Delaware firefighters honored at memorial service


Photos: Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — In the midst of renewed friendships and camaraderie at the state’s annual six-day firefighter’s conference came time for somber remembrance of those no longer present.

Inside Dover Downs Hotel and Casino on Friday morning, an 80-minute Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association Memorial Service paid tribute to those who died in the past year — 98 past or present firefighters and 51 ladies auxiliary members.

Sitting near the front of the Rollins Center crowd of a few hundred was the family of late Lewes firefighter Tim McClanahan, who died on July 11 when falling from a helicopter during a routine training exercise with the Delaware Air Rescue Team.

Mr. McClanahan’s mother Rita wiped away tears when recounting her thoughts of “how proud we are of him and how much he’s going to be missed.”

Standing nearby was husband Mike, who described feelings of “Pride and sadness” regarding his son’s tribute.

“But he died doing what he loved and we should all be that fortunate,” he said.

Sean McClanahan marveled at his late brother’s mechanical skills and ability to fix anything put in front of him. Also, “He was a fun loving adrenalin junkie. He loved living on the edge.”

Fiancee’ Kim Baker described her future husband as “just a beautiful man. He knew everyone and never met a stranger.”

Thanks to a well-produced panorama of lost members presented by the Delaware State Fire School, the audience was treated to photos of nearly all the departed firefighters and auxiliary members on a large screen.

Said Master of Ceremonies Grover Ingle, “Each of those individuals were important to us in special ways.”

During words of comfort before the audience, DVFA Chaplain Pastor Robert Hudson saluted the late members as “people willing to give their lives for those who live in the community, some of them they would never know.”


Firefighter parade
The annual parade will step off at State Street and Walker Road at 1 p.m. today. It will continue down State Street to The Green.

Firefighter awards
The Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association presented the following awards at the close of its annual conference at the Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center Friday.

Firemen of the Year: Citizens Hose Company’s, James Mood received the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, Firemen of the Year Award, for his 63 years of active service to the Citizens’ Hose Company and to the Smyrna community. He was a past fire chief and past president. He was also past member of the Smyrna Town Council and the Duck Creek Historical Society. He was also active in Cub and Boy Scouts, the Smyrna Swim Club, the Smyrna/Clayton Heritage Association and other clubs and committees in the Smyrna area.

Heroic Firefighters of the Year: Greg Adkins of the Laurel Fire Department received the Heroic Firefighter of the Year for a rescue of two children from inside a burning house in Laurel. He entered the burning building before the fire apparatus arrived and rescued the two girls just before the fire flashed and engulfed the home. Two Meritorious awards were also presented by the State Fire Chiefs Association. One to Hockessin Fire Company’s Rescue Crew of George Lamborn and Matt Burge for the rescue of a trapped driver, whose car was overturned in a frozen creek in Yorklyn, and the other to Camden-Wyoming Fire Company’s Chris Dufresne, Fred Chase, Derrick Brode and Truston Davis for the removal of a person from a house fire in Woodside.

Fire Police Awards: Fire Policeman Clay Yocum of Greenwood Fire Company received the Delaware State Fire Policeman of the Year Award. Fire Policeman James Fisher of the Farmington Fire Company received the Kent County Fire Policeman of the Year Award. Fire Policeman Karl Walters or the Christiana Fire Company received the New Castle County Fire Policeman of the Year Award and Fire Policeman Dale Willey of the Greenwood received the Sussex County Fire Policeman of the Year Award.

EMS Awards: Matt Burge and George Lam­born of the Hockessin Fire Company received the Heroic EMT of the Year Award for an ice water rescue. Tom Johnson received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Cliff Neidig received the EMS Instructor of the Year Award and Alex Barnes of the Sussex County EMS received the Excellence in Paramedicine Award.

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