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Fire captain is the chief's 'go to' man

March 19, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

When Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. needed to fill a vacancy for the treasurer position in 1997, Ron DeLauney volunteered for the job even thought he already was serving as company captain and performing other administrative work.

"Nobody else wanted to do it and the work had to be done," DeLauney said.

DeLauney's dedication to all aspects of the fire service has earned him the admiration of his peers and, for the sixth straight year, the Elmer C. Koontz award.

Named for a company charter member, the Elmer C. Koontz award is given to those at Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. who perform consistent outstanding administrative or operational work, Sharpsburg Fire Chief Jeremy Gay said.

Gay said he voted for DeLauney to receive the award because of his dedication and positive attitude.

"He's my 'go to' man. He's pulled us out of some binds," said Gay.

Receiving the recognition was gratifying but "I don't do it for the awards," said DeLauney, who joined the Sharpsburg company in 1975 and rejoined in 1996 after leaving the area and returning.

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"Knowing that you've helped someone in distress is enough," he said.

DeLauney was presented with the award and named Executive Officer of the Year during the company's annual banquet on Feb. 23.

A Sharpsburg native and son of a firefighter, DeLauney lives in Hedgesville, W.Va., and works at the Wal-Mart distribution center in Williamsport, but responds to as many fire calls as he can.

In 2001, he logged 96 of the 281 calls on which the company ran.

"I love it. I wouldn't trade it for anything else," said DeLauney, who at age 43 is the company's oldest active firefighter.

Other firefighters honored during the banquet at the Shepherdstown Fire Co. banquet hall were:

-- Engineer of the Year, Allen James

-- Firefighter of the Year, Matt Stevens

-- Fire Suppression Officer of the Year, Chief Jeremy Gay.

-- Top five responders: Roger Otzelberger, Allen James, Matt Stevens, Curtis Beasley and Matthew Ryan.

-- Training award for the most training classes taken, Chris Mullendore.

A special award was given to Antietam National Battlefield for assisting the department with a $10,000 grant used to buy wildland firefighting equipment.

Certificates of appreciation were handed out to other agencies. A special slide presentation honoring the heroes of the 911 tragedies was shown.

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