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Left to right - Top- George Finzel, James Warner, Charles Baker, Roy E. Crowe.
Seated-- Edward G. Baker, Captain, Fred M. McKenzie

Our committee would like to thank Fred McKenzie of Frostburg for providing the picture of the 1927 International First Aid Champions. His father, Fred M. McKenzie, is the man sitting on the right.

"Frostburg, Md., Aug. 24,-- Maryland's champion First Aid team recently awarded the first prize, a silver loving cup, presented by Govenor Albert C. Ritchie at Maryland First Aid meet, will leave next month for Kansas City, Mo., to compete with ?00 [cut off] teams from every section of the globe[?] in the International First Aide meet [?]. In the meet here early this month the team achieved new laurels by winning over twenty-five other teams from Maryland with a grading of 97.8 per cent. At a meet in Pittsburgh two years ago they won fourth prize and became the Maryland champions. Thus far they have held the title.

Of interest is the fact each member of the team resides in Finzel, a little hamlet of not more than twenty houses, several miles from here. Hours of practice before each meet and constant study in new methods is largely responsible for their achievement. They are employed in the fire clay mine of the Union Mining Company of the Mt. Savage Fire Brick Company, Mt. Savage. They go to Kansas City fully determined to take first honors. They...... accompanied by Maxwell....... chief engineer of the Union Company.

The International meet wil ....... ilar to any First Aid meet.....volves the principles of resc[ue] in the mines. treating on.....tion, bandaging and placing o.....The team brought the first ......tional banner to Maryland in........."[edge of page cut off].

(Courtesy of Fred McKenzie & Polla Horn/transcribed by Genie)


Miner Recollections

by Polla Horn for The Frostburg Express

Fire Clay Miners: Adam Werner & John McKenzie

Coal mining and fire clay mining were both extremely hazardous occupations. During the nineteenth century, and well into the twentieth, mine accidents were commonplace. Coal operators, bitterly opposed to unions and fearful of expensive safety regulations, stood in the way of meaningful reforms. However, both locally and nationally, coal companies encouraged participation in safety and first aid training, which included teaching the principles of rescue, resuscitation, bandaging and splinting. Companies began competing with each other, and in 1911, a National First Aid Meet was held in Pittsburgh, PA. It was the beginning of an annual tradition. Prizes ranged from gold watches and cuff links to fire extinguishers, first aid charts, and instruction books. In 1927, a small group of men from Finzel, MD, employed in the fire clay mine of the Union Mining Company of the Mt. Savage Fire Brick Company, brought the first international banner home to Maryland.

Although the promotion of effective first aid techniques was truly admirable, only the establishment and enforcement of safety regulations would have aided in the prevention of two accidents in the Union Fire Clay Mine. Adam Werner was the son of Frederick and Barbara Emma (Deist) Werner. He married Annie Layton on October 26, 1882. They were the parents of three children: Thomas, Grace, and Laura. Adam and Annie’s son Thomas died on January 11, 1901, at the age of 22, after being accidently shot in the neck. In June, 1914, Adam, age 52, was employed as a fire clay miner and lived in Finzel. He was injured by a fall of top rock in the No. 2 heading of the Union Fire Clay Mine, operated by the Union Mining Company. Engaged in timbering the main heading when the large piece of rock fell, he was crushed in such a way that he died one day later on June 17, 1914.

A second accident in the Union Fire Clay Mine occurred 4.5 years later on December 13, 1918. John McKenzie, a rope rider on the plane, was standing on the mine heading waiting to give the signal to the hoist-man to stop the trip. A car jumped on the switch, knocking out the ring bar, which let down rock that struck John, killing him instantly. He was 18 years old. John was buried in Greenville Cemetery in Somerset County, PA. His obituary states that he was a young man of good habits and had many friends. John’s parents, George and Ellen McKenzie, mourned the death of their son John. At the same time, they prayed for another son, Delbert, who was fighting on the WW I battlefields of France. George and Ellen were also the parents of Margaret, Leora, Dallas, and DeSales.

In 1922, a regional coal company declared that each and every employee of the company would be given the opportunity to learn first aid. Nearly 1000 employees took advantage of the classes. After three and a half years, 800 men, working 43 mines, produced 2,200,000 tons of coal without a single fatal accident. Mine safety was gradually improving. Those who were injured could be attended to by fellow workers who valued their first aid training.


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