2 girls receive honors at annual convention of volunteer fireman

Prevention program taught children how to react to danger

May 21, 2001|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

Two young girls who showed exceptional bravery and knew what to do during emergencies at their homes were honored Saturday at the Carroll County Volunteer Firemen's Association annual convention.

Victoria "Tori" Rill, 8, of Lineboro received the Citizen Safety Award, and Brittany Ports, 7, of Sykesville received the Citizen Fire Prevention Award. Both were given certificates and gifts.

"The [association's] fire prevention program is definitely working," said Debbie Gartrell-Kemp, chairwoman of the association's Fire Prevention & Citizens Award committee. "They're proof of it."

On Aug. 1, Tori's mother, Danae Rill, suffered seizures from uncontrolled high blood pressure. Tori called 911, made sure her mother was in a safe and comfortable position, and was taking care of her 5-month-old sister by the time Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department personnel arrived.

She met the emergency medical crew at the door, told them about her mother's condition and gave them a medical history and medications Mrs. Rill was taking.

Brittany Ports helped get her family out of their Sykesville home after a burning candle started a fire in the dining room Feb. 26. Brittany's mother, Ginger Ports, was in the kitchen when Brittany told her of the fire. Brittany called 911, and helped her mother get a younger brother and baby sister out of the house safely.

When asked how they knew what to do, both girls credited the local fire department.

"Every year we have firefighters come in when we go back to school, like the fifth day we go back, they come in and tell us what to do at certain times," Tori said.

"I learned from school, and Miss Christine Flanagan taught us to stop, drop and roll," Brittany said.

Flanagan, Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department's fire prevention chairwoman, also received a certificate of appreciation from the association for her efforts teaching fire prevention.

"We go out on the fire and emergency medical calls, but the real success stories are right here tonight - our little heroes," said Gene Worthington, Maryland State Firemen's Association second vice president, who attended the convention and helped present the awards.

Hall of Fame

During Saturday's 78th annual convention at Hampstead Volunteer Fire Engine & Hose Company No. 1, the firemen's association inducted three new members into its Hall of Fame for dedicated and outstanding service. New hall of fame members, nominated by their company, are:

Holloday Blizzard from Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company. A charter member, he helps out at the carnival and other fund-raisers. He was the first paid fire engine driver in 1962, holding that post for 18 years.

He was fire chief for 10 years, assistant chief nine years, president two years, vice president and chaplain each five years, and chairman of the board one year. He was made a life member in 1973.

Jack E. Coe from New Windsor Fire and Hose Company No. 1. A member since 1962, Coe has been an administrative officer, fire line officer, Emergency Medical Services officer and apparatus driver. He has been company treasurer for 34 years.

He has also been on the board of directors for 14 years. He is trained as a Firefighter III, Rescue, and Advanced Emergency Medical Technician and intravenous technician.

C. Douglas Bostian, Union Bridge Volunteer Fire Company. He has been a fire company member since 1963, has served on numerous committees, held elected office and served as company representative at the county and state levels. He also is a fund-raiser for the fire company.

He has been the LOSAP (Length of Service Awards Program) chairman for the county association for 10 years and was instrumental in getting the county program state-mandated.

Convention events

The annual convention included a luncheon, a memorial service for members who have died in the past year, a business meeting and awards banquet. During the business meeting, new officers were elected and installed for the coming year.

New firemen's association officers are Malcolm Helwig, Manchester, president; C. Douglas Bostian, Union Bridge, first vice president; Thomas VandeBussche, Taneytown, second vice president; Ralph Dull, Manchester, secretary; Joe Hess, Reese, treasurer.

The Ladies Auxiliary to the firemen's association held its 59th annual convention and elected new officers. They are Linda Black, Manchester, president; Yvonne Stultz, Union Bridge, first vice president; Janet Parrish, Taneytown, second vice president; Mary Jo Lilley, Lineboro, secretary; Sharon Sidler, Mount Airy, treasurer; Jeannie Green, Gamber, historian; and June Black, Sykesville, chaplain.

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