by Carol Stevens
GARDNER- The Upper Huerfano Fire Protection District Board wanted to say “job well done” to all the volunteer firefighters and their families. March 30th was the first of many appreciation dinners to come. Yvette Vialpando outdid herself on the delicious meal she catered for the event.
Fire Chief Brian Sharp thanked the board for all their efforts in getting the department going in the right direction, and said because of this, the department will be stronger in 2009 than in years past.
With the new board came new policies for the department. One of the new policies stipulated that volunteers must live in the district. Volunteer firefighters Roy and Peggy Britt had to change their duties to the Huerfano Fire District because of the new policy. Chairman Steve Hodges commended them both for their many years of service and hard work. The district will miss them. Both Britts were given special awards for their years of dedication.
Also, the board members wanted to say thank you to the firefighters and have them recognized in the community. Each volunteer firefighter received a jacket that has reflective markings as well as a beautiful plaque, depicting a firefighter, with the firefighter’s prayer inscribed on it. Hodges commented as each member received their award: Jason Albano, the hard worker; Joe Albano, the right arm of the department; Buzz Deardorff, the one who calms emotions; and Fire Chief Brian Sharp, the one who has put in unbelievable hours to get the department back together. Ben and Diana Cupps were not present, but Hodges wanted to publicly thank them for their hours of service.
As the evening was coming to a close, Hodges asked some members of the department to say a few words. The first was Assistant Fire Chief Joe Albano. Albano said, “In the long run, things will be better. Training is getting better and better.” Albano also thanked everyone for their support. Next was Captain Buzz Deardorff. Deardorff shared his pearls of wisdom, “Always take time out to answer questions and help out. Our department will be the best trained, organized and disciplined. We will work hard… time will meld us into a real force.”
Hodges closed the gathering with hope that the department will be three times the size next year. He also acknowledged the fire department applicants, and thanked them for their presence. Hodges stated, “It’s been an amazing year, with more amazing things to come