Calvert County Times August 10, 2017 - Page 17

In Our Community The Calvert County Times Thursday, August 10, 2017 17 Dunkirk: The Movie and the Town Is There a Connection? By Dick Myers Editor The name “Dunkirk: is emblazoned on movie mar- quees all over the world. The hit movie of course is about the WW II Battle in 1940 in the French town of the same name. But what, if any, is the connection to the town center and post office in Calvert County, also wi th the same name. To answer the question, we went to the President of the Calvert County Historical Society Chris Banks, who in turn referred the County Times to her go-to his- tory person, Leila Boyer, director of the organization. The story of Dunkirk, MD, according to Boyer, takes us back to 1842, and the post office called Smith- ville. Postmaster Charles H. Johnson, of the little post office tucked inside a general store, was concerned that his post office was being confused with several of the same name on the Eastern Shore. It is not clear whether it was the postmaster or some- one else who came up with the new name of Dunkirk. What is certain is that the name came from on old land grant in the area, issued to William Groom in 1670. Groom had land holdings also in St. Mary’s County and didn’t live long at Dunkirk. It is not known if there was a manor house of the same name, but if so its loca- tion is long lost in history. Dunkirk was located near what is now the Anne Arundel-Calvert County line, Boyer said. That line in early Maryland history remained fluid until officially surveyed. It was 200 acres and surrounded by planta- tions owed by Harris Cox, Pal Busey and others. According to Boyer, the post office officially changed names on July 9, 1842. A new post office was built in the 1970’s and Boyer believes the original building in which the post office was located is no longer standing. So, then, is there any connection between the name given to the 200 acres in Calvert County and the French town that was the site of the famous battle and now the blockbuster movie? The answer to that is somewhat unknown. But perhaps some conclusions can be drawn from the fact that Groom was an Englishman, as were most of the settlers in Southern Maryland. There is a village in County Kent, England called Dunkirk. According to Wikipedia, the online encyclo- pedia, “The origin of the village’s name is still not very clear, but it is understood to come from a house called ‘Dunkirk’ lived in by a Fleming from Dunkirk on the border between France and Belgium.” The English Dunkirk’s main historical claim to fame is ironically also a battle. In 1838, just four years be- fore the naming of the Dunkirk, MD post office. Wiki- pedia says Dunkirk was, “the scene of the last armed rising on British soil, the Battle of Bossenden Wood to the north of the village.” If the village in England was named after the town in France, which was founded in the late 10 th century and whose name is a contraction of Flemish words meaning “church in the dunes,” and if the estate in Maryland was named after the village in England and the post office in Maryland was named after the estate, then there’s the connection. So, residents of Dunkirk, MD, when you go to the movie you can bring a little civic pride with you along with your price of admission and your popcorn. dickmyers@countytimes.net It’s Never Too Late to Start CSM Facilities, Trainers, Classes Assist Senior Fitness CSM Fitness Trainer Aaron Smith, left, checks Charlotte Weirich on her lifting technique at the La Plata Campus fitness center, as CSM Fitness Coordinator Jane Pomponio observes from behind. Charlotte Weirich of Charles County began her retirement in 2014 with big expectations — volunteering, travel and plenty of social engagements were all on her to-do list. `However, a variety of health concerns came to light that changed some of those plans, including cholesterol and bone den- sity issues. `“All of this was such a shock,” Wei- rich said. She had been physically fit in the 1970s, she said, a time when she re- ally worked on her fitness. Even though in recent years she seemed to be healthy and was at a good weight, her work had re- quired hours and hours of sitting at a desk, and she found she didn’t have the energy or inclination to exercise. “Life overcame me,” Weirich said. ``It was time for Weirich to start re- investing in her physical health. “After several check-ups with various medical specialists, I reached the conclusion that I needed an active exercise program on a weekly basis,” she said. Weirich turned to the College of South- ern Maryland (CSM) for help. “I went to the CSM Fitness Center and received a general overview,” Weirich said. A fitness assessment is a great tool to assist in creat- ing a balanced, effective fitness program, according to CSM Fitness Coordinator Jane Pomponio, who met with Weirich during her initial visit and encouraged Weirich to pursue her fitness goals. CSM staff assesses cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, body composition and flexibility. Weirich re- ceived a computer printout of her results and a personalized exercise program. “I went to the CSM Fitness Center and received a general overview,” Weirich said. A fitness assessment is a great tool to assist in creating a balanced, effective fitness program, according to Jane Pom- ponio, who met with Weirich during her initial visit and encouraged Weirich to pursue her fitness goals. CSM staff as- sesses cardiovascular endurance, muscu- lar strength and endurance, body com- position and flexibility. Weirich received a computer printout of her results and a personalized exercise program. CSM is an excellent community re- source for the facilities and training ex- pertise that Weirich sought, Pomponio explained, describing the pools at the La Plata and Leonardtown campuses be- ing available for swimming laps or joint- friendly aquatics classes as well as fit- ness centers at La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick campuses which feature cardio equipment, machines and free weights. Fitness studios, exercise rooms and a variety of classroom spaces are available for aerobics and other fitness activities including Zumba, tai chi, yoga and more. In addition, all three facilities have specialized fitness assessment rooms for individualized consultations and fit- ness analyses. And every fitness center has helpful staff ready to answer questions and assist. “I decided to go for it and registered for the personal physical training pro gram,” Weirich said. “I was quite embarrassed to start with such poor physical fitness skills. That feeling changed when I was assigned to Fitness Trainer Aaron Smith, who dem- onstrated a tremendous amount of under- standing in working with me from the start. I was in very poor shape, so Aaron began with the basics. He demonstrated tremendous knowledge about the exer- cises on which I needed to focus. He also forced me to be goal-oriented.” “She’s very involved in the community. She wants to keep going,” Pomponio said. `For the next two years, Weirich met two or three times a week with Smith at the fitness center on the La Plata Campus. Smith has incorporated both weight train- ing and cardio workouts along with plenty of humor to help get Weirich’s health back on track. “Miraculously, he did not lose patience with me; in fact, I always joke that he has the patience of a saint when working with this little old senior citizen,” Weirich said. Smith included work on the elliptical machine as part of Weirich’s training be- cause it is particularly helpful and safe for someone with bone issues like Weirich, he said. “This can be a difficult process,” Smith conceded. But he noted that if peo- ple stick to a program they can truly re- create their health. “She is doing great. It’s really helping her.” Pomponio said. “She had to make this a priority, and she did it.” Weirich reports that her bone density has improved. She lost 20 pounds. “I am much more energetic. I find I am much more alert,” she said. She noted that in ad- dition to exercise, an improved diet and meditation have helped her get her health back on track. “I plan to continue participating in the personal training program at the CSM Fitness Center as long as I am upright,” she said, thanking the CSM staff for “the knowledge, skill and perseverance to work with me.” CSM also offers a variety of fitness classes that would be appropriate to some- one just starting a new fitness program. For instance, the Strength and Function- al Conditioning Class is appropriate for most, even those who even those who have been released by their doctor from physi- cal therapy, Pomponio said. “We want them to have quality of life. As we’re living longer, we want quality of life. It’s never too late to start. That’s the biggest message. I’ve seen such fabulous results,” Pomponio said. “We have great pools. Beautiful facilities. It’s such a com- fortable atmosphere here. We try to make everyone here part of the family.” For information personal fitness pro- grams and facilities at CSM, visit the col- lege’s wellness, fitness and aquatics infor- mation at csmd.edu/go/fit . Press Release from CSM