A WORTHY HONOREE — Pictured is Mary Crandall, who received the firefighter of the year award, alongside Fire Chief Kevin Murray. Photo by Leo Mrugala.
WEST VALLEY — The West Valley Volunteer Hose Company held its annual installation banquet and awards ceremony on Jan. 19, at West Valley’s Memorial Hall.
Dinner was provided by Judy Ball and Darlene Ford of Apple Dumplin’. Steve Frank of ADO Sound kept the crowd entertained, throughout the evening.
The Reverend William Kay gave an opening invocation and Chief Kevin Murray welcomed all guests and thanked the people who made the event possible. “We had another great year of fundraising, as our raffles were extremely successful, once again,” he said. “I would like to thank anyone that sold tickets for us, because, without their help, the raffle would not have been as successful as it was.”
The fire company’s line officers include Murray, First Assistant Chief Steve Wedvik, Second Assistant Chief Dave Smith, Third Assistant Chief Mary Crandall, Fourth Assistant Chief Shawn VanOcker and Fire Captain Larry Nagel. Fire lieutenants included Michael Parish, Charles Schichtel, Robert Rogers and John Pfeffer. Rescue lieutenants were Tom Miller, Kent Hoppel, Heather Lafferty and Melina Mellon. Dan Worral is the fire police lieutenant.
Executive officers are President John Pfeffer, Vice President Bob Rogers, Secretary Mellon and Treasurer Mychelle McNeil Wedvik. Members of the board of directors included Don Hansen, Pfeffer, Hoppel, Nagel and Worral.
Pfeffer said that the officers deserve recognition and thanks. “Every officer contributes something that is special,” he said. “They give up a lot of time in their busy lives, to help, and we really appreciate all that they do.”
Several new members were sworn in, during the event. Welcomed into service were Richard Bernstein, Frank Cardamone, Kari Klein, Tim Bragg, John Wloch, Sue Nelson, Shawn Bryant, Ryan Phillippi, John Patti, Judy Bragg and Ginny Wloch.
Pfeffer said that the company welcomes new members, each year, who he said fit right in. “We have quite a few new members this year and, just like every year, we know that they will be there when they are called upon,” he said.
The Firefighter of the Year Award, which Murray said is given to “the person who goes above and beyond the responsibilities of being a West Valley volunteer firefighter,” was given to Mary Crandall.
In presenting the award, Murray said that he was not surprised by the designation. “Mary is consistently one of our top responders and she is always willing to put in the extra time, to help out with whatever it is that needs to get done,” he said. “She has received this honor, in the past and, if everything continues, I’m sure she’ll receive it again, at some point.”
When he presented the statistics for 2012, Wedvik said that it was a busy year, for everyone. “We answered just short of 200 calls for the year,” he said. “We had 63 [advanced life service] requests, 59 [basic life support] requests, 22 smoke-related calls, 20 hazard calls, six service calls, five motor vehicle accidents and four transports.”
Kay ended the evening with a benediction and said a prayer for the upcoming year, remembering the fallen victims of the past year. “May God guide you all and grant you joy, in your service,” he said. “May he watch over you, at all times. As we remember the tragedy in Webster, we pray for those victims and their families.”