Banquet honors firefighters, police officers
It was a family and community affair Sunday afternoon for the 14th Annual Firefighter and Police Officer Appreciation Banquet.
The event began with the Fireman's Prayer before firefighters from the Fairmount, Sherman and Stranger Township fire stations and their families enjoyed a meal of fried chicken, salad, potatoes and pie.
The Basehor PRIDE groups, along with the Basehor Chamber of Commerce and several other community organizations, have come together since 1994 to provide the banquet for the local firefighters and police officers. However, due to a shortage of police officers, the Basehor Police Department could not attend.
"The purpose is to honor and pay tribute to the firefighters, police officers and their families, who put in countless hours to protect each of us as citizens in the community," Chuck Wilderson, chairperson of Basehor PRIDE, told those in attendance.
Fire Chief Dan Tallman from Sherman Township Fire Station spoke about the firefighters' work on their new station at 170th Street and Kreider Road.
"It has been extremely rewarding and a real boost in morale," he said. "I thank you all for the long hours you took away from your families and your own personal chores to make this a reality."
While the old station in downtown Linwood lacked air conditioning, hot water and several other amenities, Sherman Township firefighters soon will be able to enjoy those comforts at their new station.
"Everything is easier to accomplish in a bright, shiny new facility," Tallman said.
The Sherman Township Firefighter of the Year was then presented to Chris Collins.
Lt. Troy McKitrick of Stranger Township Fire Department presented their station's award to Brad Marcellus. McKitrick said Marcellus has been with the department for seven years and controls and maintains the station's radio equipment. While response numbers have been down recently in the department, Marcellus has been there consistently to lend a hand, McKitrick said.
"He has continued to be someone we can count on when the tone sounds," he said.
The group observed a moment of silence for the late Bob Wiley and Allen Goens, both former firefighters, before Fire Chief Jeff Theno spoke for the Fairmount Township Fire Station.
Theno began by thanking the other fire departments, as well as the event organizers.
"You don't know how much this means to us to have this dinner in our honor," he said.
Each firefighter in the department was recognized and Theno also spoke about the cadet program the fire station has started, which recruits high school students interested in fire science, and recognized each cadet.
"It has been a very successful program for us," he said. "We have five cadets from the high school, and they are all tremendous individuals."
In keeping with the family and community theme of the afternoon, Theno turned the mic over to Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Magaha so he could present the Fairmount Township Firefighter of the Year award to his brother, Kenny Magaha.
"He has been with us several years and has done a lot for the community," Chuck Magaha said. "He has taken the cadets under his wing and is just an all-around good guy."
While they were unable to attend the banquet, police officers Frank Robison and Mike Joslyn received the Police Officer of the Year award.
A few last recognitions and a drawing for door prizes wrapped up the banquet until next year.