Firefighters honored for dedication and service

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By Noell Wolfgram Evans
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Noell Wolfgram Evans
Lt. Joshua Hammond spoke to the crowd at the Evans Senior Center after being named Jackson Township Firefighter of the Year.

The stage of the E.L. Evans Senior Center was covered in Old Glory bunting and red, white, and blue streamers. Cookies and punch sat patiently on tables in the back. Hardly usual for a township trustee meeting, but this was no usual meeting.

The Jackson Township Board of Trustees recently held the Jackson Township 2017 Awards and Promotions Ceremony.

During the night, Caleb Scott was promoted to the position of part-time inspector. Receiving a promotion as full-time firefighters were Joe Grace and Mitch Shroyer. Mark Flowers and Joshua Hammond moved up to the rank of lieutenant while 22-year veteran Dan Tilley was named captain. The township also has a new battalion chief – Jim Parmenter.

Gilbert Sheets, the township’s current battalion chief will be retiring after 40 years of service. His retirement is effective July 14.

“Each and every one does a tremendous job for us,” said trustee Dave Burris.
Fire Chief Randy Little next turned the attention of the overflow crowd to those celebrating anniversaries.

“Our experienced people,” Little said, “helped build Jackson Township into what it is today.”

Celebrating five years with the department was Richard Eisel, while Daniel Levesque and Perry Radi celebrated 10 years of service. Also honored were William Callahan, Mark Flowers, Daniel Miller, and Kenneth Sayre who all hit the 20 year mark. Timothy Burleson and Alexander Maust celebrated 25 years of service to the department.

“This is a great night for Jackson Township,” Deputy Fire Chief Shawn Quincel said before honoring 15 firefighters for having perfect attendance and nine for outstanding attendance.
Little took time to thank the entire department for their hard work and service over the years.

“They give so much to the fire department, even on their days off. It’s important that we recognize that formally, like today, but also every day. I want to personally thank you all for the great things you do everyday.”

The first of the major awards, EMS excellence, was presented to Matt Headlee, David Jacob, Jon Kirkpatrick, Lt. Luke Smith, and Rob Sneller. Before receiving their awards a letter was shared from a resident who cited the team for their “Timely, professional, knowledgeable decisions. I would not be here today without them.”

Chris Fraley, Jamie Irwin, Jon Kirkpatrick, David Miller, and Lt. Brian Wess were honored with the fire chief’s award. Little shared a story of how the team helped a couple travelling from New York to Florida. They broke down in the township, knowing no one. After help from the fire department though they left the area with a host of friends.

“It was the little touches,” said Little, “that people put on the runs that makes me proud.”

The outstanding public service award is presented to individuals who “promote the image of the fire department within the community.” Jason Adams, Troy Coffey, Ryan Feyh, Mark Flowers, Ben Hart, Matt headlee, Jamie Irwin, Anthony LaBianca, Mitch Shroyer, Lt. Brian Wess, and Chris Weyandt shared this award.

For commendable performance of acts or duties, Lt. Richard Flanagan and Chad Layton were honored with the distinguished service award for their actions during a house fire that saved a resident’s life.

The big award of the night was firefighter of the year as it’s one that you must be nominated for by your peers. This year’s honoree Lt. Joshua Hammond was described by Quincel as, “Outstanding. A go to guy.” Accepting the award, a visibly moved Hammond described how honored he was that his fellow firefighters felt this strongly about him.

The final award of the night was officer of the year.

In presenting the award, Quincel said, “There are few things more valuable than someone who trains you, makes sure you stay in the lanes, and go home safely at night.”

Lt. Richard Flanagan was chosen as that man.

Burris took a moment to thank Little and Quincel for their work, while trustee Jim Rauck said,
“Tonight we are among the best of the best. And we appreciate you all.”

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