Photos by Tom Rivers
RIDGEWAY – Glen Busch II and Valerie Childs, who got engaged to each other on Wednesday, both were honored for their service to the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company on Saturday.
Busch received the President’s Award from outgoing president Mike Kelly. He cited Busch’s work as treasurer, and for attending many fire calls as well as training courses.
“He puts a lot of time and effort into this place,” Kelly said.
Childs received the Chief’s Award from Don Marchner, the outgoing fire chief.
“Anything you ask of her, she’s there,” Marchner said.
Childs last year took an inventory of all the equipment – turnout gear, helmets, radios and pagers – and now does an annual inspection of all the equipment.
Childs, 31, also is the new president of the Fire Company, the first woman in that role in the Fire Company’s 63-year history. She joined in July 2013, four months after she and Busch started dating. She went to a few calls with Busch, waiting in his truck before she became a member. She decided to join, “rather than just sitting there twiddling my thumbs.”
Busch assumed she wanted to be a social member. But Childs took classes for scene support. She has a goal this year to take the class so she can drive fire trucks, including the big pumper-tanker.
“If you told me five years ago I would be president of a fire company and winning an award I would have laughed at you,” Childs said.
Busch, 32, joined the Fire Company in 2011. He was volunteering with Cub Scouts, and three of the Scouts were sons of Kristin McAdoo, the EMS captain.
“She inspired me,” Busch said about McAdoo. “I saw what they do.”
He also wanted to be a firefighter in memory of his brother, who died at age 10 from leukemia. Jeffrey Busch wanted to be a firefighter and when he was battling leukemia was made an honorary fire chief by the Warsaw Fire Department in Wyoming County, where Busch grew up.
Busch has worked the past 15 years as a campus safety officer for Hilbert College in Hamburg. Childs works as a technician at Baxter Healthcare in Medina.
Ridgeway Fire Company officers take the oath of office, including Francis Woodward in white. Others pictured include, from left: Guy Scribner, first assistant chief; James Marciszewski, deputy chief; Valerie Childs, president; and Melissa Hansler, vice president.
Other officers include: Rick Tuohey, second assistant chief; Patrick Kelly, captain; Jason Bessel, lieutenant; Mike Kelly, fire police captain; and Kristin McAdoo, EMS captain.
Other executive committee members include: Glen Busch II, treasurer; Laurie Marchner, secretary; Stacey Seefeldt, Kristin McAdoo and Katie Tuohey as directors; and Todd Hansler, sergeant at arms.
Ladies Auxiliary Officers are sworn in, including, from left: Tracey Hendrick, president; Melissa Hansler, vice president; and Donna Lockwood, treasurer. Other officers include Effie McAdoo, secretary; Harriett Petrie, chaplain; and Michelle Lechner, flag bearer.
Fire Chief Francis Woodward holds an axe while firefighter Charles Smith announces names of members who died in 2015. Valerie Childs would ring the bell three times in their memory.
The Fire Company’s memorial service, recognized two charter members: Gary Ehrenreich as a firefighter and Marjorie Canham in the Ladies Auxiliary. They were the last living members from when the Fire Company formed 63 years ago.
Jack McCarthy, the former fire coordinator in the county, also was remembered during the memorial service.
Charles Smith and Valerie Childs hold new axes given to the Fire Company by Harriett Petrie, right, in memory of her husband, Larry Petrie. Those axes will be used by the honor guard at funerals, parades and other events.
Rob and Rachel Kaiser, owners of Wildwood Lake KOA Campground in Medina, were given an award for helping raise money for the Fire Company and for giving firefighters a discount to use the campground. Francis Woodward, the fire chief in back, is a regular at Wildwood.