The Fairfield Glade Fire Department held their Firefighter Awards Banquet on Oct. 14. This was the night for recognizing the achievements and the contributions of the firefighters, Ladies Auxiliary and retired firefighters.
Among the honored guests for the evening were Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr., Cumberland County Fire Chief Jeff Dodson, State Representative Cameron Sexton, Community Club General Manager Bob Weber, Retired Fairfield Glade Fire Chief Will Gilray.
Chief Howard Robb reminded those in attendance of all that the department has accomplished in 2013.
"Tonight, we celebrate 40 years for the Fairfield Glade Fire Department," said Chief Robb. "It was forty years ago a man by the name of Flo Heineman was charged with setting up a new fire Department in Fairfield Glade, and here we are 40 years later still carrying the torch as we continue to grow and enhance this fire department."
Many dedicated firefighters who have semi-retired continue to work behind the scenes to help the department look good. They keep the hydrants looking sharp, thanks to their leader Ron Horstman. Members of the Hydrant Crew are Jay Damron, Dick Edler, James Horner, Denver Hoskins, Jim Hyde and Bill White.
Chief Robb recognized the achievements of the Pancake Breakfast fundraiser that started at Station 1 with only 8 – 10 tables in the early 1970’s. In 2013, some 4,735 people were served. This is due to the participation of residents, visitors and the dedication of the planning committee (Pat Donohue, Ray Kratt, Jim Davis, Terry Kaines and Mark David).
The Pancake Breakfast Fundraising events make it possible to purchase needed equipment and funds the extensive training schedule.
The Fire Dept. appreciates the time and dedication of the wives of the Ladies Auxiliary as they continue to work very hard at all these events.
A special “Thank You” to the Faithful Retires and their wives who continue to work the Pancake Breakfast:
Bill and Betty Baxter: 15 years of service and three years volunteering;
Rich and Joan Eineke: 11years of service and 11 years volunteering;
Ron and Connie Ekis: 14 years of service and four years volunteering;
Jack and Theo Landry: 16 years of service and two years volunteering;
Al and Cindy Love: 13 years of service and three years volunteering;
Bud and Eileen Metzger: seven years of service and eight years volunteering;
Dick and Carol Van Gilder: six years of service and one year volunteering;
Fred and Judy Weller: 19 years of service and three years volunteering.
Plaques were awarded to the 2013 New Retirees in appreciation for their service. Mike Douell eight years of service; Ken Hutchinson, 17 years of service; and John Simms, 10 years of service.
Service certificates for 15 years of service were awarded to Jim Etzel and Bill White.
Service certificates for 10 years of service were awarded to Dane Bryant, Bob Citkovic, Dick Edler, Woody Geisler, Bob King, Ed Ostrowski, John Simms, Jerry Turner and Dan Woodard.
Service certificates for 5 years of service were awarded to Roland Gamelin and Chip Kithcart.
The highlight of the evening, and the banquet came with the naming of the Firefighter of the year. This award exemplifies professionalism and a dedication to service in our community. To the delight of everyone in attendance the 2013 Firefighter of the year is Capt. Bob Bennett.
Capt. Bennett had a family emergency and was not able to attend the event; there will be more on him in another article.
One of the department’s greatest accomplishments was the replacement of the first Engine #5 with a new 2010 Engine. Engine #4 is now completely outfitted and operational. This would have not been possible except for two key individuals who planned and carried out this achievement. Thanks to Jim Etzel, records officer, and a special friend of the department Bruce Jodarski, owner of “Best Used Trucks” located on Peavine Rd.
Once again Chief Robb stated that the department has achieved some great results by working together as a cohesive team.
"With our continued hard work, I feel very strongly that we can once again achieve this high level of success for the residents of Fairfield Glade," said Chief Robb. "Because of the dedication of our firefighters, our retired firefighters and our wives, this department will continue to be successful. We’ve come a long way from our beginnings and with your efforts I know our excellence will continue for many years to come."
Finally the chief thanked the residents and the Time Share visitors for their great support of pancake breakfasts, and their continuing contributions to the department. In closing, Chief Robb congratulated all of the dedicated firefighters for a safe and successful 2013. The rest of the evening was spent dancing to the music of D.J. and Donna Garrison.