Saturday night was a time of great fun and fellowship as Brookneal Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) held its annual Christmas dinner and awards ceremony.
It was another busy year for the department with 153 calls ran including many structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, brush and chimney fires, and more says Captain Ben Holt. Curtis Smith ran the most calls of the year - 107 out of 153. Throughout the night, Smith was praised for being such a dedicated fireman who is always willing to train and help others plus coming by the department every week to help with chores.
Assistant Chief Michael Colbert was clearly emotional as he spoke of how hard the ladies have worked to raise almost $2,000 to provide Christmas for six families in the area with 11 children. “The ladies have spent most of the day buying presents. What’s heartbreaking is on some of the kids’ toy lists are items like blankets and pillows,” he says. “We are fortunate to have this project and lots of time has been spent on it. On December 20 we will deliver the presents and anyone who wants to come along is welcome.”
Losing Clyde A. Hendricks earlier this year was a tremendous blow to the department. Curtis Smith told the crowd, “He loved the department and never minded telling you where he was coming from. He wouldn’t back down and was a close friend of mine. He enjoyed riding with me and will be missed.”
President Tim Lee presented Clarence Jones, Jr. with a Lifetime Membership plaque and jacket. “Clarence joined in 1978 and served 41 years before his retirement this year. He is a former president and I didn’t realize how much he did until I took his place. He’s done a lot for me including helping me get a good job,” said Lee.
Chief Mac Elder presented Billy Herndon with a 50 year pin and a commemorative helmet. “Billy is always there whenever you call him and is a good friend who means the world to me.”
During his address, Herndon humbly said, “I’ve seen a lot of things, lots of death, lots of people with serious injuries. Some people ask why I keep going after 50 years. I’m not scared. I can get into a lot of wrecked cars that others might not be able to. I’d like to go 60 years!”
Campbell County Supervisor Charlie Watts commended the department and shared that it “means the world to me to be here.” He also said that BVFD is well thought of in the area and considered to be one of the best maintained and operated fire departments.
Brookneal Council member Benny David was there and said, “I appreciate all you do. I couldn’t do it!”
Longtime fireman Woody Dickerson spoke up from the audience and shared, “BVFD is one of the best! I love all of you!”
Chaplain Matthew Killmon thanked them all of their sacrifices of giving up weekends for training and jumping up at 2 a.m. to go to a call. He also thanked the wives and girlfriends for their understanding and sacrifices.
An update on the progress being made by the Swift Water Rescue team was also shared as well as two excellent videos.