom and players the best time will be the middle of October for 1860 election days and the best day to be there is Saturday because this year will be 150 years since election days and there will some good times including John Browns Raid.

Tom said everyone is up in arms because this is happening on an election year and the states are talking about succeeding everyone will be in period clothing and visitors will get to interact with the players. Militia will be there and Marines and Regular Army and Irish acting like railroad workers, canal workers, locals and farmers and temperence society trying to shut down the taverns and this will take place in the whole down town area. There will also be a parade.

Tom also does WWI reenactments at Newville Pa. where they have about 150 acres with trenches and bunkers and barbed wire and machine gun nests and shell craters. They do central powers and allies and people come from Russia and Australia and New Zealand and British and from all over. Some do not speak English but they can communicate. They have two big events a year one in the spring and one in the fall. They even use vintage planes and drop flour instead of bombs.

Tom has been a member of the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company for fifteen years and is fairly active as a member helping at bingo and keeps his certifications up to date.

The next time you see Tom, stop and say hi and shake his hand and he will take time to engage you in conversation no matter how busy he is and believe me he is a very active and busy man. He not only travels and reenacts but he lives alone and keeps his house up and he recently bought his parents house, they both passed away three years ago, and is going to remodel it and rent it out. Tom still has his first motorcycle a 1955 Triumph and I'll bet you some day you will hear of him restoring it and starting it up and going on one of his long rides.

I have had the pleasure of talking to one of the most polite, busiest and intelligent people living in Emmitsburg and I knew his whole family and it really saddens me Tom's two sisters have passed away and his parents have also passed. Tom and Mike survive yet and I hope to talk to Mike soon because I am sure he will have interesting stories for me because he is retired from the Air Force and has been a guide in Alaska for a long time. I plan to catch him when he comes home for white tail season.

Thomas W. Humerick a veteran and great Emmitsburgian.