Rescue Hose Co. holds 41st annual banquet

Shawn Hardy
Award recipients at the 41st annual Rescue Hose Co. banquet: Greencastle Police Chief John Phillippy, EMS appreciation award for his department; Virginia Barnes, President’s Award; Nancy Myers, EMS Chief’s Award; and Stacie Wolfe and Cheryl Mowen, 20-year life members. Back: Antrim Township Administrator Brad Graham and Supervisor John Alleman, Fire Police Award; Richard D. Miller Jr., 25-year life member; Connor Elyard, Junior Firefighter of the Year; and William Hull, Outstanding Service Award. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

Members of the Rescue Hose Co. came together to recognize their achievements, celebrate their brotherhood (which includes the female members, too) and remember those lost in 2017 at the 41st annual banquet Saturday night at the Fountainhead Country Club.

“Our call volume continues to increase each year,” said President Cheryl Mowen, who noted a total of 2,228 calls — 677 fire calls and 1,551 EMS calls — in 2017.

“This is a busy, busy organization that would cost our taxpayers millions,” said Ben Thomas Jr., who served as master of ceremonies.

“We continued to keep our community, our members and our staff our top priority,” said Mowen, explaining the Rescue Hose Co.’s foundation is pride, tradition, brotherhood and service.

Mowen presented a number of awards, including the Outstanding Service Award. Nominated and voted on by the executive board, it is based on everything from active service and leadership to dedication and community relations.

“You are far more than just an engineer,” Mowen said to recipient William Hull.

A life member, Hull has held various officer positions, was instrumental in starting the junior firefighter program, is a driver, serves on committees, helps with bingo, the carnival and fund drives and is a mentor to Mowen.

Mowen gave the President’s Award to Virginia Barnes, saying she “goes above and beyond regularly” with selfless actions not done for an award. Mowen talked about how much Barnes helps her and used words like innate, genuine, kind, composed, adaptable, intuitive and understanding.

The junior members share a desire to learn, train each week and clock as many hours as they can at the fire house said Mowen, who is one of the advisers.

Connor Elyard was named Junior Firefighters of the Year and Mowen said he “eats, sleeps and breathes the brotherhood of this department.”

EMS Chief Richard Wertman presented the Ambulance Chief’s Award to Nancy Myers who is always there when needed, dropping off food and ready when CPR cards need renewed. Wertman also recognized the Greencastle Police Department for always being there when needed and assisting EMS.

Also in the EMS field, Bill Little, a member of the Rescue Hose Co. and vice president of the Emergency Health Services Federation, a regional EMS council, presented Clinical Save Awards recognizing a successful resuscitation effort.

On Aug. 16, 2016, EMT Craig Myers performed CPR on a 55-year-old bicyclist who was pulseless after being hit by a car. He was able to restore a pulse and the rescue effort continued with the ambulance squad, Medic 2 and a life flight. The man, who still undergoes physical therapy, has come to the station to thank those who saved his life.

“In EMS, bringing someone back from death is one of the highest callings that can be answered,” Little said.

For their contributions, Craig Myers, Laura Schoonover, Kayla McCanns, Kyle Mellott, Richard Wertman and Brian Staub received the Clinical Save Award. Wertman added that Thomas Bricker, Tyler Barnhart and the fire police also were involved in the effort.

“What is a fire cop?” asked fire police Capt. Paul Leister. He said many view fire police as a nuisance who cause an inconvenience, but they are there to protect firefighters, EMS and the public.

He added that some fire police take vacation for special events like Old Home Week and Sidewalk Days to make sure they are on hand to ensure people have a good time.

He presented the Fire Police Award to Antrim Township supervisors for their support and cooperation throughout the year.

Fire Chief Kevin Barnes broke down the call numbers Mowen gave even further. The fire company’s 677 calls saw an average response of 8.38 personnel and covered 364.78 hours or nearly 22,000 minutes. On a personnel basis, that translates to 83,413 minutes, 3,056 hours or 127 days. More than 90 members answered at least one call in 2017.

“We’re a brotherhood of people who sometimes see each other more than our blood relatives,” according to Chaplain Dave Delauter.

It’s not just about the calls, Barnes said, explaining there is training, fundraising, meetings, emptying the trash, washing apparatus and accepting ownership of “our department.”

He presented a certificate of appreciation Dave Hann Jr., who is stepping down from his position as assistant fire chief.

The evening also included life membership recognition. Life membership is earned with 20 years of active service or 25 years of service.

50 years — Harold Bricker, Mildred Huffman, James Miller and Ruby Shank

25 years — David Black Jr., William Brown, James Byers, Lance May, Richard Miller Jr. and Elizabeth Roberts

20 years — William Hull, Jason Koons, Cheryl Mowen and Stacie Wolfe.

The Fountainhead banquet room was silent as a candle was lit and the bell tolled for each member of the Rescue Hose Co. who died in 2017: Charles Bingaman, Albert Bowders, James Craig, Lloyd Cunningham, Norman Hann Sr., Owen Henry, Donald Hoover and Glenn Kuhn.

“The eight members lost in 2017 did a heck of a job for this community,” Thomas said.