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County honors Pastor John Spangler and Declares Land Conservancy of Adams County Month

The Adams County Commissioners honored Gettysburg resident John Spangler this morning for his service to the county, and particularly his work at the United Lutheran Seminary where he served as executive assistant to the president.

Saying Spangler is an “outstanding citizen and leader in church and this community,” former seminary president Michael Cooper-White said it was a “real privilege to recognize one of Adams County’s outstanding citizens.”

Cooper-White said Spangler recently retired, creating an opportunity for the commissioners and the county to recognize him.

Spangler was critical in the successful $15 million rehabilitation and conversion of Schmucker Hall into the award-winning Seminary Ridge Museum. “The Seminary Ridge Museum would not exist today without the efforts of John Spangler,” said Cooper-White.

Spangler helped make the seminary an environmentally sound institution, supervising the installation of geothermal systems, tracking the school’s carbon footprint, and creating other environmental preservation measures. “The seminary is a green institution because of his leadership,” said Cooper-White.

Commissioner Randy Phiel said Spangler had been a leader in the Music Gettysburg! concert series, working to sustain the programs attended by hundreds of area residents. “John was fully engaged with this community,” he said.

Pastor Spangler was also thanked for his board service with nonprofits, including Lutheran Social Services, SpiriTrust, and DIAKON Social Ministries.  Spangler remains a trustee on the board of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation.

Commissioner Qually talked about Spangler’s impact on his students and coworkers. “Countless people are still carrying on based on your leadership,” he said.

Spangler said he was honored by the recognition. “None of this was possible without open minds and people willing to say ‘yes’,” he said.  Spangler thanked Cumberland Township, Main Street Gettysburg, and the commissioners. “Engagement was something I didn’t expect to find here. It’s been a true joy.”

Spangler said he was looking forward to continuing as an active citizen in the community.

Land Conservancy of Adams County Month

The commissioners also proclaimed March 10-April 24 as Land Conservancy of Adams County (LCAC) Month.

The proclamation, read by commissioner Qually, noted that LCAC is an accredited, member-supported nonprofit land trust with the mission to preserve the rural lands and character of Adams County, using conservation easements, outreach, advocacy, and collaboration to maintain the benefits of open space and water quality to preserve our community’s way of life and to protect our unique heritage and ecosystems

The proclamation indicated that LCAC is in its 27th year of operation.

LCAC President Dave Salisbury said almost 12,200 acres in the county have been preserved. “We have this beautiful town; we have this beautiful county. For all the generations that will come after us – they will benefit,” he said.

Phiel said LCAC has always been an energetic organization. “Now it’s as engaged and energetic as it’s ever been. It just keeps growing. it takes a village; it takes a team,” he said.

Commissioner Jim Martin said the LCAC worked with other conservation agencies. “With each acre you preserve it increases the footprint of your legacy and benefits the county. A lot of historic beauty would be lost without the efforts,” he said.

Qually addressed the importance of land preservation for farming, tourism, and general enjoyment of people. “We have to conserve land to keep us here. You can’t have a farm if you don’t have land,” he said. 

The LCAC 25th annual Art Auction will be held virtually between April 10 and April 24. There will be a wine and cheese reception at the Arts Council to open the show and celebrate the artists on Friday, April 1, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Other Business

In other business, the commissioners also approved other recommendations as shown in the meeting agenda.

Discussion around the IT proposal focused on the need for enhanced cyber security protection in the county including multi-factor authorization to protect sensitive county information.

Featured image by Maria Erling.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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