By KATE J. CONDE
It’s true what they say, time flies when we’re having fun. This warm and sunny summer on the Vineyard certainly did fly by. The season was off to a great start as the Edgartown fire department won first place in the firemen’s muster, held July 1 at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. All teams participated in three events; midnight alarm, house rescue, and bucket brigade. Congratulations to the winning team members for all their hard work and heart: Andrew Kelly, Alex Schaeffer, Kevin Maciel, Don O’Shaughnessy, Mike Valenti, Morgan Hauck, Rick Mansfield, Scott Ellis, Jake Sylvia, James Dropick and Asa Vougt.
A few raindrops couldn’t dampen the spirit of our squad members who pulled the antique button tub in the Fourth of July parade. We got a roar from the crowd as the earnest team quickly pumped the traditional apparatus and Capt. Sam Koohy sprayed the patriotic mob. The department hosted picnic-style fare after the parade and everyone enjoyed pizza after the drizzly fireworks show.
August brought a conquest for us at the annual fire department vs. police department softball game, as the fire department came out on top 25-18. Kara Shemeth pitched all 9 innings for the good guys while Kevin Maciel had several outstanding plays. Capt. Bobby Brown hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to really push the team to victory and Lieutenant Kelly’s coaching kept the team’s momentum going in order to bring the trophy home for the first time in five years!
With the end of summer comes the end of a 47-year career for Deputy Chief Larry Thomas. Since his retirement he has been acknowledged as an honorary member of the firemen’s association and will serve on the board of fire engineers. Thank you, Chief Thomas, for all your commitment over the years. We look forward to seeing you at monthly meetings and dinners.
Alex Schaeffer has more than proven he can handle the lion’s share of work in the office and has deservingly been promoted to fill Larry’s shoes as deputy chief. Scott Ellis moves up to round out the office as our new assistant chief. Scott first joined the department in 1980, (when he was only 16 years old — wow), serving the last 12 years as captain of Engine Four. The chess game continues as Chief Shemeth appoints Kevin Gundersen as captain of Engine Four and Jim Klingensmith moves up to lieutenant. Capt. Charlie Smith has been promoted to senior captain and Jim Klingensmith has also been appointed assistant emergency management coordinator. Congratulations to everyone.
The association would like to welcome its newest emergency medical technicians: Mike Klimek, Tim Sheran, Jim Klingensmith, Marlon Garcia, Rita Brown and Bill Jacob.
We were saddened by the death of our good friend Teddy Bernard. Also, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the fallen Boston firefighters.
October brings the new season of autumn as well as the return of our monthly dinners. As an unknown author once said, “Hug a firefighter and feel warm all over.”