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Edward Harding Long helped build a business and residential community around the fledgling Patuxent River Naval Air Station after serving in World War II, and he later helmed the town government of Leonardtown, where he died last week at the age of 92.

Public service became part of Long’s life early on, shortly after he got back from serving as an Army tank gunner battling into Germany.

“His father was politically active. He was the sheriff,” Dennis Long said this week. “Dad was one of the deputies [and later] became the chief of police in Leonardtown.”

Ed Long’s parents lived in a house that stood at the intersection of Route 235 and Chancellor’s Run Road in California. He was the first of nine children, according to his obituary, and he and Agnes Gallagher Long began having nine children of their own after the war, when they moved to Leonardtown. In addition to public service, he pursued a wide variety of vocations, largely out of necessity.

“He raised nine kids in the middle of that,” Dennis Long said. “He had to provide for them.”

Each business venture helped fund the next one.

“He started with this laundry [in Leonardtown] that was kind of broken down,” his son said. “He spent many hours just trying to fix the machinery at night.”

Earnings from that business helped pay for building the A&E Motel on Great Mills Road, a project completed in phases. “He saw the need for a motel for Pax River,” his son said, and capital from the money made at the motel and the laundry led to a partnership with John Fletcher to build a bowling alley along Route 235 in Lexington Park. The next investments were in residential development, including seven rental homes built off Little Kingston Creek and another housing area off Shady Mile Drive, where Dennis Long pitched in as a carpenter’s helper.

He said his father really had no knowledge beforehand of running a motel or operating a bowling alley.

“He just saw the need, and had the desire to proceed forward,” he said, and the need to make those businesses succeed motivated Edward Long to conduct those trades, “whether he knew them or not.”

Long’s civic involvement included a lead role in raising $3 million to build a new hospital in Leonardtown, his son said, and he also entered town politics in the 1980s, elected as a town commissioner for a dozen years, including serving two years as the commissioners’ president, the equivalent at the time of being the town’s mayor.

Dan Burris, the current mayor, said Edward Long convinced him to run in 1986 for commissioner, in a three-way race for two seats that gave Burris his first taste of elected office and ousted an incumbent.

Long “was the mayor at the time. I was a family friend and had moved to town,” Burris said. “He was looking for people to get on the council, and talked me into running for commissioner. He just wanted some young blood [on the board]. He thought I would be a good pick.”

Burris said Long gave him some advice as they conducted the town’s business from a small, one-story structure along Courthouse Drive.

“The best thing Ed taught me was to do what you think is right, what’s best for the town,” Burris said.

Edward Long had the constant company of family members after he suffered a broken hip and from cancer, Dennis Long said, and he was in hospice care in his living room, and generally unable to speak, except when a grandson recently came in with a new U.S. flag to replace a tattered one outside the home.

“Dad grabbed the [new] flag and held onto it for a while,” Dennis Long said. “He started singing ‘God Bless America.’ It was very touching.”

KC Chiefs tap Dorsey for GM

St. Mary’s County native John Michael Dorsey, whose five seasons as a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers pro football team were followed by more than two decades with the team’s personnel office, is the new general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dorsey was born in Leonardtown, a son of the late Walter and Jeanne Dorsey. Walter Dorsey served as a state legislator, and many years as the county’s state’s attorney, including four successive four-year terms beginning after the 1982 election.

During a press conference this week, according to a transcript on the Chief’s website, John Dorsey, 52, was asked where his drive comes from in his career with pro football.

“It probably comes from when I was a kid, and the work ethic that my father probably instilled in me at a very young age,” Dorsey replied. “I like to wake up every morning to see if I can make a contribution, because you want to get better every day in life. And I truly believe if you can work on the little things and achieve something special every day, then you are going to get a little bit better. I like to learn, too. Not all of us have all the answers.”

Dorsey acknowledged during the press conference that he met his wife, Patricia, through a blind date while he was visiting the Kansas City area, prompting a reporter to ask if he was “just in town scouting.”

“Let’s save this for another discussion,” Dorsey replied, according to the transcript.

Enjoy spaghetti on Saturday

A spaghetti dinner will be sponsored by the Knights of Columbus St. Francis Xavier Missionary Council at 4:45 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 19, at the St. Francis Xavier Church near Compton. Free will donations will support the Father Andrew White School’s roof project. For more information, call Tom Koviak at 240-434-1464.

Dance on Jan. 25 in Chaptico

Southern Maryland Traditional Music and Dance will present a Homespun Coffee House Concert featuring Lynn Hollyfield on Friday, Jan. 25, at Christ Episcopal Church’s parish hall at 37497 Zach Fowler Road in Chaptico.

Hollyfield’s musical influences, ranging from jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to rock bands including The Beatles and Cream, helped launch her into her own songwriting, according to a release, to create a repertoire of contemporary folk, pop, blues and jazz.

Hollyfield will be accompanied in Chaptico by Dave Abe on fiddle and mandolin, and Mike Kelly on guitar and banjo. For more information on Hollyfield, go online to www.lynnhollyfield.com/.

Doors for the Jan. 25 event will open at 7 p.m, and the music will start at 7:30. Refreshments will be available. For more information and directions, go online to www.smtmd.org.

School plans Jan. 26 casino night

Little Flower School in Great Mills will hold a casino night on Saturday, Jan. 26, with doors opening at 5:45 p.m. for the games that will go on until midnight. Games will include blackjack, a big-6 wheel, pull tabs, roulette and a 50-50 raffle. Food and beverages will be available. Only cash will be accepted, and participants must be 21 or older to enter. For more information, call 301-994-0404 or send email to lfsoffice@littleflowercatholic.org.

Forum on Jan. 28 to discuss health care

The Affordable Care Act taking effect in 2014 will bring significant changes to the American health care system , including Maryland farmers and small businesses, according to the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, which will host a forum on the subject at 6 p.m. on Jan. 28 at the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative’s auditorium on Burnt Store Road in Hughesville.

To register or submit a question for the panel, call Susan McQuilkin at 301-274-1922, ext. 1, or send email to smcquilkin@smadc.com.

Maryland adopts new fire safety codes

The Maryland state fire marshal’s office reported this month that the state’s residents now are protected by the most up-to-date editions of two key safety codes, as 2012 editions of the National Fire Protection Association’s codes and standards have been adopted by Maryland’s Fire Prevention Commission as part of an overall revision of the state’s fire prevention code.

Effective in Maryland this month, the fire marshal’s office reports, the updated national codes are widely used across the country to protect people and property in new and existing buildings. The national association’s Life Safety Code, used in all 50 states, mandates building design construction, operation, and maintenance requirements to protect building occupants from the dangers caused by fire, smoke and toxic fumes. The latest edition of the national codes provides requirements necessary to establish a reasonable level of fire safety and property protection from hazards created by fire and explosion.

State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard said through a statement that the latest editions of the widely used codes will allow the state agency to provide the highest level of protection for the people of Maryland.

Code enforcers in Maryland participated in a training program that covers the code’s requirements and ways it can be best utilized, according to the fire marshal’s office. The national association made the training and the associated codebooks available free to the government code enforcement officials in the state. Free training and codebooks helped to reduce costs for Maryland taxpayers, and the training ensured that code enforcers have the latest reference materials.

Sotterley to host Feb. 9 tours

Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood will continue this year’s 2nd Saturday Series with tours at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 on the topic of “Slavery, Resistance, and Freedom,” a program exploring slavery’s part of Sotterley’s history from the turn of the 18th century, and lasting more than 160 years. Advance reservations are required. Purchase tickets online at www.sotterley.org. The snow date will be Feb. 25.

Dinner auction set for Feb. 23

Little Flower School in Great Mills will hold its annual benefit auction on Saturday, Feb. 23, beginning with a buffet style dinner. Dan Raley will be the auctioneer, and the event also will include a drawing for a two-carat oval tanzanite ring, set in white and yellow gold, with a retail value of $8,000. Reserve tables by calling 301-994-0404 or sending email to lfs7@littleflowercatholic.org. Updates can be found online at www.lfsauction.webs.com/ and www.facebook.com/littleflowercatholic.

Rotary accepting grant applications

The Leonardtown Rotary Club is accepting grant applications from St. Mary’s non-profit programs and public services agencies, and the deadline for the applications during this award period is March 1.

Awards will be announced in April, as the club continues its practice of a key element of “service above self” by providing grant funds to local agencies and programs in the county that provide humanitarian services to its citizens. The competitive grant process leads to awards typically ranging between $250 and $500, depending on the need expressed in the application and funding availability.

Applications are available on the Leonardtown Rotary website, at www.leonardtownrotary.org, or by sending email to Kathleen Reif, grants program chair, at kreif@stmalib.org.

Scholarship applications sought

Del. John Bohanan (D-St. Mary’s) is seeking applicants for Maryland Delegate Scholarship awards for the 2013-2014 school year.

Successful applicants must be pursuing an academic program beyond high school and either attend or plan to enter a Maryland college or university in the fall. Full- or part-time students may qualify for the awards. Applicants must be a resident of District 29B, and information on legislative district boundaries is available online at mdelect.net or by calling St. Mary’s Board of Elections at 301-475-7844, ext. 1610.

Prior to submitting the scholarship application, the Federal Form for Financial Aid (FAFSA) must be completed. Apply for FAFSA online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

To apply for a scholarship, submit a completed application with a short letter stating why the applicant should receive a scholarship, career goals, any special circumstances and a copy of the completed FAFSA application. The scholarship application deadline is Tuesday, April 30.

To request an application, contact Bohanan’s district office by sending email to john.bohanan.district@house.state.md.us or by calling 301-866-4000.

jwharton@somdnews.com