Greg John­ston re­ceives Buck Clough Me­mo­rial Award

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­

SUDLERSVILLE — In an evening of many awards dur­ing the 2016 Sudlersville Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany ban­quet, the top honor this year went to 37year vol­un­teer mem­ber Greg John­ston. He was pre­sented the Buck Clough Me­mo­rial Award, rep­re­sent­ing the fire de­part­ment’s “best ex­am­ple of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of their fallen brother — ded­i­ca­tion, honor, lead­er­ship and courage,” as the award was es­tab­lished by the Mary­land State Fire­man’s As­so­ci­a­tion three years ago. John­ston be­came the fire de­part­ment’s third mem­ber to be so hon­ored, fol­low­ing Mal­colm Faust in 2014 and Fran­cis Kin­na­mon in 2015.

When the award was an­nounced by Clough’s widow, Sandy Clough, the au­di­ence gave a stand­ing ova­tion for John­ston who has served twice as fire chief at SVFC. The award was cre­ated in honor of for­mer Fire Chief “Buck” Clough, who died at age 41 while re­spond­ing to a fire call April 15, 2009. Clough swerved to avoid hit­ting a ve­hi­cle that did not yield to the emer­gency fire chief’s car he was driv­ing and struck a tree.

Sev­eral peo­ple at the ban­quet said, “It’s the most pres­ti­gious award pre­sented here at the fire de­part­ment.” Emo­tions with the award ap­peared to be high, as John­ston’s wife, Chris­tine was moved to tears as she at­tempted to take a pic­ture of her hus­band re­ceiv­ing the award.

Greg John­ston, also a 28year pro­fes­sional fire­fighter with Bal­ti­more County, later said, “Our fam­i­lies have been best friends. Our chil­dren were the same ages grow­ing up to­gether, and in­volved in many of the same ac­tiv­i­ties. Buck meant so much to our com­mu­nity.”

Clough was a life mem­ber of the fire de­part­ment with more than 25 years of vol­un­teer ser­vice. He was the youngest mem­ber ever to be voted fire chief at the age of 21, the year after he mar­ried Sandy. Both Buck and Sandy are grad­u­ates of Queen Anne’s County High School, class of 1985 and 1986, re­spec­tively. He re­mained in fire de­part­ment lead­er­ship fol­low­ing the births of his chil­dren, but did not pur­sue be­com­ing fire chief again un­til his chil­dren were older, al­most 20 years later.

Nom­i­na­tions for the award are re­ceived by the fire de­part­ment awards com­mit­tee. The com­mit­tee de­cides which nom­i­nated can­di­date(s) is/ are most wor­thy.

In 2016, SVFC re­sponded to 202 emer­gency calls. Sudlersville’s 2016 Fire­fighter of the Year was Wil­liam Davis; first run­ner up, Justin Skin­ner; sec­ond run­ner up, Matt Skin­ner; and third run­ner up Mike Davis Jr.

Joey Ap­ple, newly in­stalled fire chief for 2017, re­ceived the 2016 Of­fi­cer of the Year Award for his ser­vice as as­sis­tant fire chief in 2016.

The Vol­un­teer of the Year Award went to two peo­ple — Earl Lea­ger and Pamela Wise.

Robert “Bobby” Kim­ble was rec­og­nized for an­swer­ing the most calls, 147.

Hunter Fran­cis was named Ju­nior Fire­fighter of the Year, and Mar­garet Ap­ple was named Cadet of the Year.

Mem­ber Chuck Downey was pre­sented a spe­cial ac­tive ser­vice mem­ber jacket for his half a cen­tury of vol­un­teer­ing.

More than 255 guests at­tended the ban­quet. Food pro­vided by He­len Todd Cater­ing of Cen­tre­ville, and mu­sic for the evening pro­vided by Chris Startt.


In mem­ory of her hus­band, Sandy Clough, left, presents the “Buck” Clough Me­mo­rial Award to Greg John­ston, cen­ter. Sudlersville Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment Chief Ira Rus­sell is at right.


2017 Sudlerville Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany Aux­il­iary of­fi­cers take their oath of of­fice. From left, De­bra Shel­ton pres­i­dent; Amanda Ni­chol­son, vice pres­i­dent; Bev Dadds, sec­re­tary; Jenny Lea­ger, cor­re­spond­ing sec­re­tary; Nody Swain, trea­surer; and Lainey Webb, as­sis­tant trea­surer.


The 2016 Vol­un­teer of the Year award went to both Earl Lea­ger, left, and Pamela Wise dur­ing the an­nual Sudlersville Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany ban­quet, Satur­day evening, Jan. 21.

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