HIGHLANDS – The fire department held their annual Recognition and Awards Banquet last Saturday evening, in Kemah. Originally scheduled for the Aquarium restaurant, a non-working elevator forced the dinner to be moved next door to the Flying Dutchmen.
ESD#14 president Jim Strouhal presented the Firefighter of the Year award to Guy Gauthier.
This award is given in memory of Cecil Kelly, who volunteered with the Highlands VFD for over 42 years before retiring in 1996. The recipient chosen by vote of the membership is a firefighter who performed above and beyond the call of duty.
A large crowd of firemen and families, friends, community supporters, and board members attended the dinner. Fire Chief Harvey Little emceed the ceremony, introducing awards, guests, and honorees.
Chief Little reviewed the history of the department for 2019. He noted that there were a total of 2838 calls for service, compared with last year’s 2771. Of these 1991 were EMS calls compared with 2031 the previous year. Life Flight was called 27 times compared with 20 last year. There were 847 calls for fire responses, compared with 720 in 2018, a significant increase. The department responded to 201 Motor Vehicle Accidents in 2019, compared to 157 the previous year.
Chief Little reported on accomplishments in the last year. The department replaced old Air Paks with new and improved ones, thanks to ESD #14. An important change was switching to East Harris County Emergency Communications Dispatch, a large benefit in responses.
Using HVFD equipment, the department held training sessions at the Baytown, Sheldon, and Deer Park facilities. Combined training was held with Crosby and Mont Belvieu at the Baytown Fire Field.
The department was able to pay off the note on Tanker 27, which had cost $315,000. The department plans on replacing an older ambulance with a new one this year.
Membership in the HVFD stands at 65. Of these 33 are regular, 6 apprentices, 16 retirees (not in the total), 8 EMS full time paid, and 18 EMS part time paid.
Station #27 now is staffed with a night duty fire crew, and ESD #14 monthly meetings are held at the new building.