By CHRISTIN COYNE
Emergency Services District No. 1 Saturday recognized another year of providing fire and emergency services to the northern portion of Parker County and many of those who made it happen.
The year of 2012 was a year of positive change, ESD board president Rena Peden told those gathered.
District administration was reorganized to create efficiencies and savings for the district, Peden said, adding that both new administrative employees previously worked for attorneys and bring certain organizational and computer skill sets.
The district chief is now in charge of the entire operation, Peden said, adding that they added a second assistant chief position and moved information technology in-house.
They also hired a full-time mechanic to service the district’s vehicles, Peden said.
Each fire station now has a full-time position, as well.
In addition to upgrading fire stations, particularly at Silver Creek and Peaster, the district also purchased three new fire engines for Springtown, Peaster and Silver Creek departments.
One of those trucks, an engine for Silver Creek VFD which arrived the prior week, drew a crowd outside during the banquet.
Currently, they have four commissioners, representing three of the four department service areas, and expect to fill the fifth position in May following the outcome of the election regarding a request for annexation by Aledo, according to Peden.
District Chief Eric Vinson said district fire departments responded to approximately 2,400 calls during the year.
Various achievements by ESD staff and volunteers were also noted.
Springtown VFD Deputy Chief Jason Hinton recognized Mike Ellis for 30 years with the department, Gary Tidwell as citizen of the year and Outreach of Love Church as business of the year.
Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott also recognized fire dispatcher April Baldwin for a call she handled in February.
The call was not only Baldwin’s first structure fire call, but she had to deal with a visually impaired woman trapped inside the building, Scott said. Baldwin instructed the woman how to open a window, which allowed fresh air in and bought her minutes until Assistant Fire Marshal Frank Watson arrived on scene and was able to get her out of the house, Scott said.
Other volunteer awards included:
Top five responders: 1. Jimmy Crook 2. Matthew Fisher 3. Richard Hunter 4. Kyle Carley 5. Jason Hinton.
Rookie of the year: Kyle Carley.
Officer of the Year: Matthew Fisher.
Firefighter of the year: Richard Hunter.
La Junta VFD
Top five responders: 1. Boyd Hale 2. Dennis Samples 3. Walt Moore 4. Bob Kruger 5. Ben Overholt.
Officer of the year: Ben Overholt.
Firefighter of the year: Boyd Hale.
Silver Creek VFD
Top five responders: 1. Clinton King 2. Matthew Wander 3. Robert Gersten 4. Jason Ingram 5. Tim Lester.
Rookie of the Year: Alan Morgan.
Officer of the Year: Clinton King.
Firefighter of the year: Tim Lester.
Top 5 responders: 1. Jerry Ward 2. Jason Low 3. Everett Elliott 4. Glenn Michaels 5. Michal Morris.
Rookie of the year: Mark Schwartz and Michal Morris.
Officer of the Year: Everett Elliott.