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Longtime fire department members honored

January 12, 2007|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - Two longtime members of the Martinsburg Fire Department were recognized by city leaders Thursday evening for 51 combined years of service to the city.

David W. Brining, 50, of Martinsburg, and Douglas M. Pittinger, 56, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., were presented with resolutions of appreciation for their service after retiring Jan. 5.

Brining leaves the department with the rank of captain. Pittinger worked for 20 years as a firefighter/EMT-Paramedic.

"It really doesn't seem like it's been 31 years," Brining said after Mayor George Karos presented a framed copy of a resolution that highlighted his career with the department.

Pittinger agreed that his tenure with the city passed quickly, adding he would choose the same career path again.

"I have no regrets doing it for 20 years," Pittinger said after the presentation.

Following in the footsteps of his father, brother and others, Pittinger said he began volunteering with Shepherdstown (W.Va.) Fire Department in 1968 and is the volunteer organization's EMS chief.

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"It was almost hereditary," Pittinger said.

Brining said he initially wanted to pursue a military career before being hired by the city at the age of 19.

Both eventually became county medical examiner.

"He was probably a contributing factor in dragging me into it," Pittinger said, smiling at Brining outside council chambers.

Brining has worked as a medical examiner for Berkeley County since 1987 and said he will continue his work for the state. His wife, Sandra Brining, also is a medical examiner for Berkeley County.

Pittinger was a medical examiner for Jefferson County for five years, resigning at the end of 2006 to avoid a conflict with his new job with West Virginia EMS Technical Support Network in Martinsburg.

Brining also is moving on to a second career as a private investigator for fire investigations.

Brining was appointed fire/arson investigator for Martinsburg in 1990 and was made chief fire investigator in 2004. After joining the department in 1976, Brining was promoted to lieutenant in February 1988 and made captain in February 1996.

Pittinger joined the department in January 1987 and twice received the Outstanding Martinsburg Fire Department Award in 1999 and 2006 from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge 778. In 2005, he became the first recipient of the West Virginia Outstanding Paramedic of the Year from the state's Office of Emergency Services.

"Both Capt. Brining and Firefighter-EMT Pittinger have been an asset to the fire department throughout their careers," Chief Paul E. Bragg said after the council meeting.

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