Volunteers honored at annual banquet
Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department held its annual awards banquet last weekend and recognized the outstanding commitment to the the community displayed by the department members.
Fire and Emergency Medical Service personnel were honored by their peers as they came together to celebrate another year serving the Shepherdstown community.
Department member and EMS Chief Marshall DeMeritt shared that in 2015, the company was presented with a grant to obtain new Lifepack 15’s which are state of the art medical devices that act as a cardiac monitor for the procurement of EKG’s and also as a defibrillator in a cardiac arrest emergency.
“Had the department been forced to purchase these devices outright, it would have been a $200,000 investment, but due to the grant we had to spend less than 10 percent of that, DeMeritt shared. He recognized Lieutenant Daniel Henderson for his work, alongside others in the county, in the procurement of the Lifepack 15 grant.
In speaking to guests Saturday evening, DeMeritt shared, “The Shepherdstown Fire Department is the greatest fire department in the country. I don’t say that lightly, and I know it to be true. We have the best people, the best community support, the best apparatus (or at least we will when the new ambulances get here, and we get a new ladder truck in a few years), and the most gorgeous geographical areas in the country to do what we love.”
He went on to say, “In 2015, we handled approximately 19 percent of the EMS calls in Jefferson County, and our crews transported 919 people to local emergency rooms, spending an average of 106 minutes per transport. 350 of those patients were transported by a crew of 100 percent volunteers. 575 of those were transported with a crew mixed of volunteer and career in partnership with the JCESA who provides us a paid paramedic. In addition to the 919 transported, we responded on 95 refusals (calls where the patient was treated, but not transported to ER), and over 100 stand-by’s for fire calls, sporting events, and community events. Our volunteers responded to over 200 traumatic injuries, 50 substance related emergencies, 20 cardiac arrests, 150 respiratory distress calls, and 5 OB emergencies among other various call types and emergencies. On average, in less than 8.2 minutes we were on scene of the emergency spread throughout the 53 sq miles of which we are the first EMS agency to respond, and we were out the door in less than 3.5 minutes. There is always room for additional improvement in our response times, and we are committed to the improvements. These numbers highlight the dedication and commitment of our organization, and our volunteers who in partnership with the JCESA spent over 2,000 hours operating an ambulance in support of Jefferson County citizens and visitors.”
DeMerritt presented QA Officer Matt Kennedy the 2015 EMS Chief Award during the evening’s ceremony.
Other awards presented throughout the evening recognized members of the department for their top response to both fire and EMS calls. Chief Ross Morgan gave the Tice Tennant Club Award to several members as well.
Treasurer Denny Barron recognzed Scott Lanham as the 2015 top fundraiser for the company while the Member’s Choice Award went to Jim Locke.
Whether members ran calls on the fire side, the EMS side or volunteered at fundraising events such as the weekly bingo or the annual apple butter festival, all were contributors to making the Shepherdstown Fire Department successful for another year.