Gartland Named HAVFCO Firefighter Of The Year
Among those taking home top honors was hometown boy Kodi Gartland, who was named as the 2011 Firefighter of the Year. The 25-year-old Hustontown area man accepted the prestigious award, later telling friends and family it was a “great honor” to be selected.
In speaking with the “News,” Gartland said he joined the fire company almost three years ago because “he enjoys helping people.” He said his favorite part of being with HAVFCO is “interior firefighting” due to the thrill of being inside a burning structure.
Surprised when he received the award, Gartland said the experience was very exciting. He was quick to point out, however, it takes the whole team to make the company function. “There’s more than one seat in the engine,” he said.
Gartland, a graduate of the Forbes Road School District, was also among the top-10 responders under the guidance of Fire Chief Darius DeShong at the 43rd annual banquet. Gartland finished out last year with a total of 113 volunteer hours logged, in addition to the time he proudly gives to the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
Other top responders in 2011 were Tracy Miller (212 hours); Darius DeShong (171); Jeff Black (154); Ray Clark (148); Thane Fix (127); Brandon Gelvin (124); Scott Vinson (124); Scott Roher (111); and Troy Bookheimer (84).
DeShong said the company responded to a myriad of calls, including 41 assists; motor-vehicle accidents, 26; motor-vehicle fires, 4; structure fires, 15; trainings, 16; public service calls, 44; medical assists, 5; brush fires, 2; miscellaneous calls, 3; and automatic alarms, 4. In responding to the dispatches, company equipment logged 6,545 miles and used 81,815 gallons of water.
Hustontown resident Pam (Crouse) Karczewski was presented the EMT of the Year award by event emcee Berley Souders. Karczewski, a 1986 graduate of Forbes Road, has been a longtime fixture at the fire company, accompanying her parents to functions as a youngster and in recent years bringing her husband, Ed, and their children, Nathan and Emily.
Thankful for the support and excited over being an award recipient, Karczewski said she was 13 years old when she became one of the first junior members at HAVFCO. She has been an EMT since she was 16.
In accepting the award, it was noted Karczewski logged a total of 178 hours as an EMS responder in 2011. Fellow top responders were Brian Barton (274 hours); Barb Smith (225); Christine Englert (207); Scott Vinson (119); Shelby Knepper (100); Yvette Miller (72); Randy Black (33); Sheila Barton (32) and Marvin DeShong (25). Meanwhile, Missy Souders was the top first responder after having given 368 hours to the company in 2011. Top driver was Ray Clark with 62 hours.
Individuals receiving further recognition from ambulance Chief Brian Barton for having passed their first-responder test were Rebecca Ford, Joy Ford, Skyler DeShong, Jessica Gearhart and Missy Souders. Souders and Rebecca Ford were also touted for coming on board as new EMTs for the company.
Elner DeShong noted in her annual report on activities overseen by the Ways & Means Committee that committee members were active with fundraising, cleaning, making repairs and maintenance. DeShong’s report also touched on the company’s shooting matches, food auctions and open stage events that draw in a crowd.
Taking home the Ways & Means of the Year Award was Betty Hann, who along with her late husband, John, were instrumental in helping the fire company take root in northern Fulton County. Hann was presented her plaque by emcee Souders as part of her ongoing dedication and devotion.
Shirley Tice, president of the HAVFCO Auxiliary, reported the auxiliary had a busy year, which included serving 32 banquets, five hall rentals, two fundraisers, two food trailers, Fulton Fall Folk Festival and a benefit dinner for a company member. Tice indicated the auxiliary also published its third cookbook that featured over 300 delicious recipes.
Additional awards handed out Saturday night were the President’s Award and Chief’s Award, which were both given to company vice president and Ambulance Chief Brian Barton. An integral member of HAVFCO, Barton formerly served in the capacity of company president.
The company honored lifetime member Berley Souders, who has logged 20 years with HAVFCO. Deceased members Loni Crouse and Betty Malot were remembered by members as part of the evening’s proceedings during a moment of silence.