Photos By Shelley Polonski
Saturday night members of the River Plantation Fire Department came together for their annual awards banquet. They also celebrated reaching an important milestone, their tenth year of service. Up until this year when Grangerland Fire Department and Bennett Estates Fire Department were combined into one new department, Caney Creek Fire Department, they were the youngest Fire Department in Montgomery County.
The evening was opened with a heartwarming prayer by ESD 5 board member Homer Wilson followed by dinner provided by the River Plantation Country Club. While dining the fire fighters watched a photo slideshow of themselves in action the previous year. The photo and video show has become somewhat of a tradition among fire fighters as an opportunity to remember the past year of service, showcase their adventures to their families, and laugh at their exploits caught on film that only a family as close as fire fighters can have.
After the junior fire fighter members pulled tickets for door prizes provided and donated by local businesses came the presentation of this year’s awards by Chief Randy Oliver and Assistant Chief John Farthing. This year’s award recipients’ were:
EMS Award of the Year: Justin Childers
Justin possesses an eagerness to perform the “work horse” job of the fire service, emergency medical response.
EDS Member of the Year: Charlie Hair
Presented for outstanding service providing the Department with the resources necessary to perform their duties.
Appreciation Award for Dedication to Service: James Murphy
James was recognized for consistently providing fire ground support by responding to countless fire scenes with additional tanker support after the duty crew had responded and left the station empty.
100 Run Club: For responding to at least 100 emergency calls in 2010
Chief John Farthing * made the most calls with 174
Chief Randy Oliver
Ellie Hoover Award: Cliff Williams
This award was named for community member Ellie Hoover, who was recognized for dedication to assisting members of the community and the fire service. It was presented to Cliff for exhibiting those same traits and dedication to the citizens of River Plantation.
Chiefs Choice Award: Steve Polonski
Steve was recognized for his effort in assuming responsibility of the Junior Firefighter Program.
Outstanding Service Award: John Breaux
John was recognized for his attention to detail in all aspects of the day to day operation of a full service fire department.
Junior Member of the Year: Nathan Raulz
Nathan exudes the passion and energy required to begin a career in the fire service.
Rookie of the Year: John Zabala
Presented to a fire fighter still in their first year with River Plantation who exhibits extraordinary dedication to the fire service.
Duty Crew of the Year: Courtney Moody
Presented to a full time duty crew member that expends extra effort in performing their duties in the day to day operation of the fire department.
Officer of the Year: Chief John Farthing
Voted on by the “working class” member fire fighter of the department.
Fire Fighter of the Year: Shane Orr
This award is presented to a fire fighter how performed above and beyond the call of duty consistently through out the year.
The evening was closed with remarks by River Plantation Fire Chief Randy Oliver in which he thanked the fire fighters for their dedication to service to the citizens of River Plantation and a speech by ESD member Charlie Hair, who is recognized as the founder of River Plantation Fire Department. Mr. Hair expressed his excitement that the department had reached such an important milestone. “When I first started this fire department” Charlie said “I had hope it would grow enough that in a year or two we could maybe hire one or even two part time employees. I never imagined that we would be here ten years later, with two fire stations, one of which would be staffed by a full time, twenty for hour a day duty crew.”