Over sixty-five fire trucks and ambulances ascended on the Herculaneum City Park on Saturday, September 27 to take part in the 21st Annual Jeffco Fire Engine Rally sponsored by the Jefferson County Firefighters Association. The fall weather was absolutely gorgeous and the event attracted firefighters, children and festival-goers from across the state. The 21st rally followed in the footsteps of its predecessors by once again being a very successful event.
As in the past, this year’s rally kicked off with a parade of emergency apparatus traveling from Crystal City to the city park in Herculaneum. Following the parade, an opening ceremony was held that includes a memorial service honoring the men and women associated with the Jefferson County fire service who passed away during the previous year. The memorial includes the reading of the individual’s name, their years of service and department followed by a single ring of the memorial bell. Individuals honored this year included: Alvin Burkard, Rock Community Fire Protection District; Glint Gallaway, DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District; Robert Hipes, Sr., Hematite Fire Protection District; JoAnne Karg, High Ridge Fire Protection District; Raymond (Chip) Kohler, Rock Community Fire Protection District; Harold Maloney, Springdale Fire Protection District; Brian Stone, DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District; and Ruth Wingbermuehle, Antonia Fire Protection District. A moment of silence in remembrance of September 11, 2001, is also included in the memorial. Members of the Ozark Firefighters Association provided the Color Guard for the fire engine rally.
During the opening ceremony, the annual Jefferson County Awards are presented to those individuals and departments who are selected by an awards committee from the nominations that are submitted.
The annual Jefferson County Firefighter and EMS awards were presented as follows: Fire Life Saving, Technical Award, Hematite Fire Protection District; EMS Life Saving, Technical Award, Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District; Firefighter of the Year Award, Kevin Cremer, Festus Fire Department; Fire Chief of the Year Award, Fire Chief Chuck Boyer, Festus Fire Department; and the Fire Department of the Year Award, Festus Fire Department.
The opening ceremony also includes the introduction and presentation of plaques to the rally grand marshal and junior grand marshal. Retired Deputy Chief Larry Steinkamp of the Antonia Fire Protection District was honored as grand marshal and Cedrick Thurman of Hazelwood, Missouri, represented the Missouri Burn Camp and Burns Recovered Support Group of St. Louis as the junior grand marshal. A resolution from the Missouri State House of Representatives was presented to the rally committee by 103 District State Representative T J McKenna.
The annual rally features numerous demonstrations each year and the 21st rally was no different. The Crystal City Fire Department demonstrated auto extrication and the Hillsboro Fire Protection District and members of the Jefferson County Fire/Rescue Training Academy presented a vehicle fire extinguishment demonstration. ARCH Air Rescue, Survival Flight and Air Evac all had rescue helicopters on display at the rally.
Winners of the fire department competitions were as follows: Firefighter Challenge, Hillsboro Fire Protection District; Bucket Brigade, St. Louis Fire Department; Explorer Post and the Water Fight (Barrel on a Cable), Hawk Point Fire Protection District #2. The overall competition winner resulted in tie between the Hillsboro Fire Protection District and the St. Louis Fire Department Explorer Post.
Other awards presented at the rally included the following apparatus winners: Best Overall Antique, Todd Mahn, DeSoto, Missouri; Newest Apparatus in Service, Mapaville Fire Protection District; Oldest Apparatus in Service, Big River Fire Protection Association; Best Overall Current Apparatus, Herculaneum Fire Department; Best Aerial Apparatus, Festus Fire Department; Best Pumper Apparatus, Union Fire Protection District; Best Overall Ground Cover Apparatus, Hawk Point Fire Protection District; Best Rescue Apparatus, Warrenton Fire Protection District; Best Tanker Apparatus, Goose Creek Lake Fire Department; Best Lettering and Detailing, Valle Ambulance District; Best EMS Vehicle, Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District; Heritage Apparatus Award, O’Fallon Fire Protection District; Farthest Traveled, Hawk Point Fire Protection District; Judge’s Award, Weingarten Fire Department.
As in the past, this year’s rally included numerous activities for the children including a bounce house and an inflatable slide, a children’s firefighter challenge, face-painting, firefighter themed games, a fire safety house and a scavenger hunt. Visits with Smokey Bear and Fire Pup were also available to the children.
The Jefferson County Firefighters Association thanks all of the vendors, equipment sales and food vendors for participating at this year’s rally. A big thank you goes out to the sponsors of the event and to those who attended.
Mark your calendars! The twenty-second Jeffco Fire Engine Rally will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2015, in Herculaneum.