Selena Spring named Firefighter of the Year
Published: Thursday, March 20th, 2014
The Custer Volunteer Fire Department held its annual banquet last Saturday evening at Crazy Horse Memorial. Fire department members were joined by friends of the department, including spouses, firefighters from neighboring agencies and other guests.
Fire chief Joel Behlings said the deprtment answered 142 calls in 2013, including 18 in January, followed by February having zero calls. He added that, thankfully, the wildland fire season was slow last summer.
The fairer sex swept the major awards at the banquet, as Selena Spring was named the department’s Firefighter of the Year and Sydney Gramkow was named the department’s Cadet of the Year.
Other awards given out included service awards recognizing benchmark number of years of service to the department. Among those receiving those awards were Russell Behlings, five years; Cody Buffington, five years; Jeff Johnson, 10 years; and Bill Bell, 25 years.
Top responder awards were given out as well, recognizing the firefighters who responded to the most calls in 2013. Those awards went to Bill Bell, Joe Harbach, Jim Lyon II, Gary Lipp and Joel Behlings.
Those who received the incentive award were presented with decorative clocks with their names carved into them. Those who received this award were Mike Mayer, Steve Esser, Matt Esser, Steve Keegan, Tim Behlings, Selena Spring, Lipp, Lyon, Bell, Harbach and Rod Waddington. The incentive program was started in 2000 and sets a series of benchmarks, including in-house training of at least 24 hours, that firefighters can meet to receive rewards, including a check that compensates them for each year they were in the department when they retire from the department.
The department also honored two outside agencies for their long-time support of the department. Jay Wickham, division chief for South Dakota Wildland Fire in Custer State Park received a plaque on behalf of Custer State Park, while Jim Strain, chief of operations for South Dakota Wildland Fire, who was not present, will also receive an award.
Finally, the “Rookie Review”âï¿½ï¿½was also presented, which recognizes those in their first year in the department. Recognized were Tyrell Johnson, Jessica Gould, Hope Clark, Chandler Rice, Quentin Cordell, Sydney Gramkow and Corbin Goodsell.
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