“I’m like the bird that couldn’t follow directions, and he decided to just wing it,” joked Pastor James, as he provided a light-hearted invocation for the Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company’s (RRVFC) annual banquet held on January 24, 2019. Members of Company 6 filled in the RRVFC’s banquet area in Rocky Ridge, ready to enjoy the evening with friends, family and neighbors to celebrate their hard work in 2018.
RRVFC lost two members during 2018. Lenard T. King, Sr., who served as an active member of the fire company since 1968. Lenard served as a fire prevention officer for Montgomery County, as well as president of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association from 1985 to 1986. He then spent many subsequent years serving as secretary for the organization. Lenard passed away February 1st, 2018.
George Anzelone passed August 27, 2018. He joined the fire company in 2016 and the RRVFC Auxiliary in 2017. A past president of the Thurmont Senior Center, George enjoyed volunteering his time to help out where he could.
President Dale Kline, a member for fifty-four years proudly stated, “This marks our 70th year of Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Company.” Rocky Ridge is currently one of five fire companies left in Frederick County, that still runs only on a volunteer status. Dale mentioned, “It might not mean a lot to a lot of you, but if you stop and think about what you have to pay in taxes if these people weren’t volunteers and this equipment was not paid for by the community, you can imagine what your tax bill would be.” He thanked the community for all of their support.
Dale reminisced on the successful fundraisers the company put on during the past year. Every year, the weather can really affect the outcome of the carnival. Fortunately, with only two nights of rain during the week-long event held at Mt. Tabor Park in Rocky Ridge, people still made their way out to grab a bite to eat. Another very successful fundraiser that is held twice a year is the Country Butchering & Breakfast. Other events that were recognized were Ridgefest, monthly Bingo, and the Santa Detail and Workshop. “It’s unbelievable what a community can do when they set their hearts and efforts to it,” said President Dale Kline.
Mrs. Betty Ann Mumma joined the President at the front of the room. As President of the Ladies Auxiliary, Betty Ann explained to the hall that this year Buddy Stover would be spearheading the “25 Club Raffle,” a dinner and drawing to benefit the fire company. This past year, the auxiliary cut back on the bingo events and that impacted the amount of money that was raised. “We plan to bounce back this year,” Betty Ann said with a big smile. She then presented President Kline with a check for $10,000 to help with funding new equipment and tools necessary for the fire company to operate in the future.
This year, the RRVFC Auxiliary had a long list of accomplishments. Some of which included, preparing and serving 4 Butchering Dinners and 2 Pancake Breakfasts, preparing 181 creme pies for Easter, preparing and processing 800 pounds of chicken, 34 country hams, 180 fruit pies and 256 creme pies for the carnival. ‘Sixx girls’ made 36 peanut butter pies and the Auxiliary matched their donation with another 36 to sell at the carnival.
The president stated, “We’re always looking for new members.” He recognized families have busy schedules, which makes it harder and harder to find new members. However, RRVFC continues to grow year by year by 3-4 new members. Most volunteer their time on the social end, however they would like to gain more support on the operational side.
A special recognition was given to a non-member, Mark Brum. After RRVFC purchased the land for the new parking lot, Mark was contracted to complete the parking lot. Due to constant rain last summer, his days were limited to complete the job. The goal was to have the parking lot complete by the parade night during the carnival. Dale stated, “Wednesday morning, they were in here doing the final stone and grading. By golly, by evening, it was ready to park on!”. He was assisted by members Ronnie Eyler and Alan Hurley.
Over the course of 2018, RRVFC kept busy running 219 emergency calls—117 of which were mutual aid, 3 service calls, 4 drills, and 13 public service details. Volunteers contributed over 1,000 hours. Out of 219 calls, Special Unit 13 was called 116 times, the second most common call was house fires, with 21 calls, and the third most frequent were vehicle accidents with a total of 13 calls. The busiest day of the week for RRVFC was Wednesday with 43 calls. The busiest month was January with 28 calls.
Linda Northrup and Bonny Hurley, who serve on the RRVFC awards committee came forward to reward the hard-working volunteers of the fire company. The first award that was given recognized an “Outstanding Junior” of the fire company. This year, Hunter Hurley volunteered 98 hours and was well recognized for his time.
The Charles Mumma Firefigher of the year award, one of RRVFC’s most prestigious awards was given to Alan Brauer, Sr. for over fifty years of service and dedication to the fire company. Alan joined the company in 1963. Since then, he has held multiple positions in the company, including secretary, assistant secretary and vice president. He was a part of Frederick County’s HAZMAT Team, and stays up to date with a refresher course every year. His nick name is “Mr. HAZMAT.” Alan has operated the dime pitch stand at the carnival since 1975. He currently serves as the captain of the Fire Police.
This year’s Robert Albaugh Outstanding Volunteer Award was presented to Helen Burrier. Helen has been a member since 1967. She served on the board of directors for several terms. Known as the “Gravy Lady,” she has been on the go for many gallons of gravy, and has contributed her time as the maker of the meringue for pies throughout the years.
Steve Wolfe received recognition for this year’s “Honor Member.” Like Helen, Steve has also served many terms on the board of directors. During the carnival, Steve enjoys helping out in the ham sandwich stand. Steve has spent much of his volunteer time helping set up for suppers and oversees the dining room for the Auxiliary’s banquets.
Denny and Paulette Mathias of RRVFC took the podium to award members with Length of Service pins. Five-year recipients were: Ed Knott, Bob Wiles, Kay Enzer and Steve Orndorff. Ten-year recipients: Rodman Myers, Bill Wachter, Jeff Reaver, Bruce Rice, Joey Youngerman, Megan Baugher, and Patt Riggs. Fifteen-year recipients included Craig Hovermale, and the Beal Family Amanda, Bonnie and Herman. Twenty-year recipients included Cindy Hart and Christine Hurley. Twenty-five year recipient was Alan Brauer, Jr. Thirty-year recipients: Ronnie Hahn and Larry Eyler. Thirty-five year recipients: Donna Kline and John Clark. Forty-year recipient: Daniel Whetzel. Forty-five year recipients: Steve Wolfe and Ed Northrup.
For the first time ever, RRFVC celebrated a member who has been a part of the company for fifty-five years. “We found out they didn’t even make pins for someone that old!” Paulette Mathias joked. Instead of receiving a pin, Alan Brauer, Sr. received a special certificate to show the company’s appreciation.
The Chief’s Award was presented by Alan Hurley. “This year has been a little busy for us, I’d like to thank all of you for your time, for being a part of our communities and thank the families,” said Alan. He recognized his fellow line officers, Captain Jim Rice and assistant chiefs, Kevin Albaugh and Luke Humerick.
Top Fire Police for the year included Alan Brauer, Sr. and Steve Orndorff. Top EMS Responders included Christina Hurley, Bonny Hurley, and Matt Moser.
Top Ten Responders were Alan Hurley, Matt Moser, Christina Hurley, Kevin Albaugh, Bonny Hurley, Luke Humerick, Wesley Burrier, Jamison Mathias, Dennis Mathias, a tie at tenth between Alan Brauer, Sr. and Buddy Stover.
Luke Humerick stood to recognize his group of Junior Members. He said, “We’ve had a great group of kids this year. They’re hard workin’ and fun to be around. They were always willing to help, no matter what the task was.” The juniors wrangled up more than 240 hours of volunteer time at the fire company and volunteering with events.
“I think he knows everyone in the Rocky Ridge area. If he doesn’t know you, you’re new.” Dale Kline commented while introducing the recipient of the President’s Award. Bun Wivell was awarded for his forty years of hard work as Treasurer for RRVFC.
Like Bun Wivell, every member has a role in the company. Whether it be managing the finances, making fluffy meringue, or managing a supper, all the members join together to support each other in their community and keep a good thing going for now seventy years—and many more to come!
Linda Northrup presents Helen Burrier the Robert Albaugh Outstanding Volunteer Award.
Pictured are Bun Wivell, Alan Hurley, and Dale Kline.