By Linda Dillman
Firefighter Larry Baugess runs in marathon across the country, but his days of running into fires and saving lives is coming to an end following his retirement from the Madison Township Fire Department.
During a ceremony at the Madison Township trustees’ Feb. 9 meeting, Baugess handed over Badge One—worn by the most senior member of the department—to Firefighter Ed Dildine, who became the longest serving active duty member of the department following Baugess’ departure.
“We all have badge numbers,” said Fire Chief Derek Robinson. “This (wearing of Badge One) was started years ago. His father (Ed Dildine, Sr.) was the first one to receive Badge One.”
Baugess stepped down after a 33 and a half year career, but he is not planning on slowing down. The avid distance runner is pursuing a distinction many fellow runners can appreciate.
“He is about to complete his second round of running marathons in every state,” said Robinson. “He’s kind of like a free block watch because he’s always out running.”
Dildine started as a volunteer with the Madison Township Fire Department in 1990 and was hired on a full time in 1994. He also currently serves on Groveport City Council and is in his fifth term as a council member.
Alum Creek Drive project
Brad Foster, chief deputy of operations for the Franklin County Engineer’s office, reported on a proposed project improving Alum Creek Drive from State Route 317 to Groveport Road, with a projected construction time frame of 2028 to 2029.
The estimated cost is $58.5 million, with 80 percent covered by federal dollars and the remaining 20 percent from $11.5 million in local money, including public and private funds.
Replacing the bridge crossing Big Walnut Creek and adding additional lanes to Alum Creek Drive without major interruptions to traffic are key pieces of the project. Foster said many of the shipments heading to the new Intel facility in Licking County will pass in and out of the Rickenbacker airport.
“Alum Creek Drive is a major thoroughfare,” said Foster. “We need all stakeholders (Columbus, Groveport, Obetz and Madison and Hamilton townships) on board.”
Other Madison Township news
•The Madison Township Police are partnering with Project Starfish, which is providing children’s books to the department free of charge as part of the Books and Badges program. Officers will visit local schools and hand out the books to students.
Each book includes a unique sticker and will be signed by the officer reading the book as a keepsake of the event.
“Our officers will read the book to children,” said Police Chief Gary York. “Each officer in the department will have the opportunity to read to the children. We’re pretty excited about this.”
•Trustee meeting dates are changing. The board will now meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. from March through November.
•Robinson thanked the trustees for the promotion of Lt. Josh Ruetsch as the fire department’s chief training officer, Firefighter Mike Kipp to lieutenant and part time Firefighter Alek Stonerock to full time status. In addition to other duties, Ruetsch is now in charge of coordinating emergency medical service training for all shifts.