Rescue Hose Company honors volunteers at annual banquet
Volunteers for Greencastle Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 were thanked for their service to the community Saturday night. At the 33rd annual awards banquet Jan. 16, President William Hull, ending seven years in the position, expressed his appreciation for the hours and labors put forth by members of the administration, fire department, emergency medical services, fire police and junior roster.
He cited the value of volunteers to America, which saved citizens $37 billion to use for other needs. With 75 percent of local calls medically-related, he noted the need for continued training for the people who responded.
Especially since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, reality took a new direction. "That changed expectations. Emergency services are now the first line of defense in our country," said Hull.
The RHC's biggest challenge continues to be recruitment and retention of volunteers, with four years the average length of service. He attributed that to the demands made personally through the number of calls, training and time commitment required, and that citizens generally were not aware of the need for more manpower. He urged innovation in attracting more volunteers.
To the members present at the Special Events Center, Hull concluded, "Success rests in your hands. Thank you for your commitment and vision."
Each department head presented awards to members deserving of special recognition. Shanon Hummer, who was vice president the past seven years and stepped into the presidency, presented the Outstanding Service Award to Kevin Barnes. Barnes joined the RHC in 1979 and has served on various committees, assumed officer positions and operated the apparatus. He is currently Fire Chief.
Other recipients were: President's Award, Harry Myers; Jr. Firefighter of the Year, Meredith Runshaw; EMS Rookie of the Year, Robert Alger; EMS Officer of the Year, Rich Wertman; EMT of the Year, Michelle Pittman; Special Recognition, John Phillippy; Fire Rookie of the Year, Brandon Hann; Greencastle Police Department Special Award, Roger Johns on behalf of the fire police; Fire Police Award, William White, Jr.
In honoring the fire police for the first time, Police Chief Phillippy said, "They take all kinds of abuse. They get up in the middle of the night when everyone else wants to sleep. They stand in the rain and the cold and get cursed. But they make the lives of our police officers so much better."
Emergency services responded to 1,075 calls in 2009. The fire department responded to 513 calls with an average on 11 people, up from nine in 2008. The response areas were Antrim Township, 284; Greencastle, 99; Washington County, 36; 11 other townships, four other boroughs, and one other county. The fire police went on 277 calls. GPD also responded to 130 EMS calls.
Members of the company who died in the past year were honored: Beverly Freeman, Larry Fuss, Gladys Gayman, R. Albert Grosh, Eugene S. Goetz, Frank Kesselring, M. Joan Miller, Donald Oberholzer, Anna Snoke, Harold Snoke and Paul Swope.
Serving as chaplains for the banquet ceremonies were Wayne Warren, Harry Myers and Don Eshleman Sr. Splitting duties as Master of Ceremonies were Greg Hoover and Ben Thomas, Jr.