POMEROY — Seven decades of Pomeroy firemen gathered on Saturday, April 30 to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Pomeroy Fire Department at the Farmers Bank Community Room in Pomeroy. A large crowd of 75 people were welcomed to a social hour with refreshments as current and past members celebrated the history of the department, personal achievements, and the renaming of the department’s Butternut Avenue building.
Pomeroy Fire Chief Derek Miller emceed the event and introduced special dignitaries who were in attendance for the celebration. Invited guests included Pomeroy Mayor Don Anderson, Village Council members Nick Michael, Mo Hennessey, Phil Ohlinger, Maureen Burns and Aaron Oliphant. Council Member Victor Young was unable to attend due to prior commitments. Village Fiscal Officers Ben See and Susan Baker were acknowledged for their assistance in helping the department. Also in attendance was Ohio State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon.
Miller welcomed the attendees and noted the passing of three Pomeroy firefighters since the last department dinner was held. Honored were Harold Norton and Joe Struble who passed away in 2019, along with Chief Rick Blaettnar who passed away in 2020. A moment of silence was observed to note their passing along with noting the achievements of all three men who had over 150 combined years of service with the department. At the conclusion of the moment of silence, Firefighter Aaron Oliphant led the invocation before a catered meal was served by Culinary Art Company of Mason.
As the awards ceremony began, all Pomeroy firefighters presented their loved one with a single red rose as a thank you for their support. Chief Miller noted the rose is symbolic of admiration and respect in the fire service, as multiple sacrifices are made by the family of a volunteer firefighter. Family members are often overlooked as important pieces of a fire department and Miller wanted the family members to know that they are appreciated and never forgotten.
Miller read a special proclamation from State Representative Jay Edwards who noted the prestigious milestone of 175 years of service and the praiseworthy record of service to the citizens of Pomeroy. Also noted in the proclamation was outstanding courage and initiative in the performance of their duties with have gained the appreciation and esteem of many. Ohio State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon then presented a signed proclamation from Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor John Husted. This proclamation noted the founding of the fire department and its evolution from a bucket brigade in 1847, through its first horse pulled wagons and steam pumper which served a population of 7,000 residents, to today’s modernized fire department that proudly serves the community.
Chief Miller then introduced retired members who were unable to attend the dinner which included John Manley, Gary Snouffer, Jeff Shank, Bryan Shank, Tom Reed, Bryan Zirkle, Kevin VanMatre, and Mike Vanmeter.
Following, Miller presented awards to retired and active members and introduced each of them to the crowd with an acknowledgement of their service to the department, along with any line or company officer positions that they had held, and entry date to the department. All members received a certificate of appreciation, 175th anniversary t-shirt and helmet shield customized with each member’s name, unit number and traditional interlocking PFD logo.
Retired members in attendance included past Chief Chris Shank and Bracy Korn. Active members of the fire department were introduced by years of service and included Brian Mace, Riley Lanham, Damion Dailey, Jake Musser, Brayden Young, Jake Buckley, Nate Hoover, Chris Queen, Tre Wallace, Aaron Oliphant, Brentten Young, Tyler Peyton, Willie Zahran, Gage Zirkle, Dakota Rice, Jason Lanham, Ben Young, Eddie Fife, Jr., Derek Miller, Michael Blaettnar, Ben See, Clay Crow, Richard Peyton, Adam Smith, Todd Smith, Stacey Shank, Tommy Werry, Brent Zirkle, Bill Lambert, Steve Hartenbach and Howard Mullen.
After awards to the members were presented, the evening’s presentation then shifted to the department’s longest serving member, Howard B. Mullen. Mullen, approaching his 70th anniversary of active duty with the department on November 10, received special recognition for his tenure serving the community. Mullen, who joined the department on November 10, 1952, was presented a special commendation from State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon, which congratulated Mullen on 70 years of volunteer service with the Pomeroy Fire Department. Chief Miller then read an extensive list of accomplishments from Mullen’s career and concluded with resolution 77-22 of Pomeroy Village Council. This resolution dedicated and renamed the Pomeroy Fire Department’s Butternut Avenue Station as the “Howard B. Mullen Fire Station” in recognition of his 70 years of courageous and faithful dedication to the safety and well-being of the citizens of Pomeroy. Mullen received a standing ovation from the attendees as the emotion of the event overcame him. Mullen acknowledged those in attendance and accepted the honor in recognition of all members of the Pomeroy Fire Department who have gone above and beyond to make the department what it is today.
The evening concluded with the presentation of door prizes which were donated by local merchants, as well as a department picture to commemorate the 175th anniversary celebration.
Submitted by Chief Derek Miller.