History of the AGCVFRA

Organized September 15, 1912, eight companies, namely Frostburg, Mt. Savage, Chapel Hill, Cumberland Hose, Good Will- Lonaconing, Midland, Tri-Towns, and Potomac # 2, organized the Allegany County Association. Peter McFarland, Good Will Lonaconing, served as the first president and eighty-five men and women representing twenty-eight departments in the two county areas have followed in his footsteps. Four men have served the office of President more than one term: Felix Foote, Sr., of Good Will-Lonaconing served in 1921 and 1940; John Neder, Mt. Savage, served in 1925 & 1931; Walter Wittig, Frostburg, served three consecutive terms from 1934-1936; and Donald B. Ware, Baltimore Pike, served 1997 & 2003. Currently twenty-one Past Presidents remain active in the Association.

In order to strengthen and unify the voice of the firefighters of the Allegany and Garrett County areas, the two county associations, the Allegany County Association, and the Garrett County Association joined together to form the Allegany-Garrett Counties’’ Volunteer Firemen’s Association on August 14, 1930. In order to reflect the growing number of rescue squads joining the Association over the years, the Association formally changed its name to the Allegany-Garrett’ Counties Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association on June 2, 1990. Today the Association represents thirty-eight companies, twenty-six from Allegany County and twelve from Garrett County.

Eight members of the Allegany-Garrett Counties Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association have served as President of the MSFA. They include John Stump, Cumberland, in 1898; Peter McFarland, GoodWill-Lonaconing, 1908; Conrad Herpick, Cumberland, 1919; James McAlpine, GoodWill-Lonaconing, 1922; Cromwell Zembower, LaVale, 1951; David E. Kirk, Bowling Green, 1953; Robert H. Shimer, Potomac #2, 1988 and Robert E. Knippenburg, Midland, 1998. The first Secretary for the MSFA from the bi-county area came in the person of John Stump, Cumberland, in 1896, being elected during the annual convention held in Cumberland. Since then, four brother firefighters have followed, namely Harry Smith, Cumberland 1907-09; Edward Stevenson, GoodWill-Lonaconing, 1911-13; Charles Davis, Potomac #2, 1913-15 and William Weagly, Potomac #2, 1916-17. The Allegany-Garrett County region has provided eight treasurer’s for the MSFA spanning a time period almost continuously from 1909-2003. William Wilson, Midland, served the longest tenure with 30 years from 1945-75 followed by David E. Kirk, Bowling Green, from 1975-90. Robert Saville, Bowling Green, served from 1990-2001 and John Shuhart, Barton, served the Association from 2001-2003. J. Francis Fatkin, Clarysville, served a 26 year tenure on the MSFA Board of Trustees, Robert H. Shimer, Potomac #2, served eight years, including two years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Following Shimers untimely death in 2003, Robert E. Knippenburg was appointed to fill the unexpired term from 2003-04.

There are several members of the Fire and Rescue Services in Allegany and Garrett Counties that have distinguished themselves by serving the Maryland State Firemen’s Association as officers and members of committees members serving in positions, namely, Barbara Knippenburg, Midland, Volunteer Company Assistance Fund; Gunter Corrado, Mt. Savage, Safety Committee; Timothy F. Dayton, Potomac #2, MSFA Exectutive Committee, Training Committee; Jim Decker, District 16, Safety Committee; Ron Grabenstein, District 16, Allegany County Transportation Coordinator; Tim Growden, Bedford Road, Standards/NFPA Overview Committee; Gene Kidwell, GoodWill, Safety Committee;; Robert E. Knippenburg, Midland, Past President, Western Regional Coordinator for Legislative Committee, Residential Sprinkler Initiative Committee; Dave Kyle, Flintstone, Vice-chairman Sgt-At-Arms; Rodger Long, Oldtown, Safety Committee;; Gerard McGann, Mt. Savage, Safety Committee; Sharon Paugh, Kitzmiller, Basic Life Support Sub-committee; Michael S. Phillippi, Deep Creek, Garrett County Legislative Representative; Donna Struntz, Bowling Green, LAMSFA Jr. Vice President, Western Maryland Miss Fire Prevention Regional Coordinator, Safety Committee, Cancer Support Network; Calvin Walbert, Cresaptown, Chaplain and Jonathan Dayton, MSFA Social Media Coordinator, Data Systems, Cancer Support Network, Recruitment and Retention.

Of the twenty-nine departments providing the Association with its president, Baltimore Pike has had four serve; Barton, eight; Bedford Road, three; Bloomington, two; Bowling Green, three; Bowman’s Addition, two; Clarysville, two; Corriganville, three; Cresaptown, four, Cumberland (Chapel Hill/Cumberland Hose), five; Deep Creek, two; Deer Park, three; District 16, three; Ellerslie, two; Flintstone, two; Friendsville, one; Frostburg, nine; Grantsville, three; GoodWill-Lonaconing, eight; LaVale, one; Luke, one; McCoole, one; Midland, nine; Mt. Savage, three; Northern Garrett Rescue, one; Oldtown, one; Orleans, one; Potomac #2, four and Shaft, four. The Allegany-Garrett Counties Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association holds its annual convention no earlier than the last Thursday in May and no later than the second Thursday in June as not to conflict with the Maryland State Firemen’s Association convention and conference. Departments select a member to serve on the Executive Committee, which meets monthly between conventions at various stations throughout the bi-county area.

Historical Archives

Past Presidents


Patricia A. Bowser*

Northern Garrett


Janet Elbin, PP



Michael A. Simmons, PP



Donald B. Ware*

Baltimore Pike


Steven J. Kesner



Timothy F. Dayton