Grand Gorge Fire Department holds annual dinner

Grand Gorge — The Grand Gorge Fire Department’s (GGFD) annual banquet was held April 14 at Hanah Mountain Resort in Margaretville.

President Dan Ballard welcomed over 70 guests including special guests Roxbury Town Supervisor Tom Hynes and wife, Mary; Prattsville Fire Department Jim Dymond and his wife, Deb; Marty Finch, Roxbury Fire Department and his wife Rita.

Special recognition was presented by GGFD Commissioners Tom Miner and Bill Schryver to Wink S. Hinkley on behalf of the Grand Gorge Fire District Commissioners for his “Outstanding Service” to the department and community during 2011.

Karen Hinkley, EMS Co-Captain presented highlights of the year 2011 indicating that 2011 was the busiest year on record for them. A PowerPoint display of photos taken during the year were enjoyed by all. GGRS responded to over 150 calls both in the GGFD district as well as several mutual aid calls for neighboring districts. In addition to being ready at a moment’s notice for an emergency, the squad was also involved in other important things including:

During EMS Week, members presented a recruitment program for high school students at both Roxbury and Gilboa-Conesville Central Schools giving a brief look at the responsibilities, rewards and duties of becoming a volunteer in your local fire department/rescue squad.
Attended numerous training sessions, a NYS conference, EMS Memorial and participated in several drills

Researched and investigated the need for new/updated EMS equipment and subsequently acquired two new items to provide the best service to our community –Evac-U-Splint (extremity splint set w/mattress) and pulse oximeter.

Assisted at the Delaware County Fair providing EMS coverage and hosted American RedCross blood drives. Sponsored a local girl so she could attend the Phoenix Fire Camp, a week-long residential summer camp for young women.

Thanks offered
EMS Co-Captain Karen Hinkley thanked everyone who had helped in any way during the year – including the dedicated drivers and other department members and all those who went above and beyond when responding during 2011. Those outstanding individuals were recognized with a special engraved mag light. Those receiving top response awards included: Krista Cross, Mike Cross, Wink Hinkley, Joe Bussiere, BillSchryver, Tom Miner Sr., Patty Williamson, Tom Murray, Karen Hinkley, DottieCarroll, Dan Ballard, Steve Williamson, DJ Speenburgh, Hank Gockel Jr., TammieWyckoff, and Josh Ernst.

Chief DJ Speenburgh indicated that the majority of calls this past year for the Grand Gorge Fire Department were for motor vehicle accidents but other responses included brush and structure fires as well as mutual aid to neighboring departments. The GGFD had a major structure fire where EMS spent many hours providing “Rehab”for all firemen on scene.

Then on August 28, we all responded to an emergency that was unlike any other we have ever experienced as a fire department or as a community – the flooding from Hurricane Irene.
“Years of Service” pins were presented as follows: 60 Years - Don Kellerhouse; 45 Years - Hank Gockel, Sr.; 35 Years - Ed Docskalik, Tom Miner Sr, Wink Hinkley Sr.; 30 years - Dan Pickett; 15 years - Dan Ballard; 10 years - Nate Potter, Susan Dorrance.

Chief DJ Speenburgh also wanted to recognize those community members who stepped up to the plate and helped the fire department to meet the needs of our neighbors. Those recognized and able to attend the dinner were: Gilboa United Methodist Church, Cathy Rappleyea, Toni Osborn, Marilyn Ballard, Linda Gockel, Keith and Lori Grieco, and new members of GGFD - Nicci Gockel and Tony Rodriguez.

To close this very special evening, Chief Speenburgh presented all active department members with commemorative pocket knives. Music was provided by Ed Voorhees of Fast Eddie’s DJ Service, Prattsville.