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VHC Attend the 26th Annual Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and Ladies Auxiliary Volunteer Recognition Ceremony
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By Vice President David Stonesifer
April 23, 2019

On Monday, April 15, members of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) attended the 26th Annual Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association and Ladies Auxiliary Volunteer Recognition Ceremony held at the Walkersville Volunteer Fire Company. This award ceremony was established in 1993, to recognize the contributions of volunteer fire and rescue members and departments within Frederick County.
This year the awards committee from VHC have nominated several members to be recognized for their outstanding service to the Vigilant Hose Company and the Greater Community of Emmitsburg over the past years.

VHC was honored to nominate and congratulate a LONG time member John S. Hollinger for receiving the Bruce L. Reeder, Sr. Golden Service Award. John’s 70+ years of volunteering at VHC has been a blessing to the corporation. He has been a VHC member since 1946 and with the exception of the time served in the military during the Korean conflict, he has not had a break in being an active member. At the young age of 15, John vigorously volunteered in fire suppression. Within 18 months, John was awarded the position of assistant hose director. At the age of 17, John began driving fire apparatus to incidents and remained a certified driver/firefighter for well over 50 years. During John’s long stent of volunteering, he held multiple leadership positions within the corporation. While serving as Chief in 1958, he was instrumental in establishing the Emmitsburg “fire call only” telephone line #7-4141. John has been appointed as the state and county convention delegate too many times to mention during the past 70 years.

On the administrative side of the house, John was active in various committees within the corporation. Most notably, he has served on every new apparatus planning committee since he joined VHC. He participated in all aspects of fundraising and to this date still assists with events. John responds to the station, for a majority of the calls, to assist with coordination of responding apparatus and personnel. He is cordial with incoming transferring units and assists them with parking apparatus in the VHC station and making the mutual aid personnel feel comfortable by providing them with food & drink. John still attends corporation business meetings and committee meetings pertaining to financial management. He also owned the Ford dealership in Emmitsburg. Being a businessman, John brings a wealth of knowledge in business and financial planning. With his and other professional’s sound advice, the Vigilant Hose Company will remain a stable volunteer corporation serving the citizens of Emmitsburg with any fire & rescue needs. While chief in 1960, John helped assemble the Boy Scout Explorers program at VHC. This program was started to foster an early learning environment in fire suppression for the youth of the area. Historical meeting minutes show the young boys' talents were used to assist with cleaning equipment after fire related incidents. The Explorers program is still in operation at VHC. John's service to this company has been – and remains – paramount! He follows “in his father’s footsteps” who was himself a Vigilant Hose Company legend and was a charter enrolled in the VHC Hall of Fame. The members of Vigilant Hose sincerely appreciate the extraordinary amount of volunteer years John has dedicated to making the corporation a successful volunteer organization.

Our second nominee and winner began her volunteer career in 1996 with the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company when it was located on South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg. Around the same time, she joined the Vigilant Hose Company Ladies Auxiliary; approximately 2 years later she joined the operational side of VHC to assist with the EMS side of things. She earned her EMT in 1998. This person is a natural born teacher when it comes to the EMS world. She began her “teaching” journey in 2001 when she earned her EMS Instructor certification; that same year she also received her CPR Instructor Trainer Certification, so that she could train other instructors to teach CPR. This person took the initiative after approval to make Vigilant Hose Company an ASHI Training Center for CPR & Basic First Aid and she to this day is the Training Center Administrator. She keeps accurate records of all courses taught and keeps our instructors and members up to date on the latest protocols. She provides CPR/AED/Basic First Aid and Blood Bourne pathogens courses to not just our members, but also other stations and other local organizations such as the Town of Emmitsburg, Mount Saint Mary’s University and the National Fire Academy.

Several years ago, Vigilant Hose Company received a grant to have AEDs not just for our station, but also for our entire community; AEDs were placed all throughout our community in stores, churches and local businesses. This person maintained and tracked everything regarding these AEDs; she ordered the AEDs, she maintained records of their use, supplies, and did a monthly check for maintenance and annually took them to the County for maintenance checks.

This person helps behind the scenes in many ways and often goes unrecognized. Not only does she take care of all of our CPR and related training, she maintains our County physical records for VHC and performs our annual HIPPA trainings. She has been instrumental in completing and maintaining quality assurance records for the first and second times that an ambulance was with Vigilant Hose Company; she has assisted with updates to SOPs for the EMS side of operations in lieu of the merger between Companies 26 & 6. On top of all of her duties performed for VHC, this person has been a MFRI Instructor for EMT courses as well as refresher courses, she was a 911 Dispatcher for approximately 8 years and then moved onto the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office where she remains to date. She is also in charge of several types of trainings for the Sheriff’s to include Narcan administration, CPR and Basic First Aid to name a few. This person is a natural born instructor and enjoys educating her peers, has received several awards to include the Chief’s Award from VHC in 2004, VHC President’s Award in 2015 and the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office awarded her with a Citizen of the Year award in 2014. You can find this nominee at most of our functions either in the capacity of a citizen supporting our company or she is out there selling tickets for raffles or tip jars and serving food. She is always willing to lend a helping hand. It is with great pleasure to announce and Congratulate Karyn Myers in receiving the Millard M. “Mick” Mastrino Instructor/ Safety Award.

This year Vigilant Hose Company was very fortunately to have two member be inducted to the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (FCVFRA) Hall of Fame. This first is an individual that is no stranger to the Fire Station. No matter what assignment he is given, you can rest assured that it will get done. This individual is always looking for ways to better himself and those around him. He is always willing to lend a helping hand and attends and works a large majority of our fundraisers and company functions.
Over this past year he has spent many, many hours at the station working on equipment, taking apparatus for maintenance, fixing whatever needs fixed and being a mentor to new members; answering phone calls to do yet another thing to add to an already long list. This individual has a long history within the Vigilant Hose Company; serving in many leadership roles to include Lieutenant and Assistant Chief over numerous years, a driver for the majority of his career as well as stepping in to train the “newbies”. This person is also the chair of the operational building maintenance committee for which he schedules appointments with vendors to keep the building in excellent shape and takes care of small repairs himself; he coordinated and supervised our roof replacement in 2018.

He is typically in our top 10 for responses each year; 2018 was no different as he was both a top responder for the fire suppression side as well as our EMS side. This person over the last 5 years has averaged approximately 180 responses per year on the suppression side and for the past 2 years he has averaged approximately 44 responses per year; the EMS responses are typically 2nd ambulance calls, so this number is outstanding. This individual maintains operation readiness by staying in shape and fit for duty; at the YOUNG age of 55, this nominee still engages in interior fire attack when he isn’t the driver of the unit...proudly, he is certified to drive all of our units to include our rescue squad and Tower. This individual is a major “go to” when it comes to anything that may need done during the day at our station; to include Fire Prevention visits from school/daycare children or giving station tours to students from the National Fire Academy. The Vigilant Hose Company welcomes, through their doors, thousands of visitors from all over the world every year and many come back remembering this individual for his kindness and willingness to chat with them. One thing is for sure, you will always remember the stories he has to share.It is with esteemed honor that the Vigilant Hose Company Congratulate Clifton “Cliffy” Shriner for the induction to the FCVFRA Hall of Fame.

The second member nominee joined the Vigilant Hose Company in 1966 and was very active in all aspects of the company. This person was the first of the Vigilant Hose Company to make the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty as he suffered a heart attack at the scene of a brush fire on February 15, 1999. He was a member of a fire-fighting family! His father, Ed; before him a brother, Gene, a VHC member and Chief for many years; his son Randy, ranking in the top responders and a driver for many years with VHC; and his wife, Wanda, a long time Auxiliary member, have all contributed time and talent beyond expectation for our company—and the welfare of the Emmitsburg community.

This nominee worked as a truck driver for a local manufacturing company and shared this skill as the operator of our company’s large fire engines. During his 33 years with the Vigilant Hose Company, he served in numerous administrative positions to include Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President, and Director. He was a driver for over 25 years and served on several new apparatus committees to include the committee for Tower 6. Terry prided himself on being a member of several championship hookup teams. The major fundraising functions he chaired are far too numerous to mention and we know that he would be proud of his son Randy for following in his footsteps for keeping up with traditions in both fundraising as well as everything he does on the operations side to include driving…just like his dad.
During the time of this nominee’s tragic passing, press coverage was intense. Internally, Vigilant Hose Company was hard-pressed to replace his culinary skills and the void that his death created in our kitchen has been filled by many that loved him to include his wife Wanda and his son Randy. While no longer with us, his affability, his smile, hard work, devotion to duty and reliability will remain always in the memories of those VHC members who knew him and loved him. He joked with us and didn’t hesitate to let us know of his disagreements, if such was the case – but- he always cared and was concerned about everyone. Tim Clarke, the VHC President during the time of this person’s passing found an Irish Blessing that he felt was an example of how Terry’s life was structured; Tim shared this Blessing with all at the VHC 2000 Banquet when Terry was inducted in the Hall of Fame for 1999…“Tis better to buy a small bouquet, And give to your friend this very day, Than a bushel of roses white and red, To lay at his coffin after he’s dead!”
He was a “live your life to the fullest” kind of guy and wouldn’t want anyone to go without a smile on their face…even at his passing. The fun, the smiles and all of the memories on and off the fire scene is, without a doubt, Terry’s legacy.

Proceeding Terry’s passing, he was recognized and added to the Roll of Honor under the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He was memorialized at the National Fire Academy during the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial and Vigilant Hose Company and his family were humbly invited to a special ceremony to honor him, his life and his duties that led to his passing; you will find his name on the wall in Annapolis that honors all line of duty deaths. Terry’s life, unfortunately for all of us, was shortened in years but not diminished in quality –It is truly earned and deserves that Terry L. Myers be inducted in to the FCVFRA Hall of Fame.

As the Award ceremony was near end the Vigilant Hose Company and Guardian Hose Company was called upon stage and presented with this year’s Outstanding Unit of the Year Award for Outstanding team and hero efforts on June 16, 2018, at approximately 10:20am, Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) received a dispatch to respond to assist with a vehicle rescue the area of 15323 Sabillasville Road, Thurmont. Emergency Communications requested Squad 6 (for rescue equipment resources) and manpower to assist with a vehicle accident that ended up being a high angle rescue. Five volunteer personnel were in the station and immediately responded to support the rescue efforts already underway by Guardian Hose Company (GHC) volunteers.

Once on scene, VHC officer Josh Brotherton received an update of the situation from GHC personnel. VHC volunteers were pointed in the direction to where the rescue was unfolding. To get to the location of the vehicle, personnel had to wade through waist high vegetation to then down a ravine, over a raised railroad track to get to the edge of Owens Creek. Once at the site, a large SUV was found to be upside down and face the opposite direction of its original travel. What made the situation worse was the vehicle catapulted in the air from driving across the raised railroad bed and dropped over a concrete river bank falling approximately 20 feet.

This very delicate work was made challenging due to the elevated water level and fast moving current from precipitation the day before. Once the patient was wrapped up and strapped into the basket, haul ropes were tied to the basket. Multiple personnel on the top side of the concrete embankment used various ropes to pull the patient and basket out of Owens Creek.

When on dry land the ropes were untied, the patient and basket were taken back across the railroad tracks and ravine to the awaiting ambulance. The lashing was removed from the basket and the patient was transferred to an ambulance cot. A brief trauma assessment was conducted by EMS personnel along with Medic 30. The patient was loaded into the ambulance and transferred to the awaiting MSP helicopter at Sabillasville Elementary school. The patient was transported to a trauma hospital.
It is unknown how long the patient had been in this unfortunate situation. Family members were posting missing person information on social media sites early the same morning. Once extricated, the patient was conscious, semi-alert and hypothermic and survived this extreme vehicle accident.It is with great pride that the member of the Vigilant Hose Company and Guardian Hose Company receive the Outstanding Unit Award.

Vigilant Hose Company Congratulates all County Award recipients.

Comment Comment 1 Comment(s)

Carl Angleberger April 23, 2019 at 8:03 PM
Congratulations to all the honorees from Company 6. As a life member and a proud member of such a great organization, it is very gratifying to see members achieve recognition from their peers and the County. Whenever I visit one of the 8 fire stations in The Villages here in Florida, I always ask who has attended the emergency training center in Emmitsburg, and I'm amazed at the amount of emergency personnel in Florida that have attended the fire Academy. Everyone I speak to that has been to the fire Academy has also been to Company 6 and always tell me how impressed they were with the Vigilant Hose Company. Keep up the good work and if you get the Florida stop by The Villages.

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