WAXHAW, NC – On Saturday, December 12, 2020, the Waxhaw Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) held an open house, a dedication ceremony for the new engines, a grant announcement, and an award ceremony. Chief Gregory Sharpe explained, “The Waxhaw Community Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. has been awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant to hire twelve career firefighter/EMTs. The career firefighter/EMTs will bring stability and consistency to the fire department’s emergency responses in the Waxhaw Fire District. ”
The Union County Commissioners and staff greatly helped the Waxhaw VFD with their support and assistance in writing the grant from Management Solutions For Emergency Services (MSFES). US Representative Dan Bishop, US Senator Thom Tillis, and US Senator Richard Burr wrote letters supporting the grant as well. Waxhaw VFD will be accepting applications from Monday, December 14, 2020, until January 8, 2021, for the career firefighters. They plan to conduct interviews at the end of January and are expecting a start date of February 20, 2021.
Three new engines were dedicated during the open house, including Tower 18 (the first aerial device in the history of the Waxhaw VFD). These new engines will assist the Waxhaw VFD in responding to different situations with more and better equipment. Traditionally, when fire engines were hand- or horse-drawn, they would be pushed by hand into the station after they have been dedicated and are ready for service after ringing the bell 4-4-4-4. Chief Gregory Sharpe did mention the hill the engines were on as well as the sheer volume over older engines as a reason to give the team a break, and so they “pushed” the engine into the bay while in reverse. He didn’t want to tire out his whole station!
After the dedication, Chief Gregory Sharpe presented his team with yearly awards for Years of Service (YOS), Distinguished Action Award (DAA), Life Saving Award (LSA), Chief’s Medal (CM), and Firefighter & EMT Of The Year (FFOY, EMTOY). Per Chief Gregory Sharpe, “In a nutshell, the DAA are actions that were above and beyond the standard and resulted in the best chance for a positive outcome. LSA are actions that directly resulted in the saving of another’s life. CM are actions that put the member’s life at increased risk and resulted in the saving of a life. FFOY is awarded to the Firefighter whose efforts are believed to have put themselves and the fire department in high esteem within the department and the community. EMTOY is awarded to the EMT whose efforts are believed to have put themselves and the fire department in high esteem within the department and the community.
The following members were recognized: Captain Marcus Lee – 4 DAA, 1 CM; FF/EMT Bridget Armstrong – 3 DAA, 1 LSA; FF/EMT Jalen Benjamin – 5 DAA, 2 LSA; FF/EMT Peter Skrobot – 3 DAA, 2 LSA; EMT Hannah Speck – 2 DAA; EMT Christy Van Den Berg – 5 YOS, 1 DAA; Captain Ronald McGarvey- 5 DAA; FF Ken Posko – 5 YOS; FF/EMT John Tillett – 5 YOS; Captain Walter Love Jr – 2 DAA, 1 LSA, 1 CM; Captain Brian Bortny – 2 DAA, 1 LSA; FF/EMT Anthony Bortny – 1 DAA; Captain Michael Ferreira – 1 DAA, 1 LSA; Captain Michael Franz – 1 CM; Assistant Fire Chief Hans Speck – 5 DAA; Assistant Fire Chief William Davis – 4 DAA, 2 LSA; EMT Justin Ambrose – 1 DAA; Treasurer John Kovack – 10 YOS; FF/EMT Lee Bright – 2 LSA; FF/EMT Kevin Fager – 15 YOS, 1 LSA, FFOY; FF/EMT Vince Wolfe – 1 LSA; FF/EMT William Kennelly – 1 DAA, 2 LSA; EMT Christian Kiley – 1 DAA; FF/EMT Matthew Westover – 2 DAA; FF/EMT David Lambert – 2 DAA; FF/EMT Tanner Haskell – 1 DAA; FF/EMT Parker Aug – 2 DAA; FF/EMT Robert Fitzgerald – 1 DAA; FF/EMT Jodi Aldridge – 1 DAA; EMT Gavin Waide – 1 DAA; FF/EMT Rod Wallace – 2 DAA; FF/EMT Christopher Anderson – 1 DAA; FF/EMT Trevor Wakefield – 1 DAA, EMTOY; EMT Te-Sa DiPrima – 1 LSA
If you are interested in joining the Waxhaw VFD, please check out their webpage www.WaxhawVFD.org or call (704) 843-4001.
Please enjoy more pictures below from this special event-