Victoria F&R holds annual banquet

Published 7:33 am Saturday, February 20, 2016

By Tom Lanigan

Special to The K-V Dispatch

The Victoria Fire and Rescue Department held its annual banquet Saturday evening. Department Chief Rodney Newton, who also serves as administrator of the Kenbridge Rescue Squad and interim Victoria town manager served as Master of Ceremonies.

The department also celebrated its 75th anniversary, tracing its roots back February 1941.

The program included the welcome presentation delivered by Newton, followed by the ceremony for the deceased members which included the playing of “Amazing Grace” by piper Tim Batten Macleod.

Next on the program was the invocation and blessing, followed by the dinner, opening remarks by Chief Newton, local officials and guest speaker Jason Erby.

Assistant Chief Frankie Tanner presented the award certificates and Circuit Court Clerk Gordon Erby announced the installation of new officers.

The annual banquet drew to a close with the presentation of special awards, the 2015 year in review delivered by Newton and a special presentation by Del. Tommy Wright. Newton stated the department responded to 993 calls, of which 887 required emergency medical services. 4,182 hours were logged by paid personnel while 3,953 hours were logged by Victoria Fire and Rescue volunteer personnel and the department logged 62, 000 vehicle miles. Newton said the successful operation of the department is dependent on its members, local citizens and local, state and federal government agencies and Newton expressed his gratitude to all involved.

Del. Wright recalled the early years of the department, from its beginning in 1941 as the Victoria Fire Company, through the years to its current location on 1421 Main Street. Wright pointed out the department still has one of its first pumper trucks, a 1941 Chevrolet, equipped with the firefighting equipment by Oren Fire Apparatus, a division of Roanoke Welding and Equipment Company, Roanoke, Virginia, and was delivered by the Virginian Railway to the freight depot in Victoria.

The banquet closed with the conclusion of ceremony for the deceased with piper Macleod playing “Dawn of the Day.” During an interview with Newton after the banquet, Newton again expressed his sincere thanks to everyone that plays even the smallest role in the successful operation of the Victoria Fire and Rescue, the Kenbridge Rescue Squad and all fire, rescue and police departments nationwide. When asked if he intends to accept the position of town manager after his interim appointment, Newton said, “I can’t give an honest answer, I have a six-month term now, and I have to see how everything plays out.”

Newton said he has a responsibility to the Kenbridge Rescue Squad and wants to focus on his role as the squad’s administrator.