Thursday, February 21, 2019

CBFD Recognition Banquet honors local firefighters, Guest Speaker Eric Swanson survived last year's building collapse

The Columbia Borough Fire Department held its recognition banquet on Saturday, February 16, to honor local fire department members. It was the first such banquet since Columbia Borough's 2015 fire department consolidation. CBFD President Mark A. Fritz was Master of Ceremonies for the program, which included a memorial for deceased members led by Lisa M. Splain and Regina A. Fisher, and remarks by Mayor Leo S. Lutz and Fire Chief Douglas J. Kemmerly. Pastor Mark A. Kopp of St. James Lutheran Church led the invocation and benediction.

Eric C. Swanson of the York City Fire Department was the banquet's guest speaker. Swanson, who graduated first in his class at the State Fire Academy in Harrisburg, has 18 years of experience with the York City Fire Department. Swanson is one of two survivors of the March 2018 York City building collapse in which two colleagues were killed. A report on the tragedy and its aftermath is HERE.

Award winners, left to right, are William L. Meyers III, Emily M. Braungard, and Ronald L. Manley.

William L. Meyers III, a 10-year veteran of CBFD, was named the department's first Outstanding Firefighter of the Year. Meyers has been active in the department since May 2009, starting as a junior firefighter. In 2017 alone, he responded to over 38% (288) of all emergency calls. Meyers is currently Secretary of the Fireman's Relief Committee, where his duties include maintaining records for audits by the PA Auditor General office, and keeping meeting minutes and receipts. He also currently sits on the Apparatus Committee, which has designed two new fire trucks for the department.

Emily M. Braungard was named Outstanding Junior Firefighter of the Year. Braungard has been a member of the junior firefighter program since September 2016. During the past two years, she has completed classes that included Hazardous Materials Operation, Fire Ground Support, Exterior Firefighter, CPR, and in-house training. She has responded to 25% of the calls in 2018, representing 188 emergency incidents. Braungard has also assisted with other activities, including parades, the annual open house, fire prevention programs, and fundraisers.

Ronald L. Manley was named Outstanding Fire Police Officer of the Year. Manley has been volunteering for over 30 years in the Columbia Borough Fire Service. He has responded to 134 emergency incidents, 18% of all calls in 2018. Manley directs traffic around emergency scenes in all types of weather and has attended numerous training sessions, including Basic Fire Police, Advanced Fire Police, Traffic Control Procedures, and Hazardous Material Awareness. His job includes not only emergency incidents but also events in and around Columbia Borough, such as the Columbia Bridge Bust, National Night Out, the Columbia Arts and Crafts Show, 5K runs, motorcycle rides, and Columbia High School football games.

Fatih "Mike" Sivri, owner of Black Olive Diner, received the Outstanding Local Business Award. Black Olive, at 15th Street and Lancaster Avenue, opened in August 2016, and Mike has helped the fire department by offering food on extended incidents, monetary donations, and individual member discounts on meals. In December 2017, Mike gave a donation to the fire company, which Columbia Spy reported on HERE.

The Columbia Borough Fire Department also presented an Outstanding Local Business Award to Ben Gorman of Gorman Distributors at 12th and Manor. Gorman has accepted deliveries, picked up shipments, and loaned equipment to the fire company.

The fire department presented Andy Haines and HDS Specialists the Outstanding Local Business Award for responding at all hours to ensure all doors are in working order. Haines and HDS Specialists have provided superior service to the fire department for many years.

Firefighters receiving recognition, left to right, are Jonathan R. Riggs, J. Michael Zercher, William L. Meyers III, Kevin A. Keyser, and Mark A. Fritz.

Three firefighters received recognition for Top Training Hours for 2019: Kevin A. Keyser (383 hours), Jonathan R. Riggs (204 hours), and William L. Meyers III (161 hours).

The Top Responders for 2019 were Mark A. Fritz (424/756), J. Michael Zercher (407/756), and Kevin A.Keyser (358/756).


Radical rag said...

Great job to the men and woman who volunteer in this town!!!

Anonymous said...

How lucky we are to have such a dedicated group of men and women.

Howard Stevens said...

Mike, at the Black Olive is one hell of a guy, I can see him doing this, Columbia Business Owner. Yes we have a great Fire Department, Thank You to all of them.