OCEAN CITY — Michael R. Faust, a 33-year member of the Sudlersville Volunteer Fire Company, was elected president of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association at the 127th annual convention of the state group held in Ocean City Convention Hall, June 15 to 21.
Faust is the first Sudlersville company member to be elected to the highest office in the state association, and he is proud to claim fourth-generation membership in the volunteers.
Queen Anne’s County companies were front and center throughout the recent convention in Ocean City.
Ronald J. Siarnicki, of the United Communities Volunteer Fire Department on Kent Island, a longtime treasurer of the state association, was re-elected to his post. Robbie Blackiston, also of Sudlersville, a life member and past chief, was elected chairman of the association’s executive committee — the first from Sudlersville to serve in that post.
J. Dino Pignataro, of the Goodwill Fire Company, Centreville, was keynote speaker at the Tuesday session. He is deputy director of the Maryland Center for School Safety and spoke on “Maryland’s Response to School Safety: Past, Present, What the Future May Hold.”
Editor’s Note: Our very own Dan Tabler, a delegate from Goodwill Fire Company, was recognized as the longest serving member of any volunteer company in the state, having more than 70 years. Faust called Tabler a great man and said it was inspiring to see and speak with him.
The massive parade on Wednesday through Ocean City included fire apparatus from every company in Queen Anne’s County, including the newest engine-tanker from Goodwill and two new ambulances from Queenstown and Queen Anne-Hillsboro. All three of the new pieces of equipment were on view to those attending the convention.
Newly elected President Faust road in the parade in Sudlersville eldest piece of equipment, a 1927 American LaFrance. He noted that his great-grandfather, J. Noble Hardesty, was the town’s first fire chief when the company was established in 1927, and this was the company’s first fire engine.
Sudlersville Middle School Marching Thunderbirds, under the direction of Ron Demby, marched with the fire company in the parade. And Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson also attended.
“I am truly honored and humbled by all of the support I received from my family, the Sudlersville Volunteer Fire Company, and all the companies in Queen Anne’s County,” Faust said. “Also having Jack Wilson there and the support of all the other commissioners was just incredible.”
Sudlersville took second place as best appearing fire company in the parade, surpassed only by the Easton Volunteer Fire Department.
Siarnicki, who also was chairman of the convention program, said the firefighters have been coming to Ocean City for the past 70 years. He said 15,000 first responders, their families and friends come each year.
He said, “We have more training opportunities for our member firefighters, and we’ve added some more hands-on training and some additional seminars.”
A joint memorial service for the Firemen’s Association and the Ladies Auxiliary of the state was held June 16 at Convention Hall, recognizing all who had died in the past year from each county. Fourteen were listed from Queen Anne’s County.