John and Janice Tierno Long Time Community Volunteers
Once more it is my pleasure to present you with a wonderful couple who have unselfishly given of themselves to others less fortunate for much of their lives. The story of John and Janice Tierno is a great love story, not only for each other, but for all of the many people they have been able to serve through more than a 40 year association with the American Legion Post 274 in Lusby and several other organizations within the area. Their story goes back more than six decades for these two “lovebirds” have been married for nearly 61 years! They met while John was completing his active duty with the US Navy here at Patuxent River and the Solomons Annex where he was assigned to the NAS Fire Department. They married at the Historic Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Solomons in July, 1955.
John was born in Berlin, New Jersey in 1931 and graduated from Haddon Heights High School and immediately went to work for a glass company in Glassboro, NJ [makes sense!] where he received a 4 year machinist apprenticeship. He attended night school for two years and took courses in math and blueprints, finally earning his journeyman Machinist rating in 1960. He remained with this firm, other than time he was away fulfilling his military obligation, until retiring in 1974.
Janice was born here in Solomons [I did not dare to ask her in what year as I know better]. Her parents owned a local seafood business [also makes sense] and she was educated at the Our Lady Star of the Sea Parochial School. She spent all of her young life in Solomons and met her sailor there. After John was released from Active Duty in 1955, he took his new bride back home to southern New Jersey. There they started a family and had three children, two girls and a boy.
Upon his retirement from the glass company, they packed up and moved to Solomons where John found a government job with the Public Works Department at NAS Patuxent River. He became Supervisor of the Metal Trades before transferring to the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department supporting naval test airplanes and equipment until retiring for a second time in 1993. I am sure many of you know that until the Thomas Johnson Bridge was opened in 1977, workers at Pax who lived in Calvert had to take a boat to and from work each day. I wonder if they received “sea pay” for this???
John’s volunteer efforts began in earnest when he joined the American Legion Post in Lusby and is currently a 42 year member of the Post. During this time, John has held almost every office within the organization including election by the membership as the Post Commander from 2001 through 2003. In preparing for this top position, John has served as Historian, Sergeant At Arms, Chaplain, Executive Committee, Bingo Chairman, and House Management Committee. Often his efforts required him to be at the Post seven days a week. I remember seeing John hard at work every Monday evening running the Bingo event attended by more than 100 folks when it was the only show in town. I wished I had the room here to tell you about all the charities the Post supports each year. It is a long and extensive list of groups and organizations that are aided by numerous events conducted by the more than 700 dedicated members of all five military services who likewise give of themselves.
Earlier on, John also was involved in coaching Calvert baseball teams. He managed the Solomons Optimist Little League in 1978. The following year he was part of the coaching staff of the Calvert County All Stars that placed 2nd in the State of Maryland in 1979.
Janice was a fixture in the Post kitchen for many, many years. When the kitchen lights were on, one could almost always see Janice in her white apron hard at work preparing some meals, breakfasts, Friday night dinners, Monday Bingo food, wedding meals or receptions of every kind. John related to me his memories of the nights back when Lusby was just a little sleepy town with very few places to eat. He and Janice ran “Pizza Night” and thought nothing of preparing more than 120 pizzas an evening for both the membership and the public to purchase. This was years before the days of home delivery! Janice often helped out by preparing food at home.to bring in to the Post and especially enjoyed helping out for some of the larger events such as Golf Tournaments and Rallies conducted to help the poor and the ill of the community. She served on the Ladies Auxiliary as an Officer as well the Commander’s wife during his service as the Commander. They were both especially busy during the days following “9/11” in all the chaos that gripped our part of the country as well as our Nation.
I asked John what were some of his best memories volunteering at the Post. He recalled the dedication of the Civil War Veterans Memorial held at the Solomons Methodist Church, the dedication of the Newtown Road and the large flag pole alongside Routes 2/4 as you leave Solomons in honor of the former Post Commander Charlie Serabian and all the festivities surrounding the annual Patuxent River Appreciation Days [PRAD] in which the Legion played a big role including the Sunday Parade. Additionally he played a big part in setting up the “Wounded Warrior” Fishing Trip and Dinner that is held twice a year. This Legion sponsored event brings our wounded military personnel being treated at Walter Reed and Bethesda down to Calvert to go fishing all day on a large charter boat on the Bay and then they are treated to a nice dinner at the Post. John has headed up this project for the past eight years. Finally, another fond memory of John’s during his two times as the Post Commander was the opportunity and honor to award 15 Eagle Scouts during his tenure!
To close, these two “lovebirds” have finally learned to slow down mostly due to their age. They remain the nicest of people and John still can keep a conversation going better than me!!! Thank you for all you have done! I continue to wish you both with good health and happiness in the years to come!
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.