Grasonville VFD recognizes members
QUEENSTOWN — On Saturday evening, Jan. 28, the Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department held its annual awards banquet and installation of officers at the Bay Country Moose Lodge in Queenstown. Following the opening prayer to bless the dinner provided by Helen Todd Catering of Centreville, GVFD Fire Chief Jason Anthony gave a brief review of events for 2016.
Anthony reported, “We had 440 fire calls this past year, along with 263 EMS responses. We had another great year for fundraising, hosting “Rock the Dock” held at the Narrows, the annual Bull and Oyster Roast, Christmas tree sales and golf tournament.
“The fire department purchased a new utility truck, purchased back part of GVFD history, reclaiming old 1980 Engine 26 fire truck from the John’s Creek FD in Virginia. Purchased the property next door to the fire house with plans to demolish the old house located there and use the extra property for the new fire house that will eventually be built.”
He added, “We honored service members’ bodies returning to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery while being transported through the area from Dover Air Force Base. July 1, we, along with Kent Island VFD, were recognized through television of Fox Channel 5 in Washington, D.C., Aug. 31, were directly involved in helping save the life of a victim trapped in a tractor trailer accident along Route 50 near where the old ACME store was once located, and saving lives from house fires on Pine Drive (12/12/16), and Prospect Bay Drive West (12/15/16). GVFD active member Bruce Smith died in May, and Charter members Joseph Saddler, William Benton and Bryan Walters died in 2016.”
Following the report, 2016 service awards were presented.
GVFD firefighter Alex Cole received a standing ovation when presented a Medal of Honor for helping save the lives of an elderly couple who live on the same street on which he resides during a fire at their home early Dec. 12. He helped the couple from the house before it was totally destroyed by the fire.
Anthony announced, “Most of the awards were voted on by the members of the fire department.”
The Rookie of the Year award was presented to Marc Sartain. EMS Provider of the Year went to 15-year member Troy Tilghman. 2016 Firefighter of the Year was awarded to 38-year volunteer Carlton “Skippy” Haddaway, who was unable to attend the banquet. Haddaway was presented two awards the next day at the fire house, his Firefighter of the Year trophy, as well as Top Fire Responder (261 calls) plaque.
The Chief’s Award was presented to longtime GVFD chaplin, Pastor John Rediger. Of this award, Anthony said, “Pastor John is always there for us, in good times and bad times.”
Members of late member Bruce Smith’s family attended the banquet and were honored. Volunteers created a portable honorary locker with Smith’s fire equipment; fire helmet, boots, safety jacket, etc, with his name inscribed on it. The locker will be kept at the fire house in memory of all the years (more than 20) Smith served as a member.
Anthony also spoke briefly about the 36 men who founded GVFD in 1958. That them, only six of the founders are still alive. He recognized founding member Charles Bryan, who was able to attend the banquet, and personally thanked Bryan for what he and the others did so many years ago.
Eleven of the 16 of the GVFD Auxiliar y members were recognized during the program. Auxiliary Chairman Jena Anthony said, “We’ve grown a lot in the past year, beginning the year with only four members. We plan to do more fundraising in 2017.”
GVFD President John Werkheiser presented the 2016 President’s Award to Tom Sheahan.
Some 24 local businesses, fraternal organizations and individuals were also recognized for providing financial support to GVFD during the banquet.
Desserts of chocolate cup cakes and a yellow cake with white iciing were provided by Jena Anthony, granddaughter of Aline Koski, who made cakes for the banquet more than 20 years. Anthony has made the cakes for the past two years, continuing the family tradition.
Former Church Hill Fire Chief Fran Jester administered the oath of office to the 2017 officers: Fire Chief Jason Anthony Sr., 1st Asst. Chief Steve McCombs, 2nd Asst. Chief Robbie Marsh, 1st Captain Jimmy Tiernan, 2nd Captain Troy Tilghman, 1st Lieutenant Vincent Harris, 2nd Lieutenant, Matt Forrest, Chief Engineer Jeremy Smith, EMS Coordinator Robert Sharp, President Jimmy Tiernan, Vice President Tom Sheahan, Secretary Laura Marvel, Treasurer Phyllis Black, and Board of Directors Matt Coursey, Robbie Marsh, Troy Tilghman, Devrine Jones and Vinny Totaro.
D.J. Chris Startt provided dance music following the awards and installation.
The 2017 Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department officers take their oath of office Saturday evening, Jan. 28. Former Church Hill VFD Fire Chief Fran Jester, at the microphone behind the group, administered the oath.
Grasonville 1st Assistant Fire Chief Steve McCombs, left, presents Firefighter Alex Cole with a Medal of Honor for his actions Dec. 12, 2016, helping save an elderly couple on the street where he lives in Grasonville when their home became engulfed in flames at 3:30 in the morning. The house was a total loss, but Cole’s actions helped save the couple’s lives.
Grasonville Volunteer Fire Department 2016 Firefighter of the Year Carlton “Skippy” Haddaway holds his trophy. Haddaway was also top responder for 2016, going out on 261 calls.