(PHOTO BY MARISSA GALLO | AEGIS STAFF / April 14, 2012)

The Susquehanna Hose Company had much to celebrate during its annual awards banquet Saturday evening at Level Fire Hall.

"2011 was a busy year," President Charlie Packard Sr. said, reminiscing about the "hurricanes and flood events and evacuations" the company helped with. "You are a great company."

Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee were just the most recent events in the company's 110-year history, which the members were also celebrating that night.

Several members received awards, with one in memory of a firefighter who died in 2010.


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Two deserving members, "the fastest volunteers in the nation" as they're called, won the top honors of the night.

Ron Cardwell, a member for 10 years, was named the Susquehanna Hose Company Firefighter of the Year.

Cardwell has held the ranks of lieutenant and captain, and has served on the board of directors for several years, Chief Scott Hurst said. He has also been a top responder and has had been among the leaders for years in training hours.

Sam Cubberley won The Record Firefighter of the Year Award.

Cubberley is Safety Officer 5 for House 5 and has taken on numerous safety projects for the company, Hurst said.

Both men were given proclamations on behalf of the City of Havre de Grace and its city council, the Maryland General Assembly, Harford County Council and Harford County Executive David Craig.

In tribute to a member who died in 2010, the Gene Burchette Memorial Training award was presented to Elaine Burchette, who was his fiancée as the time of his death.

Hurst said after the banquet that Burchette took her late fiance's last name after his death.

The banquet also gave tribute to Warren "Chuck" Todd, a life member who died away in December. His son, Mike Todd, accepted a memorial plaque in his honor.

Ten members were honored as the top responders.

The Top 10 are: Assistant Chief Steve Allers with 679 calls; Deputy Chief Bobby Goll Jr. with 606; Tom Phelan with 526; Scott Pentz with 502; Fred Cullum with 481; Gail Reeder with 461; Shawn Hurst with 439; Taylor Miller with 433; Jimmie Hawkins with 430; and Andrew Lempka with 426.

Hurst commented on the company's remarkable number of certifications and training hours.

In the last 15 months, Susquehanna Hose Company has received 200 national certifications, with 600 to date.

Furthermore, the company's 122 riding members achieved 12,136 hours of training altogether. For 2012, the company has already accomplished 3,500 hours.

The members with top training hours are Shawn Hurst with 404.5 hours; Scott Hurst with 402.5; Gail Reeder with 387.5; Elaine Burchette with 384; Allers with 372.5; Bill Reeder with 368.5; Robert Hess and Rick Sova both with 344.5; Mike Jurkowski with 339.5; Jamie Gomez with 335; Taylor Miller with 310; Andrew Lempka with 285.5; Scott Pentz with 277.5; Christian Coakley with 241; and Josh Welsh with 233.5.

Chief's Awards were given to five deserving individuals in each division.

Hurst described Ed Grainger, recipient for Division 1, as his "go-to guy for 15 years." Bill Reeder won for Division 3 and Paul Ishak, a consistent top responder and in the top for training hours, won for Division 5. Fred Cullum, Division 2, and Craig Triplett, Division 4, were not at the banquet.

Past president Ken Beyer Sr. received the President's Citation to a Past President, in "appreciation to the steps he took to make this company even better," Packard said.

Several members were recognized for their years of service.

With 30 years of service, awards were presented to Ray Orf, Steve Kinsey and Scott Pentz. Accepting awards for 35 years of service were Charlie Jones, Wayne Carroll and Havre de Grace City Councilman Jim Miller.

Of course, the company couldn't forget the unsung heroes - the spouses of the members.

"Our spouses support this company," Packard said before announcing the Distinguished Service Award for a Non-member.

He explained that this award is normally overlooked, but deserved to come back.

Dena Cardwell, Ron Cardwell's wife, was named the recipient, making for a truly a big night for the Cardwell family.