Southern Maryland Firemen's Association
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71st Annual Installation of Officers
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By Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Raley
January 26, 2019

On January 26, 2019 the 71st Annual Installation of Officers Banquet was held at the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Fire Hall. To start off the evening, the administrative, operational and auxiliary officers were sworn in by SMVFA Representatives.

2019 Administrative Officers:
President – Charlie Bradburn
Vice President – Ron Hafner
Secretary – Lori Raley
Assistant Secretary – Eddie Raley
Treasurer – Johnny Wathen
Fire Chief – Ray Mercure
Board of Directors-
Ray Mercure
Charlie Bradburn
Robbie Wood
Francis Raley
Dickie Wood
Ron Hafner
Johnny Wathen
Lori Raley
Bruce Raley
Rob Dodge
Matt Ridgell
2019 Line Officers:
Fire Chief – Ray Mercure
Assistant Chief – Eddie Raley
Deputy Chief – Darius Hawkins
Captain – Danny Gatton
Captain – Charlie Langley
Lieutenant – Chris Bender
Lieutenant - Jordan Andrews
Lieutenant – Robert Simmons
Lieutenant - Joe W Raley
Safety Officer – Phil Cooper
Safety Officer – Francis Raley
Safety Officer - Tom Trossbach
Chief Engineer – Peanut Gatton
Engineer – Bradley Cooper
Engineer – John Morrison
Engineer – Heavy Ridgell
Engineer – Ron Hafner
Engineer – Tony Ridgell
Engineer – Robbie Wood
Engineer - John Keister
Engineer - Brian Cooper
2019 Auxiliary Officers
President – Dawn Gatton
Vice President – Debbie Fairfax
Recording Secretary – Darlene Wood
Corresponding Secretary - Lisa Gibbs
Treasurer – Margie Cooper

After the swearing in, dinner prepared by Rita B's Catering was served. Following dinner, Past President, Joe Raley led us into a memorial ceremony to honor the deceased members of the department. The 2018 deceased members Jerry Norris and Craig Foote were added to the memorial located in front of our station. Family members were escorted to place flowers in remembrance.
The awards program followed, under the helm of Master of Ceremonies, Former St. Mary's County Commissioner Dan Raley.

Congratulations to the following 2018 award recipients:
President's Award – Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Auxilary
Chief's Award – Leigh Langford
Fireman of the year – Chris Bender
Rookie of the year – Chris Bender
Chief Engineer's Award – Bradley Cooper and Brian Cooper
Joe Titus Fire Prevention Award – Danny Reppell
Auxiliary Member of the year – Laura Cook
Auxiliary Outstanding Service Award - Tyler Gatton
Auxiliary President Dawn Gatton presented the department with a check totaling $55,000 to be used for renovations to the fire prevention trailer, decontamination kits, PAT tag and ID machine and replacement of MSU-4.
2018 Top 10 Emergency Responders:
1. Kevin Lorence 219 calls
2. Keith Raley 172 Calls
3. Ron Hafner 171 Calls
4. Chris Bender 161 Calls
5. Danny Gatton 156 Calls
6. George Gatton 146 Calls
7. Francis Raley 141 Calls
8. Jannet Keister 133 Calls
9. Heavy Ridgell 128 Calls
10. John Morrison 127 Calls

Length of Service Awards:
5 Years – Lori Raley
15 Years - Josh Wise, Matt Ridgell, Scot Best, George Franklin, Joe W. Raley, and John Ridgell
20 Years - Tim Ridgell and Charlie Bradburn
25 Years (Life Member) - Brian Cooper and Steve Gatton
30 Years - Johnny Wathen
55 Years - Phil Cooper, Dickie Wood and Joe Raley

Auxiliary Years of Service:
10 Years - Lauren Fairfax
20 Years - Renee Russell
30 Years - Kay Carter and Margie Cooper
35 Years -Mary Raley

Carnival Chairman Mike Ridgell presented several years of service awards to citizens of the community for their years of commitment to the Ridge Carnival.
A dance followed with music by DJ Wesley "Wild Wes" Briscoe.

The Officers and members of the Ridge VFD also would like to thank the members of Bay District VFD and NDWFD Webster Field for covering our area during the installation.

Also, a special thanks to Mary Franklin for the pictures.


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