Queenstown VFD celebrates service to community
QUEENSTOWN — The Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet to honor the service of its members for 2016, and install its new officers on Saturday evening, Jan. 16. The evening began with prayer by the Rev. Charles Osberger of Wye Church, the department chaplain. Shortly after, Lt. Dwayne Embert announced that Deputy Scott Hogan, who was shot in the line of duty the end of December in Chestertown, would be coming home this Monday, unless there is another set-back. Those in attendance erupted into applause.
“As part of the sheriff’s office, EMS and emergency response community, we’re all in this together. I’m sure you would want to know Scott is doing well,” Embert said. “I’ve been to the hospital to see Scott numerous times, and the thing he keeps repeating is the he’s amazed at the response of support everyone has shown. It’s truly uplifted him.”
From there the program advanced to a report of events and statistics demonstrated by the members of QVFD for 2016.
President Jamie Lewis said, “We responded to just over 400 emergency calls in 2016.” He talked briefly about a small but significant change in serving the community that was an “overwhelming success.” Following the example of other local fire departments, “this year was the first time, we did Santa tours in the community!” It was received so well by the community overall, the fire department will add a third night of touring in 2017.
In years past, Santa waited at the fire house in Queenstown for children to come see him. Lewis explained, “Over recent years, attendance for that arrangement dwindled, so we decided to try having Santa tour the community.” That was listed as one of the highlights of the past year for the fire department.
A challenge coming in 2017 will be to replace one of the fire trucks that now has 20 years of service.
Lewis said, “Hopefully, this time next year, we can report a new truck is on it’s way!”
Vice President Jeff Lewis read the statistics of service for the year. He reported, “The actual count of emergency responses was 402 for the year.”
The first group introduced during the program were the six junior members of the fire department, under the adult leadership of QVFD Secretary Candice Miller. She introduced each Junior member: Holly Carson, Clayton Draper, Jared Lewis, Makenzi Nelson, Brady Whalley and Malissa Gill.
EMS Captain Matt Bauer recognized the top providers for 2016. Bauer, himself, was recognized as Top EMS Provider of the Year, responding to 77 calls. He was presented the award by EMS 2nd Lieutenant Tammy Carson. Bauer presented Chris Pinder with the 2016 EMS Captain’s Award.
Jamie Lewis followed with fire department awards. He announced three “Firefighter of the Year” awards voted on the the members of the fire department: Firefigher of the Year (under 5 years of service) J.T. Lewis; Firefighter of the Year (5 to 15 years) Donnie Clark; and Firefighter of the Year (over 15 years) Frank Russum.
The Queenstown Lions Club also honored a Firefighter of the Year. Queenstown Lions Club President Dave Sipes recognized 9-year member Jason Heath as their honoree.
Lewis presented the President’s Award to 11-year member Tony Nastus, who was not able to attend the banquet.
Lewis recognized the Top 5 responders to fire calls for 2016. Fifth place was tied between Jason Health and Tyler Golt, both with 171; foruth place, J.T. Lewis with 186; third to Jost King with 203; second, Chris Willis with 233 responses; and 2016 Top Responder was Donnie Clark with 255 calls. Each received plaques.
Chief’s Award went to both Chris Willis and Donnie Clark. Chris Willis was also not able to attend the banquet. His father, Queenstown Commissioner Tom Willis, accepted the award for him. The S.E.W. Friel Award for invaluable service to the fire department was presented to longtime member Jim Lewis.
The award that seemed to mean the most to everyone present, however, was presented last. It went to Frank Jewell, 84, of Queenstown. Jewell has been a member of QVFD for 70 years. He was presented the biggest plaque of the night and received a standing ovation as he came forward.
Officers for 2017 include President Jamie Lewis; Vice President Jeff Lewis; Trea- surer Frank Russum; Secretary Candy Miller; Asst. Secretary Shelly Nelson; Board of Directors Vince Anthony, Sid Compton, Bryon Callahan, Jim Lewis and Stu Tarrant; Chief Frank Russum; 1st Asst. Chief Lonnie Anthony; 2nd Asst. Chief Thomas Nelson; Captain Chris Butler; 1st Lieutenant Tyler Golt; 2nd Lieutenant Scott McClyment; Sergeant Jeff Lewis; EMS Administrator Terry Pilkerton; Asst. EMS Administrator Tony Nastus; EMS Captain Matt Bauer; 1st EMS Lieutenant J.C. Lewis; 2nd EMS Lieutenant Tammy Carson; and Superintendent of Machinery Lonnie Anthony.
Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department Top Responders for 2016, from the left, Tyler Golt and Jason Heath, both with 171 calls; J.T. Lewis, 186; Josh King, 203, and Top Responder Donnie Clark, 255.
Frank Jewell, 84, was recognized for 70 years of service to Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department.
Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department President Jamie Lewis, left, presents Jim Lewis with the 2016 S.E.W. Friel Award for invaluable service to the fire department.