The 24th Annual Jeffco Fire Engine Rally was held on Saturday, September 30, at the Herculaneum City Park. The annual event is sponsored by the Jefferson County Firefighters Association. The fall weather was absolutely gorgeous, but hot, and the event attracted firefighters, children and festival-goers from across the state.
As in the past, this year’s rally kicked off with a parade of 50-plus emergency apparatus traveling from Crystal City to the city park in Herculaneum where the apparatus remained on static display throughout the day.
Following the parade, an opening ceremony and memorial was held that included the dedication of the 24th Annual Jeffco Fire Engine Rally in remembrance of Paramedic/Firefighter Frank C. Umbdenstock of the Valle Ambulance District and the Jefferson R-7 Fire Protection District. Frank was a member of the Jeffco Fire Engine Rally planning committee for 23 years and was looking forward to the 24th rally when he passed away in July 19, 2017. During the dedication, Frank’s wife Sharon was presented with a Maltese cross plaque in recognition of his years of service to the rally and the fire/EMS service in Jefferson County. Mrs. Umbdenstock was also presented with a framed certificate in recognition of Frank’s name being added to the memorial wall at the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri Memorial in Kingdom City. Following the presentations, Sharon addressed the audience and thanked everyone for their support and love for Frank.
The memorial service also includes the remembrance of 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 date of death and their department followed by a single ring of the memorial bell. Individuals remembered this year included: William A. Blumer, Dunklin Fire Protection District, Richard A. Brown, Goldman Fire Protection District, Vincent A. Courtois, Festus Fire Department, Zachary J. Crowley, Hillsboro Fire Protection District, Virgil F. Hammer, Jefferson R-7 Fire Protection District, Stanley D. Johnston, Dunklin Fire Protection District, Carl H. Kraus, Antonia Fire Protection District, Alvin G. Marschel, Goldman Fire Protection District, Tillman U. Ratty, Dunklin Fire Protection District, Delbert K. Shoults, Hematite Fire Protection District and Frank C. Umbdenstock, Jefferson R-7 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.
As part of 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, Chief Kevin Cremer, Festus Fire Department; Firefighter of the Year Award, Kyle Schnable, Antonia Fire Protection District and Karry “Dink” Friedmeyer, Crystal City Fire Department; Fire Chief of the Year, Chief Tony Bova, Crystal City Fire Department and Fire Department of the Year, Crystal City Fire Department.
The opening ceremony also includes the introduction and presentation of plaques to the rally grand marshal and junior grand marshal. Retire Battalion Chief of the Antonia Fire Protection District was honored as Grand Marshal and Kaleigh Dunahee of Collinsville, IL, represented the Midwest Children’s Burn Camp and Burns Recovered Support Group of St. Louis as the Junior Grand Marshal. The O’Fallon Fire Protection District provided transportation for both the Grand Marshal Junior Grand Marshal during the parade.
The annual rally features numerous demonstrations each year and the 24th rally was no different. The Crystal City Fire Department and Sentinel Emergency Solutions demonstrated various hose streams and hose appliances; the Herculaneum Fire Department and St. Louis Fire Sprinkler Alliance presented a side-by-side demonstration comparing fire suppression with and without a sprinkler system, and Missouri Emergency Response Service (MERS) demonstrated a large animal rescue scenario.
Other awards presented at the rally included the following apparatus winners:
Best Overall Antique: Eric Bayers, St. Louis. Newest Apparatus in Service: Antonia Fire Protection District. Oldest Apparatus in Service: Herculaneum Fire Department. Best Overall Current Apparatus: Cedar Hill Fire Protection District. Best Aerial Apparatus: Dunklin Fire Protection District. Best Pumper Apparatus: Festus Fire Department. Best Overall Ground Cover Apparatus: Hillsboro Fire Protection District. Best Rescue Apparatus: Ste. Genevieve Fire Department. Best Tanker Apparatus: Goose Creek Lake Fire Department. Best Lettering and Detailing: Valle Ambulance District. Best Overall EMS Vehicle: Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District. Heritage Apparatus Award: O’Fallon Fire Protection District. Farthest Traveled: Black Jack Fire Protection District. Judge’s Award: Frontenac 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 photo booth, face-painting, balloon artist, rock painting, firefighter themed games, a fire safety house and a scavenger hunt.
The Jefferson County Firefighters Association thanks all of the vendors, equipment sales and food vendors for participating at this year’s rally. The 24th rally had the largest number of vendors in the history of the rally. A big thank you goes out to the sponsors of the event and to those who attended.
Mark your calendars! The Twenty-Fifth JeffCo Fire Engine Rally will be held on Saturday, September 29, 2018, in Herculaneum.