McDavid VFD Honored At Church Appreciation Day

April 14, 2008

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The McDavid Volunteer Fire Department was honored Sunday for over 25 years of service to McDavid and surrounding communities.

Most of the department’s 18 members were on hand Sunday morning at Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church in Bogia as the church devoted much of their morning worship service to recognizing “Station 9″. The event was Ray’s Chapel’s first ever service honoring the local volunteer fire department.

Prior to the formation of the McDavid VFD, calls in the McDavid area were answered by the Century Volunteer Fire Department.

eltongilmore.jpg“This started out with an idea to give more to the folks in McDavid,” Elton Gilmore (pictured left) of the McDavid VFD told the packed church. “Many of you and many of the volunteers gave of their time, themselves and sometimes gave by risking their lives for this department.”

“It’s a real pleasure to work with these guys,” Escambia County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. David Preston said during the service.

“When I’m called to duty God, wherever flames may rage, give me strength to save a life,” Preston read from The FireFighter’s Creed. “I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me to guard my neighbor and protect his property. And if according to Your will I have to lose my life bless with Your protecting hand my children and my wife.”

preston.jpg“I appreciate them, and I appreciate them being there,” he said of the working relationship in North Escambia between the volunteer fire departments and the sheriff’s department. Often the job is hard, but the McDavid VFD is always there, he said.

“When there’s a fire, a death, a MVA (motor vehicle accident), a family that has just lost everything in a fire, there’s rarely emotion right then,” Preston (pictured left) said. “You are trained to react, and you do it.”

“Sometimes it’s really personal when something happens,” he said. “They have to work it; they have to clean it up. Then they have to go home and think about it.”

“We are gratefull to help out community out where we can,” McDavid VFD chief Eric Gilmore told the church during. “We have been to a lot of these recognition ceremonies, but it really means much more coming from our community.”

Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church’s RA (Royal Ambassadors) children’s group presented the firemen with handmade cards of appreciation.

“When my mom had a seizure, you were there,” one young man said in his card. “Thank you for helping.”

The children in the church also present small gifts to each fire department member that was present.

“Lord, we thank You for the McDavid Volunteer Fire Department. We thank You for the service they provide for the community ” recently retired Ray’s Chapel Pastor Fil Enfinger prayed at the close of the service. “Lord, we pray that You would keep them safe. Lord we pray that You would keep them secure.”

The McDavid Volunteer Fire Department was incorporated in 1982 with a 1962 firetruck on loan from the Florida Division of Forestry. They purchased a1948 Ford firetruck in 1983. The station was constructed on land purchased from what was then St. Regis Paper Company in 1984. Many more modern trucks and pieces of equipment were purchased over the years.

The department has nine certified firefighters, with one in training. The department has seven certified first responders and one EMT.

The McDavid VFD answered 237 calls last year, ranging from fires, to motor vehicle accidents to one call for an activated fire alarm.

Pictured above: Mark Digmon from Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church presents a certificate of appreciation to McDavid Volunteer Fire Department Chief Eric Gilmore Sunday morning.

For more photos from the McDavid Volunteer Fire Department Appreciate Day at Ray’s Chapel Baptist Church, click here.

The members of the McDavid Volunteer Fire Department are: Eric Gilmore, Elton Gilmore, Kenny Malone, Phyllis Malone, Ben Gilmore, Chris Kinley, Michelle Kinley, Larry Kinley, Matt Carter, Matt Gilmore, William Sheffield, Wayne Godwin, Galen Goetter, Morgan Goetter, Eddie Gunter, Chris Hawkins, Dorothy Gunter, Alec Estes and Adam Estes.

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