|Ardean Latchford addresses the crowd||John Paul Edmundson receives a certificate of appreciation from Mayor James Kilmartin|
|Girl Scout Troop 1210 provides refreshments|
Last night at the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Armory downtown, the Borough of Tyrone held a service to recognize and honor Tyrone’s volunteer emergency personnel. People from the community and borough council were on hand to give thanks and praise to all the Tyrone Volunteer Fire Fighters and Tyrone Fire Police.
Refreshments were provided by Girl Scout Troop 1210.
Mayor James Kilmartin began the evening welcoming all in attendance and offered his thanks to the volunteer emergency personnel in the borough and for those people from the public and borough council members in attendance. The mayor thought it was a great time, in accordance with fire prevention week, to honor the gentlemen and ladies of our community who volunteer their services in the emergency personnel field.
He added, “Tonight I am very pleased. It’s a great opportunity, something great for these people who volunteer and put their time aside for the well being of ours, so I am pleased with that.”
Following Mayor Kilmartin’s opening statements, there was a fitting tribute by council member Jennifer Bryan, who read a poem in dedication to the memory of James Beckwith, who passed away earlier this year due to a sudden illness. Mr. Beckwith was involved with fire fighting since 1961 and served as fire chief of the Tyrone Fire Department for 28 years.
Mr. Beckwith’s son, Mike, a member of the Hookies Fire Department, was greatly moved by the tribute.
“The poem in dedication to my father was nice and unexpected,” said Mike. “He dedicated his life to the fire service, so his life was nothing but fire service and helping the community.”
Mayor Kilmartin added that Jim Beckwith really helped in making the fire service run in town and that he is an icon to our community. He said that the borough and community are very appreciative for all that he did and the legacy that lives on with him.
In recognition to the volunteer emergency personnel, the borough presented citations to the volunteer fire fighters and fire police and rescue services of Tyrone. The citations were handed out by Mayor Kilmartin, along with council members Bill Fink and Bill Latchford. Every volunteer in the emergency personnel service in the borough was recognized by name and given citations.
Council member Bill Fink stated that the people of Tyrone should be very, very thankful for what they have in the community when it comes to volunteer emergency personnel. He said that this was an important function. Tyrone has great fire companies with great equipment, and great people who serve their time.
“We have a bunch of fella’s and gal’s in this community that have dedicated their service to protect the people of this community. This is something that may get them injured or killed because the fire service, fire police service, and the rescue service is very serious. I think the community itself should be extremely grateful for their dedication and extremely grateful for the fact that they are actually there for the Borough of Tyrone,” added Fink.
Also on hand last evening was Charles States, representing Senator John Eichelberger. Mr. States said it was a pleasure for him to be there representing Eichelberger and to recognize the fire fighters, fire police and EMS people of our community.
“Really without them, our communities would be at a great loss and I think we are fortunate to have men and women who are willing to sacrifice their time from their families and give back to this community. If John was here this evening, he would applaud them much the same as I am tonight, and we’re just thankful we can do this and recognize them,” added States.
Many of the borough’s fire fighters, fire police and EMS personnel do sacrifice much of their time to serve the community. They are all volunteers and have other jobs, have families, and it is a sacrifice they all dedicate themselves to.
Mike Beckwith of the Hookies said that in his 25 years of service there have been many suppers missed and holidays ruined because he’s had to go on call, and that puts a burden on the family.
“They say fire fighting is the hardest job, but I think being a family member of a fire fighter is harder because you get up and leave for a call and you’re gone for hours, they don’t know how you are, whether you\’re in an ambulance on the way to the hospital or laying in a basement of a collapsed house – that’s the harder part of being a family member of a fire fighter, we need to have a dedication to the family members who put up with what we do,” added Mike.
Art Coyler, President of the Tyrone Fire Police, said he’s been in the fire police for 38 years and he really appreciated the honor given to everyone tonight.
“We do appreciate it and to me right now, being 82 years old, I let the younger guys do it. I had my time,” added Coyler.
Neptune fire fighter and driver Bill O’Brien also has been a volunteer for many years and he likewise appreciated the evening’s honor.
He added, “Yes, we certainly appreciate the fact that the borough has done this for us. We do it because we love it and we don’t know any better.”
Recognizing and honoring the borough’s volunteer emergency personnel should be an every day event. These men and women protect our community by sacrificing their time. Without them, we wouldn’t sleep too well at night. Say thank you the next time you see one of the many volunteers in our community.