'Team, team, team' key to Jarrettsville fire company

Ben Kurtz, left, gets an award for being Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company's top fire responder in 2012..
Ben Kurtz, left, gets an award for being Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company's top fire responder in 2012..(BRYNA ZUMER | AEGIS STAFF, Bryna Zumer)

Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company honored its members, past and present, during the 83-year-old company's annual banquet on a very snowy Saturday night.

Claud Gamble, past chief of Jacksonville Volunteer Fire Company, wore a Ravens jersey and a Joe Flacco Fu Manchu mustache, appropriately, on the day before Super Bowl Sunday, as he kicked off the banquet by reminding the crowd that the three most important things are "team, team and team."


"It's the old, it's the young and, something that I see disappearing a little bit in the fire service – the middle," Gamble said, telling his fellow fire members to value what different generations have to offer.

"Young guys, pay attention to the older guys. They've been there," he said. "Older guys, pay attention to the young guys. Pardon my French, but they are full of piss and vinegar just like you were."


President Ted Burkhardt said the company is looking forward to working with Harford County's new public safety department and whomever would be hired to lead the office.

"Jarrettsville is looking to work with this person and with the [Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS] Association for a stronger fire and EMS in Harford County," Burkhardt said. "This business is like any other business: you have to be ready for changes."

He thanked the association for giving the company more than $26,000 as well.

New chief Rudy Walter noted the company came a long way in the past year, including implementing a social media policy and watching its response times fall considerably.

The fire call volume, however, fell considerably as well, he said. It was down about 100 calls from the previous year.

Jarrettsville was "extremely lucky" with weather issues, he said, mentioning the lack of snow, a tornado that touched down but did little damage and Superstorm Sandy, which largely bypassed the area.

On the social media front, the company created a Facebook page that has more than 1,300 fans, he said.

Gerry Mack was among those who got a standing ovation for being the company's treasurer for more than 20 years and being instrumental in making it run more like a business, leaders said.

Harford County Councilman Chad Shrodes, State Sen. Barry Glassman and Del. Donna Stifler were among those who presented certificates to fire department members.

The top 10 fire responders were: Bryan Schulz with 157 calls, Robert Tharp, 158, John Simpson III, 167, Travis East, 174, Chad Haden, 177, Rudy Walter, 185, David Hebden Jr., 191, Robert Parks, 210, Michael Parker, 210, John Lassack, 220 and Ben Kurtz, 333.

The top 10 EMS responders were: Larry Bishop with 91 calls, Ernie Tracey, 107, Ted Burkhardt, 129, Denessa Fruhling, 132, Rick Tauson, 137, Debbie Woodfin, 141, Andy Hays, 174, Katie Smith, 175, Jack Mory, 265 and John Lassack, 341.

The company answered 374 fire and rescue calls and 1,019 EMS calls in 2012.

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