ESA celebrates the season by giving
CHARLES TOWN — The Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency welcomed friends and family members to celebrate the season at their holiday gathering on Dec. 12 at the ESA facility in Ranson.
While the event was for the staff of the agency to come together in fellowship to celebrate the Christmas season, the event also gave an opportunity for all members to be officially sworn into service by Jefferson County Clerk Jackie Shadle.
Monte Conner served as master of ceremonies at the event, explaining that under the direction of the new director, Allen Keyser, the agency staff will become more of an official department.
To add to the official feel of the department, Conner said the agency had hoped to secure a Chaplain to serve.
“We wanted a chaplain – someone who will be there and who knows what we do,” Conner shared. “We discussed possibilities, but didn’t want to approach someone who already served in the capacity at another company or department.”
Conner went on to share that he was made aware that John Bethard, who had served at Citizens Fire Company as chaplain, had recently left that position.
“I am happy to announce that John will now serve as chaplain here at the ESA,” Conner said as he presented Bethard with a helmet and bumper coat.
Director Keyser spoke briefly to the attendees, saying he never would have believed a year ago that he would be serving in the role of director. Keyser had been hired via grant funding as a firefighter recruitment officer, but applied and was selected as the new director when the former director chose a different career path.
“This line of work is rich in tradition, and the more you dig in the more you can’t get enough of it,” Keyser said of firefighters and Emergency Service providers, before complimenting them.
“You are compassionate, caring and nice — that’s what I’ve seen on-scene and what I continue to see,” Keyser said.
As part of the gathering, the agency took the opportunity to present a donation to the Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley organization. The agency staffers had sold t-shirts during breast cancer awareness month in October, presenting a check for $711 at the event to BCA-CV representatives Stacy Horst and Callie Hart.
BCA-CV serves the tri-state area, providing free services to those battling breast cancer. The mission of BCA-CV is to strive through community involvement to bring awareness to the impact of breast cancer and ensure that no one faces breast cancer alone.
Following the check presentation and the swearing-in ceremony, each member was presented with their official badge – another measure instituted by Keyser to bring uniformity to the department.
The mission of the department remains “to assist the Jefferson County volunteer fire departments in providing fire and emergency medical services to all citizens and visitors of Jefferson County, West Virginia. JCESA and the fire departments will provide these services in a non-discriminatory manner with compassion, integrity and commitment to all those in need in a timely and professional manner.”