LOCHEARN, Md. — For over 60 years the Lochearn Community club has been a shining example of diversity and growth.
The community pool is facing its toughest test yet— a devastating fire on the day they were set to open for the summer.
You can see the range of emotions in longtime member Brian Pickney’s face when he talks about the memories in the ashes.
“I don’t know of any other pool that considers themselves having alumni,” said Pickney.
It's mark as one of the first inclusive pools in Maryland is shown by the diversity of their swim teams over the years.
“The diversity and the cultures that mix here is just unimaginable mirrors against the times that we’re going through now,” Pickney said.
The fire took down the bathhouse which held the office, lifeguard equipment, all the pumps and filtration systems.
Thousands of dollars worth of equipment and countless memories are now charred debris.
“There was not one second thought that we would not rebuild, we’re going to rebuild,” Pickney said. “This is too special of a place to let go.”
Thousands of people learned to swim at the pool over the years. The swim blocks don’t look the same, that's a big part of the history that was lost.
One of the original swim blocks from 1958 when they first opened was lost in the fire.
“It was made of wood, the kids would get on the starting block and the parents would have to hold it so it wouldn’t move,”’said Pickney. “Now they are screwed into the ground and you don’t have to do all that but that’s a piece of nostalgia that you can’t get back.”
The day the fire happened, a former member created a GoFundMe which can be found here.
They’ve always kept afloat on the backs of their members.
Every donation splashed with a bit of nostalgia.
“I have been here for 21 years. I just retired this would have been my first time to actually work with the kids full time and I love working with our kids.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. There’s no way to asses the damage until after that happens.
“The water was clear and sparkling. We were ready to open.”
The fire won’t put out their spirit.
A 63rd season will happen— it’s just a matter of when.