Firefighters honored at banquet
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., May. 5, 2011
On April 30, the Town of Vernon Volunteer Fire Department honored its own at its annual banquet, held at Georgina's in Bolton. A few changes were made to the evening from past years.
The night was previously held for firefighters and department personnel only, but this year, spouses and significant others were encouraged to attend.
“For most of you,” Chief William Call told his firefighters, “you work a full-time job somewhere. Firefighting is a hobby - it's an avocation. You cannot do this job without support from your significant other. So, it's about time we had the wives and girlfriends come to our banquet. They should be a part of the banquet, because they are a part of the department. We cannot function without them.”
Councilwoman Marie Herbst read a poem that she'd composed about the department and added that she was honored to have been invited to the banquets for the past 30 years.
“They give me such a feeling of goodness,” she said, adding that she could “tell stories” to the firefighters' wives, many of whom she'd met for the first time.
Herbst and Mayor Jason McCoy both thanked the department members for their help shoveling snow from school roofs this past winter.
“I want to thank everyone for doing that,” McCoy said. “It's wonderful to be able to serve with you guys, and to see all of the work that you do.”
McCoy also presented a proclamation from his office and the Town Council, on behalf of the town, to the department.
Call also thanked firefighters for their service, and said that, after reviewing records, he determined that the TVFD is responsible for having saved 17 residents' lives over the past year.
“You volunteer your time, your interests, your weekends, your Thanksgiving dinner,” Call told firefighters, “to help the guy down the road. Take pride in that. This business, with the exception of the United States military, is the most noble of causes there is. They give their lives for the freedom of this country. You give your lives for the guy next door.”
Certificates were given for five-year increment milestones in years of service. Fifteen had served for 20 years or more. Most notably, Al fred Dreher was honored for his 55 years of service on the Fire Police.
Also new this year, department members were awarded their promotions at the banquet, rather than at a separate ceremony.
Promotions were also given to 16 officers.
The Junior Firefighter of he Year award was presented to Christopher Bifolck, and David Dube took home the EMT of the Year award.
The Firefighter of the Year award (which Call said this year was called the Fire Officer of the Year award) was given to David Galley.
“He ran one of the toughest companies in the department - one of the busiest engine companies,” Call said.