About 150 attended the recent bell and badge pinning ceremony held by Fire District #1. A christening ceremony for the department’s first Firefighter’s Bell was led by Rob Kirk, fire chief. Kirk, assisted by Dennis Meyers, assistant fire chief, and Rick George, chaplain, rang in the bell. Individuals received badges during the ceremony. Photo courtesy of JCFD#1
Surrounded by over 150 family members, friends and local leaders, the members of Fire District #1 recentrly held their bell ceremony and badge pinning ceremony.
The fire service of today is ever changing but is steeped in a tradition that is over 200 years old. One such tradition is the sounding of the fire bell.
These traditions are used as symbols, which reflect honor and responds to those who have given so much and who have served so well. An old tradition with the bell is to sound the alarm for a fire call. The bell would sound again when the task was completed, and the unit had returned to the station. The bell is also used when a firefighter has made the ultimate sacrifice. This time-honored tradition continues today during funerals and memorial services for firefighters.
A christening ceremony for the department’s first Firefighter’s Bell was led by Rob Kirk, fire chief. Kirk, assisted by Dennis Meyers, assistant fire chief, and Rick George, chaplain, rang in the bell.
Ray Casey, who served as fire chief in the 70’s – 80’s was in attendance along with his wife Peggy. Casey was honored by placing his hands on the bell and remembering his fondest memories. He was joined by his children, Kathi Flynn of Gardner, Carl Casey of Lenexa, Mike Casey, duty chief of Overland Park Fire Department, Scott Casey, assistant chief, of Fire District #1. They were also surrounded by family and friends.
The bell ceremony concluded with the reading of the Fireman’s Prayer by George.
The bell will be used for memorial services for fallen firefighters and other formal occasions.
The event then moved to the promotional and badge pinning ceremony. The badge pinning ceremony emphasises the dedication and professionalism of each firefighter, and their commitment to serving the residents of Fire District #1.
Kirk spoke directly to the honored members speaking about the history and honor of the badge. The ceremony included the pinning of their new rank position badge by a selected member of their family.
“The badge pinning ceremony is a time-honored tradition signifying the introduction and transition of new departmental members to their positions. It is an opportunity to recognize their efforts in front of colleagues, department officials, family and friends,” Kirk said.
Promotions included Scott Casey to assistant fire chief, Trig Morley to battalion chief community preparedness and emergency operations, Aaron Winkler, captain, to battalion chief training division, Rob Hudspeth, captain, to battalion chief, Adam Robinson, lieutenant, to captain, Bill Templeton, lieutenant, to captain, and Dain Weese, master firefighter, to lieutenant.
Probationary firefighters who met all the requirements of their probation were presented their helmet shields. The firefighters receiving this honor include Nathan Heinen, Justin Donnell and Wyatt Richerson.
Three new members were officially welcomed into full time service: Travis Evans, Sterling Lehman and Brandon Sattler.
Fire District #1 has 44 staff members and 15 volunteers who serve the communities of Gardner, Edgerton and New Century along with the Gardner & McCamish Township. The department responded to over 3,000 calls for service a year in 2018.