Grabill awarded Highlands Fire Fighter of Year

DEER PARK – The Highlands Volunteer Fire Dept. (H.V.F.D.) held their annual Installations Banquet on Jan. 17 at the Monument Inn with recognition of accomplishments and services, a review of goals and the year’s history, as well as naming officers and the year’s best awardees.

The highlight of the ceremonies was the award of 2008 Firefighter of the Year to 2009 Station 2 Captain Daniel Grabill by veteran firefighter Cecil Kelly. Although Kelly retired after 42.5 years of service in 1996, he stayed active on the Board of Directors for the next five years and still visits the station every now and again from out of town.

“I am honored, it is great to have been here for the last seven years,” said Grabill upon receiving the award.

2008 Chaplain Tim Edwards has agreed to be 2009 Chaplain.

H.V.F.D. responded to 2,319 calls last year – a 6% increase over 2007. Ambulance calls increased 21% with 982 transports and Lifeflight was called 37 times.

H.V.F.D. has accomplished much this year with the support of the Highlands community. In addition to no at fault accidents for their apparati and ambulances their barbecue fundraiser was successful in spite of Hurricane Ike. Both maintenance costs and ambulance response times have remained low. Both fire stations never lost power during the hurricane due to new generators. The new ice machine used to store medicine and emergency provisions performed well during the storm. All fire hose and ladders passed inspection in 2008. A fire truck was refitted with a new 200 gallon water tank and pump.

EMS Chief Tracy Neathery spoke of the changing of billing companies, building certification for 15 paid medics, accomplishment of invitation of Lifeflight helicopter crews to train in Highlands and no capital expenditures as accomplishments by the ambulance crews. Goals are to achieve all aspects of a new Control Substance Security System and a battery operated stretcher for increased safety in 2009.

For more images from the event, please check out our new photo gallery: Jan ’09 – Highlands Volunteer Fire Dept Awards.