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69th Annual Awards Banquet
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By President Terry Anderson
May 4, 2024

On Saturday, May 4th, the Officers and Members gathered at our 69th annual awards banquet to celebrate. The night opened with a delicious dinner catered by Rita B’s Catering. After dinner, The President honored members for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years of service to the department. Assistant Chief Joe Ford provided an amazing speech speaking on leadership past and present.

Our esteemed colleagues, Past Rescue Chief Sue Franklin and Lifetime Member Nick Otrompke, were honored for their exceptional 35 years of service. Past Chief Chris Franklin was celebrated for his tireless efforts in ensuring our apparatus was always ready for service, marking an outstanding 40 years of dedication. Past Chief/Past President Capt. Bernie Shea was recognized for his 45 years of unwavering service. The night reached its pinnacle with the tribute to Past Chief/Past President John Pardoe, who has served us remarkably for 50 years. And finally, we were in awe of Past Chief Capt. Robbie Robinson, who was honored for his incredible 60 YEARS of service to our department and the community we serve.

In 2016, the Chief Awards were renamed the John "Robbie" Robinson Chiefs Award to honor the legacy of Past Chief Capt. Robbie Robinson. Chief Dalrymple presented his four John "Robbie" Robinson Chiefs awards to Donna Ford, Dep Chief of EMS Rick Hargrave, Assistant Chief Joe Ford, and President Terry Anderson.

President Anderson took a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude to the exceptional banquet committee for their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication in planning this year's 69th Annual Awards Banquet. The committee, led by Past President Renee Crampton and Past Rescue Chief Karen Pardoe, included Stacy Langley-Scott, Jessica Nero, EMS Sgt Kayla Delehanty, and Safety Officer Thomas “Yogi” Yowell. Their meticulous planning and execution made this event a resounding success.

There were five recipients of the President awards, each of whom has made significant contributions to our department. The first was presented to Recording Secretary Michelle Velazquez for her hard work and dedication in ensuring the hall rentals were taken care of and planning events for the members to enjoy. The next recipient was Corresponding Secretary Carol Langley for her amazing work for the fund drive letter, a huge fundraiser for the department. The third recipient was Dep Chief of Fire Alex Velazquez, who was honored for his dedication to ensuring the building was taken care of and even making some repairs to help save money for the department. The fourth recipient was Safety Office Brian Bowen, who always goes above and beyond to assist the President with various tasks and does so with heart and dedication. The fifth and final President Award for the evening was presented to Vice President Colton Pounsberry for his hard work and dedication as the chair of the membership committee, who handles all new members of the department and takes care of them until they become probationary members. He is also tasked with running the department in the absence of the President, including running meetings and assisting the operational officers of the department.

President Anderson made a special presentation to four individuals who go above and beyond for the department for various items, but in particular, they worked their tails off on the 24 Days of December Raffle to help the department bring in an astounding $38,000 with that Raffle. They spend numerous days and weekends at public sales events to ensure every ticket is sold before they leave. These four individuals are Chief Jonathan Dalrymple, Assist Chief Joe Ford, Dep Chief of EMS Rick Hargrave, and Safety Officer Thomas “Yogi” Yowell.

The final award presented by the President for the evening was the Raymond Lankford Award, which is presented to a department member who goes above and beyond on the administrative side of the department. This member has been instrumental in orchestrating our public relations events. She has adeptly handled the scheduling, ensuring our presence is felt throughout the community and that we are adequately staffed to manage these engagements effectively. Her leadership also extends into our fire prevention efforts, coordinating with schools and daycares in our first due to educate our youngest citizens on fire safety. Under her guidance, our fire prevention events have not only grown in scale but have also increased in impact, echoing our commitment to community safety. At the Southern Maryland Volunteer Fireman’s Association Convention in 2024, her hard paid off for the department receiving its first-ever award for fire prevention, placing 3rd in our division. This year's recipient of the Raymond Lankford Award is Ms. Donna Ford.

Chief Jonathan Dalrymple stepped up to the podium to present the operational awards for 2023. First up was to honor crews who assisted with saving the life of a member of the community in 2023 who went into Cardiac Arrest. The crews worked as a team to achieve ROSAC and were able to get the individual transported to a facility specializing in cardiac treatment.
Next up, Chief Dalrymple presented a Unit Citation to the crew members who had responded to an incident on the Thomas Johnson Bridge in 2023. The crews worked as a team to rescue an individual from the chilly waters of the Patuxent River and bring them to shore to get the treatment they needed. The EMS crew was able to stabilize the patient and the patient was transported to a trauma facility to get the care then needed to recover.

Moving on, we celebrated the Top 10 runners for 2023. Solomons VRSFD honors those with the highest “On the Call” responses. For 2023, the Top 10 were.

First Name Last Name OTC
1 Skuyler Nero 679
2 Lochlan Weems 484
3 Kayla Delehanty 186
4 Paul Lacey 155
5 Nickolas Fanelli 138
6 Kenny Miller 108
7 William Richardson 96
8 David Ackerman 93
9 Jason Bretz 90
10 Jacob Scott 89

For several years, the Officers have excluded themselves from the top 10, so those members who help get the apparatus out were honored. Chief Dalrymple still honored those officers who would have been included in the Top 10 with a gift of appreciation. The officers who would have been in the top 10 “On the Call” response in 2023 were:

First Name Last Name OTC
Thomas Delehanty 419
Richard Hargrave 419
Thomas Yowell 313
Brian Bowen 268
Jonathan Dalrymple 260
Alexander Dickson 228
Richard Lacey 219
Joseph Ford, Sr. 211

Continuing, it was time to honor those members in various categories who went to exceptional levels to help the department and ensure the community was cared for.

First up was the Cadet of the Year (Age 13-15) award, presented to Cadet Jonathan Dalrymple Jr. for his hard work and dedication to always wanting to help and learn and maintaining good grades in school. JJ, as he is known around the station, embodies the core values of our organization, including integrity and service, which are passed down through your father. Your outstanding achievements and contributions make you an exemplary representative of the cadet program and deserving of Cadet of the Year.

Next was the Junior of the Year (Age 16-18) award, presented to Paul Lacey. Not only is Paul in the CCPS CTA Program for Fire-Rescue, but Paul has worked diligently the entire school year and will close out as a Nationally registered EMT. Paul could not wait until he turned 16 to ride with his dad Capt. Richard Lacey.

Continuing with our Rookie of the Year. Upon joining our department a little over a year ago, everyone was encouraged to become a firefighter and EMT because we are a combined fire and EMS company. To date, he has worked on being able to ride the Apparatus. Along with having a family at home working full time, he has achieved Firefighter 1, Hazmat Ops, and Firefighter Survival Rescue and picked up many other tasks given to him routinely. The 2023 Rookie of the Year is Dave Ackerman.

We move on to Firefighter of the Year. This individual joined the department as a junior Member taking the cadet classes in the CTA. This individual graduated from high school in June of 2023. He is always willing to help around the station when asked. This individual has been involved in several big incidents in 2023. Over the last couple of years, we have watched this individual grow into a great young man. This Individual Is going after his dreams of being a career firefighter/EMT by applying everywhere possible. The 2023 Firefighter of the Year is Lochlan Weems.

Next up is The Robert E. Langley Memorial EMT of the Year award. This award is presented to members of the EMS Service who distinguish themselves with outstanding Skills and service to the Department and community. This Award was Renamed the Robert E Langley Memorial EMT of the Year in 2000. Chief Bobby Langley was a charter member of the Calvert County Volunteer Rescue Squad, which was formed in 1954 and went into service on January 1st, 1955. Chief Langley held many positions in the department and was the rescue chief of the department in 1957 and 1961. Chief Langley was one the first CPR and Red Cross first aide Instructors in Calvert County and served many years on the EMS council for Calvert County. Chief Langley Was big into training and ensuring the EMTs of Solomons VRSFD were current on all the training. Chief Langley was instrumental in bringing the Thumper to Calvert County. This member joined the department in 2017 and immediately enrolled in EMT class and obtained certification in 2018. Since then, they have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to providing compassionate and professional care to patients in our community. With their dedication and expertise, this member has made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals in their time of need. Throughout the 2023 year, this member has consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty, responding to numerous emergency calls with professionalism and compassion that sets them apart from others. Each interaction is characterized by the genuine concern and well-being of the patient, coupled with a calm and reassuring presence that instills confidence and comfort in those they serve. Beyond the impressive call volume, they have consistently demonstrated a commitment to excellence. This member is kind, compassionate, well-liked and respected by everyone they encounter. Their infectious smiles bring joy to all around. This member has a tireless work ethic. Whether responding to emergencies, serving on committees, or participating in community or fire prevention events, you will never hear a complaint from them unless you don’t have a volunteer ambulance to run while on duty. This member consistently demonstrates a strong sense of duty and responsibility to this department and the community. This year's Robert E. Langley Memorial EMT of the Year award is presented to Mrs. Carol Langley.

Closing out the Chief’s awards was an award that was renamed to honor a special member of our department who was taken away from us too soon. The Meritorious Service Ward is an award presented to members of the fire service who distinguish themselves with outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the Department and community. This Award is being renamed Chief Walter Taylor Meritorious Service Ward. Chief Taylor was named Of Honorary Chief of the Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad & Fire Department in May of 2020. Walter Taylor joined the Solomons Volunteers in 1988 as an eager and active rookie and achieved his lifetime membership with the department in 2017. Beyond his love for his family and friends he also had a huge love for the emergency response industry. Additionally, he served as a volunteer for the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department and a paid professional for the Patuxent River Naval Base Fire Department, serving in numerous roles and positions. Over his years he has been honor with countless life saves and heroic actions many which we have had the privilege of hearing how they changed peoples lives from these past weeks. Walter served the department until his last day always proud of his volunteer work and commitment to community and helping others. On May 27 2020 officers and members of the Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department dedicate Engine 31 in his name. On this Evening May 4 2024 it is with great Honor that the Officers and members of the Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad & Fire Department rename The Meritorious Service Ward in Honor of Chief Walter Taylor. You will Love on In our Memories Forever.

The recipient of this year's “Walter Taylor Meritorious Service Award” is a very dedicated individual to our craft. Since joining our organization in 2013, they had little aspiration other than being a quality Fire and EMS responder that provided quality service to our citizens. It didn’t take long before they lit their own fire, which has continued to burn today. They became a “Sponge,” soaking up everything around them. Since that point, they have been an impeccable “Student,” achieving many certifications, including all their basic firefighting, Technical Rescue, and Fire Officer certifications, completing Fire Officer 1 – 4, only to better themselves as responder and learn how to become leaders of men and women. The 2023 Walter Taylor Meritorious Service Award is presented to Alejandro (Alex) Velazquez.

The Culmination of the Nights awards brings us the James Hill Volunteer of the Year Award. We recognize an individual who embodies the true spirit of leadership, mentorship, and dedication. This person has been instrumental in many of our journey within the department. They have been a guiding light, a source of inspiration, and a driving force behind our collective progress. Their leadership extends far beyond the borders of our department, touching the lives of countless firefighters, EMTs, rescue technicians, and paramedics throughout Calvert County. Their commitment to excellence knows no bounds, and there is no challenge too great for them to tackle head-on. But perhaps what truly sets this individual apart is their unwavering dedication to preserving our department's rich history and legacy. They speak with reverence of those who came before us, recognizing their contributions and using their example to inspire us to greater heights. They are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, nor are they hesitant to hold us accountable when needed. Their passion for our department is infectious, and their commitment to our mission is unwavering. The 2023 James Hill Volunteer of the Year is Chief Joe Ford Sr.

We want to congratulate each member who was awarded tonight and thank each member who dedicated countless hours of their time to serving the citizens of Calvert County. In closing, we at Solomons are “One Team with One Mission for One Community.”

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