2013-03-21 / Front Page

Roher Gets Top HAVFCO Honors

45th annual dinner held Saturday
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz


2012 Firefighter of the Year Scott Roher 2012 Firefighter of the Year Scott Roher NEWS EDITOR

Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co., honored its own Saturday night, citing old and new members alike for their dedication and vision.

While only having joined the company three years ago, Scott Roher has made his presence and willingness to learn known among fellow Hustontown company members. In awarding Roher the highest honor of 2012 Firefighter of the Year, event emcee Berley Souders said Roher was hand-selected by a group of his peers and the membership at large.

In addition to having taken emergency vehicle operations training, Roher is a past recipient of the Fire Chief’s Award and last year made the top-10 fire responders after having logged a total of 166 hours, Souders stated. Roher was also touted as being active in fundraising and is currently serving in the capacity of fire lieutenant.

Surrounded by 15 prior recipients of the Firefighter of the Year award, a humble Roher accepted the award at the 45th annual banquet while offering a simple “thank you” to the crowd on hand.


Fire Chief Darius DeShong (left) presents his son, Skyler DeShong with the coveted Chief's Award during the 45th annual banquet. Skyler DeShong logged a total of 208 hours as the top fire responder in 2012. Fire Chief Darius DeShong (left) presents his son, Skyler DeShong with the coveted Chief's Award during the 45th annual banquet. Skyler DeShong logged a total of 208 hours as the top fire responder in 2012. Other top fire responders in 2012 were Tracy Miller (186 hours), Kodi Gartland (179), Ethan Love (168), Jeff Black (149), Darius DeShong (149), Scott Vinson (117), Thane Fix (104) and Chelsea Hockenberry (97).

Meanwhile, Hustontown resident Melissa Souders was called to the podium by ambulance chief Brian Barton as the 2012 recipient of the EMT of the Year award. Noting an EMT may find themselves entering a twisted automobile to help a crash victim or bending over a heart-attack victim, Barton said an EMT never works under ordinary circumstances but will find themselves answering the call any time of the day or night. Souders meets all of those criteria, the ambulance chief told the crowd, as she runs calls day or night, in hot or cold, while also holding down a job.


Ambulance Chief Brian Barton, left, presents the 2012 EMT of the Year Award to Melissa Souders. Souders was top EMS responder for the year after having logged 322 hours. Ambulance Chief Brian Barton, left, presents the 2012 EMT of the Year Award to Melissa Souders. Souders was top EMS responder for the year after having logged 322 hours. He added she had been “busting her hump since she started” at the firehall, which was evident in the list of top 10 EMS responders for 2012. Souders came out on top with 322 hours while also diligently working toward obtaining her EMT certification along with fellow member Becky Ford. Following Souders on the top EMS responder list were Barton with 282 hours, Christine Englert (249), Shelby Knepper (123), Randy Black (109), Becky Ford (68), Scott Vinson (60), Sheila Barton (59), Barb Smith (59) and Pam Karczewski (23). Top drivers were Ray Clark and Murray Romig with 69 and 68 hours, respectively.


Ambulance Chief Brian Barton, left, accepts the 2012 Ways and Means Award from banquet emcee Berley Souders. Ambulance Chief Brian Barton, left, accepts the 2012 Ways and Means Award from banquet emcee Berley Souders. Brian Barton was also among those honored at the annual banquet

Saturday night. A driving force at the firehall, Barton has been on the receiving end of multiple awards over the years including the most recent, the 2012 Ways and Means of the Year award. Emcee Souders said the fire company was funded initially through a nickel pitch at area events. Today, it requires hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the facility and its services operational.

Souders said he has been blessed with two daughters, four stepdaughters and multiple grandchildren. Saturday night he proudly bestowed the coveted Ways and Means award on Barton, his adopted son.

In addition to Barton’s assistance with fundraising, fire company members Dylan Black and Skyler DeShong were given special awards of recognition by the Ways and Means Committee. Both young men started in the company as junior members and focused their high school senior projects around the firehall. Black designed and painted the entrance door to the ambulance/truck bays. As a junior firefighter, he completed basic fire essentials as well as basic first aid. He graduated from basic training with honors and is currently serving the country in the United States Navy. His award was accepted by his father and company deputy fire chief Jeff Black.

DeShong’s senior project entailed raising money to refurbish the company’s original fire truck, a 1949 Ford. DeShong completed fire essentials and first responder classes and is currently working toward obtaining EMT status. He is studying fire science in hopes of becoming a professional firefighter.

In addition to his recognition from the Ways and Means Committee, Skyler DeShong was also awarded the Chief’s Award from his father and fire chief, Darius DeShong. The chief said his son started out in the same manner he did many years ago at the company following his dad’s coat tails, and over the years has accomplished many goals. While he still has some goals yet to reach, the chief said his son has made him proud with what he has tried to do. Skyler was noted as having earned the title of top fire responder in 2012 with 208 hours as well as top first responder for the ambulance company with 109 hours.

Perhaps the most touching award given during the evening was the President’s Award, which company President Tracy Miller said was decided on after thinking about where the company was, where it is now and where it will go. Miller stated undoubtedly a large debt of gratitude is owed to its charter members, who gathered around a table for the first time on November 2, 1966, to decide what they could do for the surrounding community. From a constitution and bylaws, the original members took the steps necessary before moving on to obtaining equipment necessary.

“Thank you, charter members. Without you there would be a lot of people suffering,” said Miller, who added he hoped the company will continue moving forward for another 45 years.

Accepting the President’s Award were charter members Fred Martz, Clark Brant, Ralph Helmen, Albert Corman, James Chestnut and Donald Black. Corman shared several humorous stories with the crowd about the founding days, and Brant noted it takes all kinds to run a fire company. Martz spoke briefly on how the company got into the “glass business” that funded the company “one nickel at a time.”

Marvin DeShong remembered members who have gone before us in 2012, including H. Reed Feight, John Hann, Lloyd Covert, Betty Shotts, Dorothy Shotts and Kathy Barnett.

The fire company responded to a total of 166 calls during 2012. Those figures included 28 motor vehicle accidents, 47 public service calls, 26 assists, 10 fires, nine training sessions, 23 cancelled calls, 42 miscellaneous calls and seven motor vehicle fires. Fire equipment logged 3,724 miles, and 33,558 gallons of water were hauled. Furthermore, the ambulance company went on a total of 259 calls for a overall mileage of 10,266 miles. One hundred eightysix patients received transport services, and the members responded to 34 calls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

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