Concord Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrates its 60th anniversary | multimedia


This weekend marked a big anniversary for the Concord Volunteer Fire Brigade (CVFD), which celebrated its 60th anniversary on Sunday afternoon.

Department members and their friends and family members and many others from the community gathered in the new extension of the CVFD, which has been in use for less than a year. As part of the anniversary celebration, the ribbon was cut for the extension. Speakers reflected the history of the department, which since its inception in 1961 has grown into a respected agency.

Former chief and current CVFD president Jerame Edwards opened the ceremony, calling CVFD one of the best divisions in the region. He also addressed the current members of the department: “It is our responsibility to keep this department running for 60 years or more.”

Current chief Steven Hamlett paid tribute to several department members, including Kenneth Franklin, who has been with CVFD for 50 years. He also presented former Chief Claude Owen with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“This building we’re standing in,” said Hamlett, “he was the head of the building committee for it. He helped set up the fast water team. Not much happens here that Claude hasn’t taken in hand. He was chief twice during his time here and I am truly honored to serve with Claude. “

He also recognized Charlie Martin for 60 years of service in the department. Martin is the only founding member of the department who remains active, currently as treasurer of the CVFD.

When asked why he stayed with CVFD for so long, Martin replied:

“I just wanted to see if I can do you something good.”

Martin came to CVFD in his early 30s and said he had answered calls with the department for about 53 years. He remembers fundraising for the department’s first trucks and training with members of the Lynchburg Fire Department. He said the department has grown steadily since it was founded in 1961.

“I’m proud of the whole thing,” he said. “It’s very different now than it used to be.”

The gathering also announced that CVFD will be creating a memorial garden and is currently selling bricks in the garden as a fundraiser. Rodney Deaner came to represent WoodmenLife, who donated a flag and pole for the garden.

“We know of no better way to honor you than to have a flagpole with our nation’s flag on the pole as a symbol of your enduring spirit,” said Deaner.

Walt Bailey, Phenix’s Chief Volunteer Fire Department, was the keynote speaker at the event. Bailey served 40 years in the fire department and is a past chairman of the Virginia Fire Service Board. He is a past president of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association, a past vice chief of the Lynchburg Fire Department, and an active member of the Southside Virginia Firefighters’ Association. Bailey is also currently the Vice President of the Virginia State Firefighters’ Association.

Bailey said there are currently just under 590 fire departments in Virginia, of which about 37% are professional departments. When he first came into contact with the state fire department, Bailey said there were over 800 fire departments in Virginia, about 90% of which were volunteer departments.

“Think about what this community gets from you in your volunteer time,” said Bailey. “Think what Campbell County would cost to replace you. For this one station alone it would be millions of dollars with the service you offer this community. “

Bailey praised the professionalism and high standard of CVFD over the years. He said buying used trucks, two of which are still in service, was a wise decision by the department, and praised CVFD’s rapid water rescue team.

“You are a shining star in the fire department,” he said.

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