Jefferson County to host State Fire Convention
CHARLES TOWN — For the first time since 2006, Jefferson County will play host to the state’s Fire Convention. Citizens Fire Company in Charles Town is the official hosting company, but all of the county’s fire departments will take part in welcoming hundreds of their fellow volunteers from around the state for a weekend of education, companionship and recognition.
The convention will take place Aug. 15-17, with the majority of meetings and events taking place at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Meetings will be held to inform the state’s first responders of new requirements for their field and any state law changes, said Ronald Fletcher, president of Citizens Fire Company and lead organizer of the convention.
“There will be reports from the Fire Extension and a Junior Firefighters Camp Report,” Fletcher said.
Visitors coming from around the state will be welcomed on Thursday evening at a picnic at Citizens Fire Station. Friday’s daytime hours offer the meeting sessions, and a banquet will be hosted Friday evening in the ballroom at Hollywood Casino, with guest speaker Micah Kiger, a paid firefighter in Loudoun County, Va. and volunteer at Shepherdstown’s Company 3. Added to the schedule on Friday is a memorial service at Oakland Church for those who have passed away in the last year.
According to Fletcher, welcoming fellow firefighers from around the state to his home county is exciting.
“I really want to let them see Jefferson County. Since we hosted in 2006, there have been a lot of changes to our area,” Fletcher said, mentioning that the convention serves as a vacation for many firefighters. “A lot of them bring their families.”
To help the firefighters make the most of their time in Jefferson County, Fletcher said activity recommendations will be given to attendees.
“We have put a ‘to-do’ list in their welcome packets,” Fletcher said, mentioning the list will include river activities, shopping and historic sites. In addition, some local businesses have contributed coupons and other goodies to the packets, to encourage visitors to visit more of the county.
According to Fletcher, the state convention is held in a different location each year. Some locations are larger cities, while others are rural West Virginia at its best. Companies who wish to host put in a bid to get their location on the list.
“I put in a bid to have this convention here 10 years ago,” Fletcher laughed. That’s how long it takes to get on the list sometimes as it is an honor to host.
The convergence of firefighters and often their families, on Jefferson County will be a boost to the local economy as well, Fletcher said.
“People have free time – they visit local businesses and restaurants,” Fletcher said. “It’s exciting and beneficial for the county as a whole.”