Firefighters honored

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Members of the Kenbridge Fire Department (KFD) received awards for dedicated service during a banquet at the department Saturday, including a firefighter who has been with KFD for more than 60 years.

Ten firefighters received awards at the event. Awards were handed out to the Firefighter of the Year, Officer of the Year, the officer who responded to the most calls and firefighters with five, 10, 15 and 40 years of service with the department.

Chaplain Cameron Bailey noted firefighters who had responded during attacks on Pearl Harbor and had received purple hearts for their sacrifice. He said the banquet was meant to honor firefighters who often do not receive recognition.

“We know, however, if you’re in this for the recognition and the fame, you need to go ahead and step out and allow others to come who don’t mind putting in the hard work to make things better,” Bailey said.

Del. Tommy Wright attended the banquet and commended the department for its service to the community.

During the event, firefighters Bobby Finch and Patrick Robbins received awards for five years of service; Thomas Thompson, Will Lafoon and Steven Schumaker received awards for 10 years of service; Tony Matthews was awarded for 15 years, and Robert Ledbetter was awarded for 40 years of service.

Jake Rifkind was commended for responding to the most calls in 2017, responding to approximately 98 out of the 112 total calls the department received. Out of the 112 calls, the department responded to 61 motor vehicle accidents, KFD Secretary Todd Wilson said.

Participants held a moment of silence for area firefighters who had passed away in 2017, including Andrew Wingold and former Lunenburg County Board of Supervisors representative David Wingold.

Wilson spoke about the new fire engine the department received and credited members of the board of supervisors for their help in purchasing the vehicle.

Wilson, while presenting Schumaker’s award, said Schumaker was an asset to the department.

“He showed up a little bit above and beyond this year,” Wilson said.

H.B. Gee Jr. was named Firefighter of the Year. Gee, 85, first began working for the department Feb. 9, 1954, more than 60 years ago, Wilson said.

Gee answered 37 calls this year alone, Wilson said.

“I’m sure he is one of the oldest service members in Southside Virginia,” Wilson said. “He is an inspiration to all of us young guys. He has been a leader for a long time.”

Gee spoke after receiving the award, thanking participants.

“I’ve been here for a long time,” Gee said. “It’s been great.”