STEVENSVILLE — The 73rd annual Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department Birthday and Installation of Officers had a number of honors presented to members who served the community well in 2019, however, nothing came as a bigger surprise than the check the Ladies Auxiliary presented to the fire department for $25,000. It was a record amount the Ladies Auxiliary raised in one year, surpassing any year previously.
Auxiliary President Shirley Sperl came up toward the end of the program and presented the check to an amazed KIVFD President Jody Schulz, whose jaw appeared to drop open as he smiled. Schulz later said, “It comes without saying, the Ladies Auxiliary has always made a huge contribution to the fire department with all they do each year.”
The auxiliary had a successful fundraising year in 2019, topped off with a huge “First-Bingo 2020” for Sunday afternoon, Jan. 19, Sperl said.
“We had a special First-Bingo event, which we really hadn’t tried before," she said. "We were able to purchase some great designer handbags from the local outlets, making those our top prizes. We had 238 people turnout for the First-Bingo, which is well above our normal turnouts. It was very successful, and we plan to do another one like that real soon!”
The extra funds generated by that First-Bingo pushed the total earnings over the top to a new record amount the Auxiliary was able to present this year at the banquet. The Kent Island American Legion, Post 278, represented by 2nd Vice Commander Nikki Randolph, presented another $15,000 total to the fire department, dividing $10,000 to the fire department directly, $2,500 each to the EMS and Ladies Auxiliary, and $1,000 to the Cadet program.
In making those presentations, Randolph added her sentiments about the local fire departments, saying, “You volunteers are the real heroes to me in this community!”
Randolph was followed by Kent Island Elks, Lodge 2576, Exalted Ruler Mike Benson, who presented another check to the fire department for $3,000. Benson added words of praise, saying, “You volunteers are to be commended for all the hours of training you are required to do to better serve our community.”
Schulz was quick to point out that the funds received will go directly to help pay for the new Rescue Truck that has been ordered and is scheduled to be delivered within the next three months. The cost of the new truck is $1 million.
Schulz said: “Our old rescue truck is 25 years old. It’s seen its day, and it’s time to replace it.”
Among the speakers during the awards program, Sperl represented the Ladies Auxiliary. She recognized two life members who died in the past year. Kitty Duncan who would have received a 50-year membership pin from the auxiliary this year. Sperl presented the pin to members of Duncan’s family. The other member who died was Esther Houck. Sperl described Houck as “a very loyal member even though she lived in Philadelphia. She’d travel to Kent Island every year to help with the carnival cakes, and attended our dinners. Both ladies will be missed!”
Sperl called Virginia Ball to the podium. She presented Ball with her 20-year membership pin and Life Membership certificate.
2nd Assistant Fire Chief Paul Schlotterbeck presented the statistical report for 2019. He said: “KIVFD responded to 1,268 total calls in the past year. Saturdays appeared to be the busiest day of the week year-round, however, everyday was a close second to Saturdays. The fire department averaged 24 calls per week.
“The volunteers put in over 12,500 man-hours of service to the community through the fire department. 1,200 hours of training was recorded by the volunteers, but I know that number is not accurate. We have many volunteers who have not reported the hours of training they did, and we know who they are! The number of hours of training was closer to three or four times that number. We helped educate 573 children this past year about safety measures, and we added 11 new volunteer members to the fire department.” Schlotterbeck acknowledged that Link George is the longest serving member of the KIVFD with 52 years.
The 2019 Life Safety Award was presented to Amanda Schlotterbeck for her devoted service to KIVFD.
Years of Service awards were presented to KIVFD EMS Secretary Kelly Balderson, receiving her 20-year pin and Life Membership recognition. Board of Directors member Doug Leatherman received his 30-year membership pin.
Top EMS awards were presented to Mills Yslas — the Jim Beavers Award. Yslas responded to 437 calls in 2019. Nick Lewis was presented the “Employee of the Year” award.
Firefighter of the Year was Alex Bacchus. The Chief’s Award went to Austin Patterson. Rookie of the Year was Ryan Koley. Dave “Pops” Gellert received the Unsung Hero Award and was also recognized as the Top Responder of the Year, going out on 600 calls in 2019.
The President’s Award went to Cory Walters. Associate Member of the Year was Joyce Moore.
The Top 10 Fire Call Responders for 2019: Holden Schulz, 158 calls; Jimmy Carter, 180; Scherry Schlotterbeck, 181; Paul Schlotterbeck, 193; Harry Schreifer, 198, Alex Bacchus, 263: Buddy Thomas, 394; Mills Yslas, 437; Tracy Schulz, 555; and Pops Gellert, with 600.
KIVFD members who went out on more than 100 calls were also recognized: Jack Lambert, 133; Austin Patterson, 128; Matt Nation, 127, Ryan Koley with 113, Amanda Schlotterbeck with 108; and Jody Schulz, withc a few106.
m Longtime KIVFD member Chip Nash received a special recognition award from Fire Chief Buddy Thomas and 2nd Assistant Fire Chief Paul Schlotterbeck.
Maryland State Fireman’s Association officer Bill Hildebrand administered the oath of office to the new 2020 administrative, EMS and Ladies Auxiliary officers. Pastor Mark Farnell provided both the invocational and Fireman’s Prayer to end the evening.
The banquet was served by Chesapeake Celebrations Catering. A special offering, that was very popular, of fresh shucked and grilled oysters topped with cheese on the half shell was served by Pro Shuckers Seafood, owned by Steven Curran. D.J. Jeff Tessier provided the music for the evening. Queenstown VFD provided the standby crew for KIVFD for the evening.