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Logo Design for a Special Cancellation Stamp has ties to Northern Blair county

Normally, news coming out of Hagerstown, Maryland has no direct effect on Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis, or the people in each community. This particular story has more local ties than one might first come to believe.
A special cancellation stamp to commemorate the Battle of Antietam’s 140th anniversary, with a logo designed by Hagerstown Herald-Mail editorial graphic artist Ryan Harpster, directly effects several people in the Tyrone and Bellwood communities.
Harpster is the son of Michael and Carol Harpster, who were graduates of Tyrone in 1972 and now reside in Williamsport, Maryland. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Harpster, Sr. of Bellwood and Elizabeth Stager of Tyrone.
Harpster, who is 29 years of age, is a graduate of Williamsport High School in Maryland and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. The cancellation stamp, a handstamp placed over the postage stamp, and the cachet, an illustrated medium-sized envelope, and Harpster’s logo, will be available through October 12 in post offices in Hagerstown. The stamp is available for any post office to pick up.
The logo, a Civil War cannon on its carriage with “The Battle of Antietam, 1862-2002, 140th Anniversary” above it and “Re-enactment September 12-15, 2002” posted beneath it, was created with the intent of representing the battle and its antiquity, Harpster said.
Harpster has worked for The Herald-Mail for four years. He said he designed the logo in February to accompany Antietam-related stories he knew would be running in connection with the 140th commemoration.
The stamp is free and can be placed on any item taken into the post office or on a self-addressed envelope sent to the facility. The cachet, with an illustration of the Battle at Burnside Bridge by Hagerstown artist Amy Barr, will cost $3 and will be available at the Hagerstown Post Office at 44 W. Franklin Street.
Keith Guerrin, postmaster of the Hagerstown Post Office said, “It’s a collectible item and something you can (use to) remember the event we chose to be a part of.”
Carol Barr, sales and service associate with the post office, said the post office usually has special cancellation stamps for area events. Such cancellations draw stamp collectors, she said.
Barr said the Antietam stamp will be advertised nationwide in The Postal Bulletin, and some stamp collector magazines will pick up the advertisement.
She added, “We expect this one to be really popular.”
Barr said she saw Harpster’s original design about a month ago in The Herald-Mail as the paper’s 140th Battle of Antietam logo, and called to ask the newspaper if the post office could use it for its stamp.
“It’s an honor that the federal government chose something that I designed,” said Harpster.
Harpster added that he thought about submitting a design for a postage stamp, but said there is a three-year waiting period to even get a design acknowledged.
He has won Best of Show awards in Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Associations for his graphic designs used in The Herald-Mail newspapers in 2001 and 2002.
Harpster’s parents and grandparents are proud of his accomplishments, and it’s pleasing to see that people in Tyrone and Bellwood can have a part in such gratification.
Editor’s Note: Pepper Ballard of the The Herald-Mail, Hagerstown, MD contributed to this story.