The Addison County Firefighters Association (ACFA) held its annual awards and recognition banquet Jan. 21 at the Eagles Club. The dinner and awards ceremony brought together past, present and retired firefighters.
The program included county firefighting business reports, dinner, as well as awards and recognition.
Two individuals received the Life Members Award of the ACFA. Greg Cota of the Monkton Fire Department is in his thirty fifth year and always is serving on committees and helping do a little of everything. Willard Skip Patterson of the Middlebury Fire Department has 30 years of duty and has taken on various leadership roles whereby earning the respect of fellow firefighters. The Middlebury Fire Department was also recognized for receiving first place in training hours across the county with over 2,170 hours for the department.
Captain Jeff Vigne of the Ferrisburgh Fire Department was awarded the Line Officer of the Year. He has taken the lead over the 17 years of his career to focus on mentoring fire safety and prevention for the department, town and elementary school. Mike Coyle of Ferrisburgh Fire Department received Emergency Maintenance Technician of the Year. Chief of the Year was bestowed upon Jim Larrow of the Vergennes Fire Department.
The Addison County Firefighters Association was pleased to present John Baker of the Addison Fire Department the award of Firefighter of the Year. The ACFA described Baker, "his quiet, unassuming, dependable manner makes him a backbone of the departments success."
The ACFA honored Roy LaRose of the Bristol Fire Department with the award and recognition of Senior Firefighter. In 1951, LaRose began responding to fires and at 82 years old is still responding to calls for help from his neighbors. After 57 years in the fire service, LaRose is known as one of the best pump operators and best storytellers around the area.
Addison County firefighters responded to 87 calls in 2008. The emergency calls included auto-accidents, mutual aid fires, grass fires, rescue assists and other miscellaneous calls.
Upcoming events include a dinner dance on Saturday, March 14 at the Eagles Club in Vergennes as well as the ongoing pancake breakfasts that are held from 7-11 a.m. on the third Sunday of the month. The next pancake breakfast will be Sunday, Feb. 15.