On Saturday, January 7th, 2023, members of the Vigilant Hose Company gathered for our 139th annual Banquet & Awards Program at the VHC Activities Building. Attendees gathered for a social hour with entertainment from member and DJ 'Brian Mo', and a meal that was catered by The Carriage House Inn of Emmitsburg. Past President and Board of Director Tim Clarke served as an emcee for the event.
Greetings were offered by United States Deputy Fire Administrator Tonya Hoover and Superintendent of the National Fire Academy, Eriks Gabliks. Frederick County Division of Fire/Rescue Services Director Chief Tom Coe offered remarks on behalf of Frederick County. VHC Chaplain Rev. John Talcott officiated a memorial service for VHC members who passed away in 2022. Members included Helen Young, Sandra Wormley, Ron Face, Bill Sanders, Art Damuth, Tom Hoke and Mike Boyle.
Outgoing Chief Chad Umbel and President Tom Ward presented awards to members for years of service, top responders, and special recognition awards. Top Responders included Jim Click as top fire responder, Frank Davis as top EMS responder and Sam Cool as top Fire Police responder. Chief Umbel presented Doug Yingling the Chiefs Award for his contributions to the operational functions of the department and taking on additional tasks including as company quartermaster.
President Tom Ward presented the President’s Award to members of the VHC Auxiliary. He thanked them for their continuous support throughout the year on various fundraising efforts and being a go-to source for support anytime the company needed something.
The Member of the Year award was presented to Mary Lou Little by Umbel and Ward for her never-ending support of fundraising for VHC. Little helped to grow various BINGO and other fundraising events during the year while also still supporting other Emmitsburg area non-profit organizations including the Emmitsburg Food Bank, Seton Center, and Heritage Days fireworks on behalf of the VHC.
Chief Brotherton and the other 2023 line officers presented outgoing Chief Chad Umbel a plaque recognizing him for his years as Chief 6. Umbel helped lead the operational merger between VHC and the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company.
VHC Auxiliary President Patty Kuykendall then addressed the attendees to report on behalf of the Auxiliary. Kuykendall stated that 2022 was an incredibly successful year for the auxiliary. She then presented incoming Fire Chief Josh Brotherton, Umbel and Ward a model car representing a new 2024 Ford Explorer that will serve as a new duty vehicle for the fire department upon delivery. The VHC Auxiliary previously donated a 2001 Ford Expedition that served the department as a duty vehicle for many years. In addition to their donation of a new vehicle, Kuykendall also presented a donation of $10,000 to the department.
Being admitted to the Vigilant Hose Company Hall of Fame were Chad Umbel and Billy Sanders (posthumously). Umbel has been recognized as a member since 1994 and served in numerous roles including most recently as Chief. Sanders served as a long-time financial adviser and company accountant. He was instrumental in VHC’s present day financial security.
Members then enjoyed an evening of dancing and fellowship with music provided by the band First Class. Special thanks to the Guardian Hose and United Fire Company for providing fill-in coverage so VHC personnel could enjoy the evening.