While perusing his 100th birthday cards this week, Oscar Baker came across an intriguing quote from one sender: “I’m a firm believer that if you keep moving and keep working on the computer your mind and body will last a lot longer … you can’t expect to last long if you sit still.”
Jerry Baker, 71, says his dad has embodied this statement over the years through his military service, volunteer work, and lifelong commitment to serving the Town of Mount Airy.
From 1943 to 1945, Oscar Baker served with the Army in World War II. His service ended when he was injured during the Battle of the Bulge. After rehab, he returned to Maryland.
Oscar, a lifetime Mount Airy resident and 1939 graduate of Mount Airy High School, also served as the town’s fire company president from 1952 to 1955 and was recognized for his outstanding service in 2002 at the annual Maryland State Firemen’s Association convention, winning the Gladhill-Thompson Award. MSFA named its annual Rookie of the Year award after Oscar and on June 30 of that year, the new fire house was dedicated in his honor.
He is as an 80-year member of the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company, a 67-year member of Calvary United Methodist Church, and past president of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association.
“He would also always pick up a part-time job occasionally. He did a little car salesman work for local dealerships,” Jerry said.
Friday marked Oscar’s 100th birthday, which was held at Lorien Mt. Airy, an assisted living facility on Midway Avenue. He celebrated the milestone with a party of about 60 people including family, friends, and Mount Airy Mayor Lawrence G. Hushour.
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A party was held in his honor as part of a “We Honor Veterans” program for patients of Gilchrist, a nonprofit provider of serious illness and end-of-life care. The program is designed to thank veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service to our country, according to Gilchrist’s website.
“It just means a lot to still have him around and see how much the community appreciates him because he’s done a lot for Mount Airy,” said Jerry Baker, adding that his father has never lived more than 5 or 6 miles from town.
Other notable achievements, Jerry Baker said, include inductions into the MSFA Hall of Fame, Mount Airy Hall of Fame, Maryland Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, and the Carroll County Fireman Hall of Fame.
Ricky Baker‚ 63, a nephew of Baker’s who is a member of the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association Hall of Fame, praised his great-uncle’s achievements.
“By the time that I started participating in the fire department, he was a leader of the state and county organizations. He helped make policy and make things better for the volunteers throughout Carroll County, as well as the through the state,” Ricky Baker said. “He has been a mentor and teacher for many, many people and is just extremely well thought of during his time in those leadership positions.”
Jerry marveled at is dad’s achievements and his 100-year milestone.
“He has made it a tough finish line to get to now,” Jerry said, with a laugh.
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Source: American Military News