Laceyville's Goodwill Fire Company Honors Top Members
By Kelly Cole
The past year has proven to be anything but typical for Laceyville’s Goodwill Fire Company. Fire chief Brad Fassett pointed out during Saturday night’s annual appreciation dinner that his first year as chief has been “a trying year for the company…with the flood from Tropical Storm Lee, an influx in calls and a full agenda.”
Unbeknownst to Fassett, fellow volunteer fireman and president, Brent Case, presented him with an honorary award. Case explained that Fassett is the reason why he joined the fire company and he has such a “high regard and respect for Fassett. He puts in more hours and more time than anyone I knows….any two people I know.” Fassett humbly accepted the reward, thanking Case and all the other volunteer firemen. “I work hard and am here doing my job for this community.” It takes time from his family, but he is a dedicated man that will be there when called upon.
Before the awards were handed out and raffle prizes were won, Fassett welcomed the volunteer firemen and guests to the fire hall social room for the evening and pointed out that the event would be a bit different this year. He and Case wanted to make it a smash, and they had set up to close the evening with dancing and karaoke that was provided by fellow volunteer, Nicole “Pooh” Ruhf.
Fassett also gave special recognition to P&G employees Heather Cogswell and MariAnn Katorkas for organizing and facilitating the delivery of P&G product donations to the community. They were there every day to hand out supplies at the donation center to flood victims, he noted.
Before dining on the incredible meal that had been provided by Century Farm Meat in Wyalusing, Nolan Robinson offered the blessing. After dinner, Fassett opened the awards ceremony with a breakdown of what had been happening during the year thus far. Calls coming in to the station had gone up from the usual 80 to 100 in a year to 140, so far. Many of those were due to the flood. They also still have some training classes to complete before the end of the year. Station 5 had added a new utility truck in May and a Polaris Ranger 6-by-6 that made quite a lot of treks in the community during the flood. They also purchased a rescue skid that could be used on the Ranger.
A big help to the volunteer company came after Fassett attended a meeting with PEMA and FEMA recently. They were able to recoup approximately $10,000 for the use of their trucks to pump water during the flood caused by Tropical Storm Lee along Route 6 in Laceyville and in front of Penmart in Wyalusing. This will go quite far for an organization that runs solely on donations and fundraisers.
Fassett passed the mike over to Case, who, with the help of Casie Goodwin, presented a slide show of pictures from the flood and different training sessions that had been held throughout the year.
Fassett and Case called out the raffle prizewinners and then handed out the awards that had been voted on by all of the volunteer firemen. The first award went to Meshoppen Stone for being the Outside Business of the Year. Susan Nystrand stepped forward to accept the award on their behalf. Collin Fassett accepted the Local Business of the Year Award for Eb’s Market. Fassett and Case presented the Junior Firefighter of the Year Award to two young men this year: Cody Sprague and Levi Rogers.
Assistant Chief Eric Shafer stepped forward to present the EMS of the Year Award to junior chief, Brandon Sickler. “He is great to have around on the team and can see what needs to be done before being asked. This has been the first full year that the EMS has been in service and they have taken care of 204 calls to date,” said Shafer.
Fireman of the Year and Rookie of the Year were awarded to Tyler Huffman. Huffman is currently a sophomore at Lock Haven University. Generally he travels back to Laceyville every Thursday night after his last class of the week and stays until Sunday afternoon. He was unable to attend Saturday’s awards ceremony, however, due to a college event he was attending. He has stepped up to the plate with his full schedule and, while home, he is answering many of the ambulance and fire calls that come in.
Niles English was given an honorary award for the 10 years he spent as president of the Goodwill Fire Company. The men and women who volunteer their time at Station 5 also wanted to make sure that the people in the community know how much they are appreciated for their help during the flood.
Event organizers made it apparent that each of the volunteers had risen to every challenge that came their way over the past year.