A half century of service

ELIZABETHTOWN When Stephen C. Denton became a volunteer fireman, he never imagined hed still be doing it 50 years later. Denton joined the Elizabethtown Volunteer Fire Department in 1958 at the age of 22. Hes been on call ever since. On May 31, the department held its annual banquet at the Cobble Hill Restaurant, honoring some of Elizabethtowns finest. Among those honored was Denton, who was recognized for his lengthy tenure with the department. Fire Chief Edward Martin presented Denton with a plaque from Essex County Emergency Services Director Ray Thatcher in honor of his 50 years of service to the community. Denton also received recognition in the form of a Certificate of Honor from the Department of State in Albany. According to Denton, a lot has changed for firefighters over the years. The equipment is dramatically different in all aspects, he said, noting how better equipment and practices have improved efficiency and firefighter safety. One change that he is concerned about is the steady decline in volunteers. When I started, there were around 50 of us, Denton said. Now were down to about thirty. Of the 50 years that Denton has been with the department, he spent 14 as first assistant chief and 29 as fire chief. He is still active in the department as a driver-pump operator and fire commissioner and shows no sign of slowing down. The departments current First Assistant Chief, Jack Hanby, was also honored at the banquet, receiving the award of Fireman of the Year. Second Assistant Chief B.J. Wright presented the award, the recipient of which is chosen by fire department members each year.

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