Augusta Volunteer Fire Unit celebrates legacy of partnership

By Belinda Larsen
Butler County Times Gazette – January 25, 2017

Photo by Belinda Larsen. Click on photo to view full-size.

Photo by Belinda Larsen. Click on photo to view full-size.

The Augusta Department of Public Safety’s legacy of success and brotherhood was celebrated Saturday evening at the Augusta Volunteer Fire Unit’s Annual Dinner.
The Department of Public Safety is responsible for police, fire, rescue, and 9-1-1 services for the City of Augusta, as well as Butler County Fire District Number 2. The fire division is supplemented by approximately 40 volunteer firefighters, who receive no monetary compensation for their dedication and service.
Fire Division Commander Major Ray Marbut shared 2016 statistics.
A total of 380 alarms calls were received with 111 of the calls in the city. Response time in Augusta was 5 minutes and in the district of 144 square miles, response time was 11.5 minutes. Over $350,000 in property value was saved.
“Fires aren’t extinguished by one person – it’s a team effort,” Marbut said. “We have a good time, but this is a group of highly motivated individuals.”
Marbut stated that a recent fire call, 41 firefighters responded.
He went on to recognize Chief Tyler Brewer as being a valuable member of the team. “He fights the budget fights. Chief, you don’t get a lot of credit, but we appreciate what you do.”
Marbut thanked veteran firefighters Forest Reavis, Jeff Carroll and Ed Pressnell, along with citing the recent passing of veteran firefighter Leroy Hall.
“The communication staff are overlooked members of our team. They are the first contact with the public. Thanks to the dispatch staff.”
Marbut credited the volunteers with responding no matter what time or what the weather conditions. He shared that many times volunteers will spend a night fighting a fire, go home, clean up and head out to their jobs.
Also recognized were the other departments and chiefs who are members of Butler County Fire District 2. The Explorers, junior firefighters, were also recognized for their valuable support; as well as the department chaplains.
“When it’s time for us to leave the scene, the chaplain is there to assist and coordinate any services or programs that are needed,” he said
Finally, Marbut thanked the wives of the fire division.
“You let us borrow your loved ones – sometimes at the worst possible times. When those pagers go off, the wife is on call, too,” he continued. “I hope you’re proud of them. They are out there protecting citizens and providing a valuable service.”
Brewer addressed the crowd and shared his journey to Augusta 14 years ago.
“This has been an unbelievably great ride – because of people like you. This is a family…We couldn’t do this without the volunteer fire department. Don’t ever minimize what you do. I’m in awe of each of you. I thank you – everyone of you.”
Brewer also thanked City Manager Josh Shaw, Assistant City Manager Cody Sims, Mayor Matt Childers, Augusta City Council, Butler County Commission, and Butler County Sheriff Kelly Herzet.
Andy Hall, on behalf of the volunteer firefighters, presented a special plaque to Marbut to commemorate his 40 years of service.
“Ray has played a huge role in a lot of our lives. Many of us were ‘Ray’s kids’. He has been a staple around here,” Hall continued. “Ray treats paid and volunteer firefighters all the same. And he always thanks our wives.”
Another special award, the Lifesaving Award for 2016, was presented to Jason and Traci Payne. Jason, a volunteer firefighter, and his wife Traci, a registered nurse, are credited for performing life saving CPR to a gentleman who suffered cardiac arrest at a December wrestling match. CPR was administered prior to the arrival of EMS.
Ron Reavis was chosen as the Volunteer Fireman of the Year. Reavis had a prior committment and was not able to attend Saturday night’s dinner.


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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