Breslin_Lisa_EditorsThis issue of Carroll Magazine, like so many others, reminds readers that Carroll County is filled with unsung heroes, visionaries, entrepreneurs, and remarkable young adults.

The art, music and theatre scene is rich and edgy, and it’s garnering national attention.

It is always our honor to shine the light on the leaders and the dedicated teams needed to create and sustain the county that we know and love.

Kym Liddick Byrnes’ story about firefighters also reminds us that greatness can ride on the back of volunteers or poorly paid personnel for only so long. While the focus of this story is about the fire companies in the county, how much they achieve and their heroes (heralded and unsung), concerns permeate the piece.

Carroll County fire departments, like fire departments around the country, are struggling to keep up with increased demands as funding decreases and the number of volunteer and paid firefighters decrease as well.

According to 2014 statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 69 percent of firefighters (approximately 1,134,400) in the United States are volunteers.

The number of volunteer firefighters continues to drop, due in part to the fact that, for the first time in 28 years, the majority of volunteer firefighters in the U.S. are over the age of 50, according to a firefighter profile released by the NFPA.

Sadly, many of the people who make Carroll County great – firefighters/EMS, teachers, government program workers – are going to surrounding jurisdictions to work because the pay and benefits in Carroll County haven’t kept up with surrounding counties.

Westminster Fire Company records reveal that it lost 12 quality paid firefighter/EMS folks last year to other counties that pay better and offer better benefits. I suspect that a similar exodus exists for teachers as well.

My family moved to Carroll County more than 20 years ago because we knew it had that rare charm of true (and safe) communities, a strong school system (and feeder colleges), and a healthy arts scene.

When I know taxes are well-invested, I’m willing to pay more to ensure the county, especially its schools, emergency services, infrastructure and cultural climate, remain strong.

It’s a new year. It’s also a good time to confirm priorities and let elected officials know how you hope they will invest your tax dollars. It’s also a good time to make a donation to a local nonprofit that might need help filling the growing gap between county and municipal funds and yearly expenses.

Person of the Year

Feedback, positive and negative, about Carroll Magazine’s Person of the Year made it clear that our readers would appreciate the following information:

Carroll Magazine welcomes nominees for Person of the Year from anyone.

Ideally, a Person of the Year is someone whose time and talents have lifted up, or protected, the community (especially individuals who cannot advocate for themselves).

The Person of the Year is someone who is keenly and accurately aware of the county’s future and whose actions reveal that awareness. Economics, the environment, education, spirituality are some areas a Person of the Year strives to improve.

A Person of the Year is a leader – in the community, in the state, in the nation and/or beyond. His or her impact during the calendar year moves him or her to the forefront.

Do you know someone we should consider? Great!

Send his or her full name and a few sentences about your nominee to: