The Westmoreland Volunteer Fire Department and their families remembered the emergency calls and members who passed in 2012 at the annual Westmoreland County Volunteer Fire Department Installation of Officers and Awards Banquet last Saturday in Montross.
Most notably, members remembered the late Pearl Sydnor, for 41 years of service, and Bobby Mothershead, for 16 years and a table was set in their honor. Guest speaker Mark Doyle, assistant chief of Stafford County Fire and Rescue, said after dinner that a community-based fire department such as Westmoreland is an exceptional asset.
“You have a very special group here,” said Doyle.
Doyle spoke about retaining and recruiting staff during a national decline in numbers of volunteers.
Congressman Rob Wittman attended, and expressed thanks for the department, volunteers and all those that serve. Wittman assisted with the installation of fire department and auxiliary officers. Barbara Jean Jones will lead the auxiliary as president, followed by Bonita Fulcher as vice president. Serving as secretary is Brenda Reamy, Charlotte Kaputa as treasurer, Pamela Clark as chaplain and Kim Zimmerman as reporter.
Billy Taylor will lead the fire department as president with David Jones as vice president. Russ Culver will serve as secretary, followed by Ferdie Fax Chandler Jr. as the treasurer, Eddie Weston as chief, Mickey Hawkins as safety officer, and Kim Harvey and Rhys Weakley as directors.
Weston said in the past year, the department responded to 518 calls.
“It takes everybody’s help,” said Weston, thanking all the department and auxiliary members, and staff at the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Office.
Among the fire department’s awards, Les Sisson received the firefighter of the year award, Brian Weston the life saving award, Mike Painter the search and recovery award, Thomas Trader the second highest training award, Corey Landon the top training award and Carrington Balderson the probationary firefighter of the year award.
Ashley Pitts was honored for being the top responder last year with 306 out of 518. Painter followed with 303 calls, John Pitts with 292, Eddie Weston with 258, Trader with 240, David Jones with 236, Bill Taylor with 209, Mickey Hawkins with 175, Billy Sydnor with 160 and David Morgans with 149.
Bill Taylor was recognized for serving 25 years with the department, followed by Calvin Balderson with 20 and Brian Weston with 15.
Jean Jones also recognized three auxiliary members Judy Johnson with 35 years of service followed by Elaine Saunders with 30 and Charlotte Kaputa with five.
Ricky Wilkins rendered the music for the evening and Danny Riley gave the invocation and benediction.