Just as the sun began to set on Saturday, April 18, 2015, members and friends of the Graceham Volunteer Fire Company gathered to hold their annual banquet in recognition of the Company’s service in calendar year 2014.
A greeting was given by emcee, Brian Boller, who was president of the Company in 2014. Director/Chief of Volunteer Fire Rescue Services Chip Jewell led an invocation prior to guests and members being invited to partake in dinner, catered by Mountain Gate Family Restaurant.Guests such as Mr. and Mrs. John Roth of the State Fireman’s Association and Chief of Thurmont Police Department Greg Eyler and his wife attended the banquet in support of the Company’s service over the past year. Boller introduced these guests and handed the stage over to Chief Jim Kilby and Captain Scott Willard.
Kilby first recognized the entire Company for their outstanding work, as they were able to respond to all but 17 calls of their 260 total calls for the 2014 calendar year. The top five responders in the Company were recognized with framed awards: Hilary Blake, Matthew Mckeel, Matthew Moser, Kelly Willard, and Mike Beard.
The Company’s officers were also awarded for their response to calls over the past year: James Boyle, Jim Kilby, and Scott Willard.
Louis Powell Jr. was asked to the stage, where guests were introduced to the new operational officers of 2015: Chief Jim Kilby, Assistant Chief Louis Powell Jr., and Captain Scott Willard. All three officers were given a new, donated shield for their helmets. Following the presentation of the shields, Kilby turned the microphone back over to Boller, in conclusion of the Chief awards.
Boller presented the administrative awards, bypassing the standard top 10 LOSAP awards, as he explained to guests that being a small company means, “Everyone pretty much pitches in, and if you’re considered active out here, you get access to the hall, and we give free shirts out as certain awards [throughout the year].” Boller started the awards off with the Presidents’ Award. A member who has achieved ten years of active status within a company may become a “life-time member.”
Eddie Woods, Jr. was presented the President’s Award for his “on and off” active membership over the past twenty-seven years.
Boller explained that Woods would fall short of active status defined by the bylaws, but his dedication to drive from Riverdale, Maryland, and Hagerstown over the years to respond to calls for the Company was a feat in itself.
Scott Willard was also presented a President’s Award for his dedication to the Company, in addition to being both Kilby’s and Boller’s right-hand-man over the years.
Boller said proudly of Willard, “It’s the unseen little things that we recognize him for.”
Louis Powell Jr. was presented Life Membership, as he was the only member in 2014 to reach ten years of active status.
Just prior to the conclusion of the banquet, Boller asked that Chip Jewell say a few words to the night’s final award recipient, Kenneth “Doc” Simmers, Sr. Simmers was awarded with a surprise party in March for being recognized by the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association for achieving over fifty years of active volunteer fire service, from 1964 to 2015.
Boller had Simmers stand for a round of applause, and awarded him with a bronze fireman trophy and a customized Graceham Volunteer Fire Company jacket.
Boller summarized Simmers and his fifty years of service and dedication by saying, “Once it’s in your blood, it’s just kind of there!”
Wrapping up the banquet, Mr. John Roth of the State Fireman’s Association performed the Installation of the Officers ceremony.
Administrative Officers: Scott Willard, President; Louis Powell Jr., Vice President; Kelly Willard, Secretary; Hilary Blake, Asst. Secretary; Sterling Seiss, Treasurer; and Jim Kilby, Asst. Treasurer.
Board of Directors: Kenneth “Doc” Simmers, Sr., Brian Boller, Sterling Seiss, George “Junebug” Morningstar, Eugene Grimes, and Eddie Woods, Jr.
Operational Officers: Chief Jim Kilby, Assistant Chief Louis Powell Jr., and Captain Scott Willard.
New operational officers, Chief Jim Kilby, Assistant Chief Louis Powell Jr., and Captain Scott Willard were given a new, donated shield for their helmets.
During the Graceham Volunteer Fire Company’s Awards Banquet, Kenneth “Doc” Simmers, Sr. (center) was awarded a bronze fireman trophy and a customized Graceham Volunteer Fire Company jacket for being recognized by the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association for achieving over fifty years of active volunteer fire service.
In March, Kenneth “Doc” Simmers, Sr. was thrown a surprise party for his achievments over fifty years of active volunteer fire service and his recognition by the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Association.