Local fire dept. awards members, community for service - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Local fire dept. awards members, community for service

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RAINELLE, W. Va (WVVA)-- The Rainelle Volunteer Fire Department hosted its annual awards banquet Sunday.

Firefighters, officers, along with their friends and families gathered to celebrate their past year of service to the community.

"It's a brotherhood, and we know we've got each other's backs. Our lives are kind of in each other's hands," said Chief Shawn Wolford. "Even though there's [limited pay] it's things [like this], a pat on the back or a thank-you, that makes it all worthwhile."

15 members were awarded for over 5 years of service. Firefighter Gary Mitchell was honored for the most time on the job-- 48 years.

Safety Officer Eddie Midkiff and Firefighter Matthew Osborne were awarded Firefighter of the Year, and Captain Jeff Boggs won Fire Officer of the Year.

"I'm really proud [of these officers], said Chief Wolford. "We are all dedicated to being professionals, even though we are volunteers, and they went above and beyond."

The department also gave awards to community members "for significant contributions to the department", especially during the June 29 derecho. Dindy Midkiff, Jennifer Clendenin, Debra Davidson, Sarah Perkins, Judy Hoehler, Emily Osborne, JoAnna Bennett, and Andrea Osborne were honored for helping the fire department.

"Without them, we certainly could not have gotten it done," said Chief Wolford. "They are outstanding."

It was a time for fellowship, as they looked back on old memories and looked forward to working together in the future.

"I think we're ready for the challenges, you never know what might happen but I know we'll have a great 2013," said Wolford.

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