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Maryland State Lodge – The Beginning
by Earl Kratsch
Maryland State Treasurer

On November 8, 1967, in the clubhouse of Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88 in Hagerstown, the Maryland State Lodge was formed. To form a State Lodge, there must be three (3) Local Lodges in existence. There were four (4) Local Lodges in Maryland at that time. They were Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88 of Hagerstown, Prince George’s County Lodge #89 and Baltimore City Lodge #3. Also in existence at that time, but not present at the meeting was Fort Cumberland Lodge #90.National FOP President John Harrington presided over this organizational meeting. Harrington explained the advantages of forming a State Lodge. He pointed out what a unified police fraternal organization could do. “The stronger you are, the more united, the more you will get done “, Harrington said.

He wanted to appoint one of the existing local lodge presidents to the office of ‘temporary president’ of the newly formed Maryland State Lodge. President Richard Simmons of Baltimore City Lodge #3 declined.

National President Harrington then declared that he would have a coin-toss between the remaining two local lodge Presidents. President William Giffin of Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88 and President Oral Husk of Prince George’s County Lodge #89. The coin was tossed by National President Harrington and President Oral Husk won the toss becoming the temporary President of the Maryland State Lodge.

Lodge #3’s President Simmons became the temporary Vice President and Lodge #88’s President Giffin became the temporary Secretary-Treasurer.

Refreshments were served to those of us in attendance who witnessed a new beginning, the start of the fraternal growth in Maryland.

In August 1968, the first Maryland State Conference was hosted by the Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88 in Hagerstown, Maryland. The four (4) existing subordinate lodges in Maryland made up this conference. Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88, Prince George’s County Lodge #f89, Fort Cumberland Lodge #90 and Baltimore City Lodge #3.

At this first conference the foundation was laid. The Maryland State Lodge Constitution and Bylaws were adopted and the first elected board was installed, to include:

Office Name Lodge
1st Vice President
2nd Vice President
National Trustee
E. L. “Buck” SELLERS
Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88
Prince George’s Co. Lodge #89
Thomas Pangborn Lodge #88
Prince George’s Co. Lodge #89
Baltimore City Lodge #3
Ft. Cumberland Lodge #90
Ft. Cumberland Lodge #90
Thomas Pangborn Lodge # 88
Baltimore City Lodge #3

Expansion of membership was the primary goal of the delegates as they left this conference.

The 2nd Maryland State Lodge Biennial Conference was in August 1970 in Ocean City. By then, the Maryland FOP had grown to eleven (11) subordinate lodges. Joining the Maryland State Lodge expansion were Eastern Shore Lodge #10 in Ocean City, Montgomery County Lodge #35, Anne Arundel County Lodge #70, Maryland State Troopers’ Lodge #69 at Laurel,  Prince George’s Sheriff’s and Municipal Police Lodge #9, Airport Lodge #12, and Maryland State Troopers’ Mountain Lodge #40 at Frostburg.

MDFOP History

At the 2nd Maryland State Lodge Biennial Conference, State Secretary John Parker of Prince George’s County Lodge #89 reported that his special project of `FP` tags had finally been approved by the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles to issue ‘FP’ series of the new license tags for FP in Maryland. Parker stated, “Now when we see a ‘FP’ auto on the road, you will know it is a FOP member or his family”.

By May 1972, the Maryland State Lodge had grown to twenty-nine (29) local subordinate lodges. Maryland was one of the fastest growing Fraternal Order of Police states in modern times. This growth has not stopped. At the June 27, 1992 Maryland State Lodge Board meeting, our latest local subordinate lodge, U. S. Customs Lodge #13F joined our ranks. This makes a total of fifty-four (54} local subordinate lodges in the State of Maryland.

Unfortunately, we have lost some of our local subordinate chartered lodges. Some have merged with other existing lodges. Merging has made them a stronger united force in their own Locale. However, I feel a personal loss for those lodges that went to other organizations or became inactive because of their lack of interest or just maybe, it was a lack of concern and interest on ‘our’ part. Perhaps it is time for all of us to reevaluate our priorities and bring back those ‘lost’ members.

Many have stepped aside because of personal problems or just ‘burnt out’. Others have passed away. It’s unfortunate they cannot see the dreams that have become ‘the’ reality of today.

Not to say that we have reached our ultimate goal, as we all know, we have a long road ahead of us. We have just begun to make imprints on those who wish to divide, concur and destroy us.

But, to have personally felt the feelings of being a member of one of the four small local lodges, who were then mostly fraternal organizations with social functions and who were no more than ‘beggars’ in the eyes of the governments where we were employed. Seeing these small fragmented groups scattered around Maryland, each going in their own direction — now — develop into the strong labor organization which now represents the welfare of Law Enforcement in the State of Maryland, shows that we HAVE come a long way.

History is a very important part of any organization. It gives the organization roots and a foundation for dreams of accomplishment. It reveals those founders, the people who gave their time and effort, and in many cases, put their personal lives in disarray, because they were dedicated to the ’cause’ of what we are today.

We must keep the dream!
We must continue to make our history!


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