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Hagerstown Fire Dept. recognizes top firefighters

February 18, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

Hagerstown's volunteer and career firefighters were honored Saturday night during the Hagerstown Fire Department Awards Banquet.

About 250 people were in attendance for the 25th annual event, Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said.

"It's the one time during the year we honor all of our firefighters, career and volunteer, who did outstanding things throughout the year," Hawbaker said.

James L. Sprecher Jr. was named the Volunteer Firefighter of the Year for 25 years of leadership as captain of Engine 2. He also was awarded a special plaque as recognition for being the volunteer firefighter who responded to the most calls in 2005. Sprecher responded to 225 calls that year.

Joey Chojnacki and J. Todd Grimes earned a special award of excellence for their role in battling a blaze at the Women's Club on South Prospect Street on Oct. 22, 2006.

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Scott Baire, James Kershner and Christopher Gelwicks were recognized as Honor Deed Firefighters for finding, removing and saving a semiconscious victim from a fire on Salem Avenue on April 3, 2006.

John R. Crist received a Special Award of Excellence for developing the department's serious injury or line of duty death guidelines. Robert F. Maurer received the same award for coordinating the first Citizen Fire Operations Class.

Mark Cleck was recognized with the Chief's Award for setting an example of dedication and devotion for the department to follow.

Ten recruits who recently completed the Hagerstown Fire Department Training Academy also were recognized.

Tony Cambardella was one of those recruits. He joined the department after volunteering for 11 years because "helping people is a feeling you can't get anywhere else," he said.

Harry Daveler started working with the Hagerstown Fire Department in 1958. He now serves on the award selection committee for the awards banquet.

"A lot of people say, 'I don't deserve an award for that, I was just doing my job,'" Daveler said. "They're very dedicated people, both career and volunteer."

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