Ellsworth Fire Department Chief Robert Sternburg announces the Ellsworth Township Fire Department will celebrate its 60th anniversary as a volunteer fire department at 6:30 p.m. July 9, with a community celebration at the fire station.
The Ellsworth Fire Department will celebrate 60 years of volunteer fire and rescue services with a formal program of remembrance and recognition, along with educational activities for people of all ages. Elected officials, area fire departments, past fire chiefs and their families have been invited to attend the celebration recognizing the growth and expansion of this volunteer driven fire and rescue department. Presenting proclamations honoring the anniversary will be Sen. Joe Schiavoni, Rep. Ronald Gerberry and representation from Rep. Bill Johnson’s office.
Established on July 10, 1951, in response to the needs of a growing township, 17 dedicated volunteers met with the township trustees to form an all-volunteer fire department. Over the past 60 years, the department has grown in its scope and expertise through training and addition of high tech equipment. On Jan. 8, the department added a fully equipped ambulance for response and transportation directly to area hospitals. This additional service has shortened the response time getting accident victims and residents to needed emergency medical services.
Currently, the department has a roster of 30 volunteer firefighters who continually train in the latest fire and emergency response in order to provide a greater level of safety to the Ellsworth Community and those communities supported by mutual aid agreements. According to the National Association of Volunteer Firefighters, there are an estimated 1.1 million firefighters in the U.S., 71 percent of whom serve with volunteer fire departments.
The day’s activities will be hosted by the Ellsworth Fire Corps, a locally-driven citizen corps program that allows community members to offer their time and talents to their local fire and EMS departments in non-emergency roles. Highlights of the event will include interactive educational/training tools, a display of antique and modern fire and rescue equipment, pictorial and media displays of the past 60 years. A community bonfire, music and food will complete the evening’s festivities.
“We’re fortunate in Ellsworth to have a strong and dedicated group of volunteers supporting the township’s fire and EMS. Across our nation, economic and social factors are bringing about the erosion of the volunteer fire service. The economic ramifications are obvious, as towns are forced hire career firefighters in place of volunteers. The 75 percent of the country served by volunteer firefighters relies on them to be the first line of defense in almost any type of emergency from fires and medical emergencies to technical rescues and hazardous materials spills. Volunteers are the first responders before the arrival of county, state, or federal backup emergency response teams for all types of natural disasters. This celebration is about the dedicated individuals who have gone before us, those who currently serve and the future safety of Ellsworth in those we recruit to carry on the tradition,” states Chief Sternburg.