Gamber firefighters honored for efforts at N.Y. disaster site

Carroll commissioners thank 17 for volunteering

September 21, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County commissioners bestowed commendations yesterday on members of Gamber and Community Volunteer Fire Company, thanking them for their timely response to the tragedy in New York City last week.

When New York police sent the first fax asking for aid, about 30 Gamber firefighters were on standby, ready to leave.

"There was not a member of our station who didn't want to respond, and that was true throughout the county," said Chief J. Ronald Green, who dispatched 17 members of his fire company to New York on Sept. 11, the day of the tragedy. "We didn't respond for recognition or to play hero. The real heroes were the New York firefighters and police officers who lost their lives doing their best."

Gamber firefighters, including Assistant Chief Richard Green Sr., Ronald's brother, and emergency medical personnel traveled caravan-style in five emergency vehicles - a fire engine, two EMS support vehicles and two Chevrolet Suburbans - all laden with medical supplies.

"They were most grateful for the Suburbans," Richard Green said. "We were there in a supporting role and were only a small part of the big picture, but we felt like we had to help."

The Carroll County volunteers spent the night driving many New York firefighters - often as many as eight at a time - to and from their stations.

"New York's firefighters came off 14 hours of duty really exhausted with only one bus back to their stations," said Dr. Dean Griffin, a Westminster physician who accompanied the group from Gamber. "Gamber's vehicles took them all night sometimes as far as Queens and the Bronx."

Griffin, who was assigned to a triage unit at a school near the disaster site, tended victims with minor injuries most of the night. Early Sept. 12, he and a nurse climbed atop an overpass and looked down at the disaster scene.

"I saw [Richard] Green in the midst of it, giving instructions to his crew," Griffin said.

Richard Green said, "We had to help. We dug with our hands and with many others for several hours until the heavy cranes arrived."

The volunteers returned to Carroll County that day.

The Gamber community has fully supported the effort, J. Ronald Green said, with donations that more than covered the company's travel expenses.

The volunteers, wearing black bands across their badges, received a certificate of appreciation from the commissioners yesterday.

"We are really proud of you," Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier said. "You laid aside your own needs and left the safety and comfort of your own homes."

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