Miller HAVFCO Firefighter Of The Year
The Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co. honored the best of the best Saturday night, making their selections based on a variety of criteria ranging from dedication and willingness to learn to hours logged fundraising and service to the community.
With so many members to choose from and such a large list of qualities to inspect, husband and wife Tracy and Yvette Miller of Hustontown along with longtime company members Marvin DeShong and Morris Crouse came out on top during the 41st annual firemen's banquet held on March 21.
Tracy Miller, local dog enforcement officer and northern Fulton County native, took top honors, receiving the company's most coveted Firefighter of the Year award from event emcee Berley Souders. Previous firefighters of the year from companies across the area were also asked to stand to be recognized.
"There is a lot of weight and a lot of merit with this award," said Souders, in presenting the annual award to the 47-year-old Hustontown resident. In his acceptance, Miller gave special thanks to company Chief Darius DeShong and fellow officers Jeff Black and Scott Saylor for their support.
Miller, one of the company's newest members, urged others to join and reminded those in attendance free training is offered. He added none of his requests for additional training have never been denied.
"You can turn around and help someone else with what you've learned," he concluded. Miller was also given a special, last-minute award for his assistance in maintaining and updating the company's Web site found on the Internet at www.hustontownfireems.org.
Miller's wife, Yvette, was presented with the Chief's Award from Chief DeShong for stepping up and helping with office work such as the computerized documentation of records and calls. Deshong noted that Yvette's duties around the firehall have, in turn, helped lighten his workload.
Meanwhile, longtime company chaplain Marvin DeShong took home multiple awards, including the EMT of the Year plaque. Emcee Souders noted in many cases, the impact of emergency medics on the scene can't simply be measured by the person on the stretcher or the hours they log in an ambulance. DeShong, a prime example of this statement, told the crowd as long as God would allow him to draw breath and walk, when the calls come in he would be heading out to help his neighbors and community.
In receiving the President's Award from company President Brian Barton for dedication and devotion with the company's building project, DeShong reminded those on hand that it takes a tremendous amount of time to volunteer for the company. DeShong urged others to join as new members if they have spare time. "As times get harder, weíll need volunteers more than ever," he concluded.
Marvin DeShong was also presented with a special plaque by company Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Black, who was scheduled to be accompanied to the podium by firefighting brother Randy Black. Unfortunately, Randy Black encountered health issues responding to a fire call along Davis Lane within hours of the banquet and was transported to Fulton County Medical Center, where he remained under observation.
Jeff Black told the crowd the idea as well as the funding for the special presentation came from his brother, Randy. Jeff Black stated Marvin DeShong's guidance has made a world of difference in his brother's time at the company, which is estimated at around 30 years.
Marvin DeShong was the second highest responder in 2008 after logging 204 hours. Other top EMS responders last year included Christine Englert (468 hours), Brian Barton (175), Sheila Barton (165), Scott Vinson (127), Yvette Miller (119), Randy Black (114) and Scott Saylor (103).
Marvin DeShong also logged the fifth highest number of hours as a fire responder with 126.5 hours. Other responders acknowledged for their time were Darius DeShong (208 hours), George Farrell (191.5), Tracy Miller (181.5), Jeff Black (165.5), Scott Saylor (125.5), Scott Vinson (90.5), Joe Ritchey (81), Yvette Miller (78) and Brian Barton (63.5).
Hustontown area resident Morris Crouse was honored Saturday evening for helping raise the money needed to run the company whether it be equipment needs or fuel to run the trucks. Emcee Souders said that the Ways & Means Award bestowed upon Crouse, who is very active during fundraising events, is voted on by fellow company members. In addition to Crouse, others mentioned as key players for raising funds include Morris's wife Charlotte, Kate Berkstresser, John and Betty Hann, and Fran Hoover.
A special plaque was presented to McConnellsburgbased auctioneer Max McQuade for his assistance with the company's monthly food auction. In giving the award to McQuade, Marvin DeShong stated when the idea for an auction was originally posed, the auctioneer never batted an eye when asked for help or has missed an event.
Auxiliary Committee President Shirley Tice presented gift cards to Betty Hann, Charlotte and Morris Crouse, Pam and Emily Karczewski, Jess Gearhart, Dorothy and Betty Shotts, Linda Seiders, Fran Hoover, Linda Black, Sarah Shaw, Fran Mellott, Jenn Clippinger, Neva Houck, Lee and Hilary Tice, and Murray Romig for their help during the year 2008. The group served 32 banquets, had 10 hall rentals and one funeral, used the food trailer five times and held events during the Fulton Fall Folk Festival.
Fire Police Capt. Joe Ritchey stressed the need for additional help with the fire police unit and presented socks and batons for use on the scene to Murray Romig and George Farrell.
Lifetime members recognized for 20 years of service were Connie Brown, Dan Thuma and Jon Rourke. A moment of silence was also given for deceased members Richard Burrall and Willis Heefner.
Community State Bank of Orbisonia representatives Pat Berrier and Maxine Newman received a standing ovation for their announcement and presentation of a $10,000 check to the Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co. The money has been earmarked for the company's ongoing building project to renovate the equipment bay.