Barre Fire Company recognizes leading firefighters for 2020

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 June 2021 at 8:31 am

Josh Jurs named ‘firefighter of the year’

Photo by Tom Rivers: Pictured form left include Barre Fire Chief James Neal; Josh Jurs, the firefighter of the year; Andrew Faskel, who was recognized with the “Chief’s Award”; and Karl Driesel, president of the Barre Fire Company.

BARRE – The Barre Fire Company gave out its annual awards on Thursday evening, in a low-key presentation. The fire company isn’t doing a banquet this year, but still wanted to recognize firefighters on milestone anniversaries and for notable service.

Josh Jurs was recognized as “firefighter of the year.” Jurs, 39, has been a member of the Barre Fire Company for 19 years. He has been much more active with the fire company the past two years.

“He has gone above and beyond,” said Fire Chief James Neal.

Besides responding to numerous calls for the fire company, Jurs has taken on other tasks. He works at Kreher’s Farm Fresh Eggs. He was able to have a copy machine donated from Kreher’s to the Barre Fire Company. Jurs also researched prices for a refrigerator and secured a good deal for the fire company.

“Anything he has been asked to do he has done,” Neal said.

Jurs said he has been more available to volunteer in the past two years after finishing some home repair projects.

“I just like helping the community,” he said.

Andrew Faskel was presented with the “Chief’s Award.” Faskel served as the EMS captain for four years. He also takes on numerous tasks to benefit the fire company, Neal said.

Faskel, 36, joined the Barre Fire Company seven years ago. He moved to Barre from Medina and attended an open house about the possibility of building a new fire hall in Barre. That proposal didn’t pass in a public vote.

But Faskel met many of the firefighters at the open house and decided to join. He was trained as an EMT and firefighter. He has served as EMS captain, which is a very time-consuming role, Neal said.

“When I joined I just wanted to be more involved in the community,” Faskel said. “I just love helping the community.”

Faskel urged others to consider joining the fire company, even if it’s not responding to fires, accidents or EMS calls.

“There are many different roles depending on what you’re comfortable with,” he said. “It could be in administration or the fire police.”

The fire company also presented the “President’s Award” to Judy Kurtz who has been an active member of the “Sunshine Committee.” She visits many members who are ill at home or in the hospital.

“She brings them a ray of sunshine,” said Karl Driesel, president of the fire company.

Some of the members last year were sickened by Covid or other illnesses, Driesel said.

The fire company also recognized firefighters for milestone anniversaries, including Harold Hazel for 50 years, Dale Ostroski for 30 years, and Nic Elliott, Chris Flansburg and Pat Lamka for 10 years.