The 26th Annual Jeffco Fire Engine Rally was held on Saturday, September 28, at the Herculaneum City Park. The annual event is sponsored by the Jefferson County Firefighters Association. The Fall weather was overcast with a spot rain shower following the opening ceremony. The annual 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 over 50 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 26th Annual Jeffco Fire Engine Rally in remembrance of Keith W. Parker, retired Crestwood Department of Fire Services engineer and long-time Jeffco Fire Engine Rally Committee. Keith was a member of the Jeffco Fire Engine Rally planning committee for several years and served as the apparatus judge. During the dedication, Keith’s wife Jan was presented with a Maltese cross plaque in recognition of his years of service to the rally. Mrs. Parker was also presented with a framed certificate in recognition of Keith’s name being added to the Memorial Wall at the Fire Fighters Association of Missouri memorial in Kingdom City. Following the presentations, Jan addressed the audience and thanked everyone for their support and love for Keith.
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: Zachary S. Daugherty, DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District; Richard E. Ford, Cedar Hill Fire Protection District and Big River Ambulance District; Stephen F. Hammer, Jefferson R-7 Fire Protection District; Thomas J. Keener, Hillsboro Fire Protection District; Michael V. Langsdorf, Saline Valley Fire Protection District; Calvin H.G. Lindwedel, Goldman Fire Protection District; William T. McCredie, Rock Community Fire Protection District; Steven W. Niemeyer, Saline Valley Fire Protection District; Keith W. Parker, Jeffco Fire Engine Rally; Oliver R. Pechmann, Cedar Hill Fire Protection District; Michael P. Pouliezos, DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District; Kenneth L. Reed, Hillsboro Fire Protection District and Dunklin Fire Protection District; Paul F. Roth, Festus Fire Department; Burl J. Rudisaile, Festus Fire Department; Emmet L, Smetzer, Sr., DeSoto Rural Fire Protection District; Frank W. Tidd, Sr., Mapaville Fire Protection District; Carol Wagner, Big River Ambulance District; Michael W. Warden, Festus Fire Department; Carolyn R. Watz, Mapaville Fire Protection District and Alan D. Whitter, Festus Fire Department and Hematite Fire Protection District.
A moment of silence in remembrance of September 11, 2001, is also included in the memorial. Members of the Jefferson County Firefighters Association Color Guard presented the flags prior to Opening Ceremony.
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 Department of the Year Rock Community Fire Protection District, Fire Chief of the Year Chief Brian Gaudet, Hillsboro Fire Protection District, Firefighter of the Year Tyler Reed, Herculaneum Fire Department, EMS Chief of the Year Chief Curt Stueve, Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District and Paramedic of the Year Ashleigh Smit, Joachim-Plattin Ambulance District.
The opening ceremony also includes the introduction and presentation of plaques to the rally grand marshal and junior grand marshal. Retired Assistant Chief of the Antonia Fire Protection District Glenn Nivens was honored as Grand Marshal and Camella Hurst of Imperial, MO, 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 the Grand Marshal and Ron Herman of St. Louis transported the Junior Grand Marshal during the parade.
The annual rally features numerous demonstrations each year and the 26th rally was no different. The Jefferson County Fire and Rescue Training organization demonstrated the suppression of a propane fire; the Crystal City 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) of St. Clair, MO demonstrated a large animal rescue scenario.
Other awards presented at the rally included the following apparatus winners:
Best Overall Antique: Paul Haug of Ste. Genevieve, MO. Newest Apparatus in Service: Crystal City Fire Department. Oldest Apparatus in Service: Union Fire Protection District. Best Overall – Current Apparatus: Crystal City Fire Department. Best Aerial Apparatus: Crystal City Fire Department. Best Pumper Apparatus: Monarch Fire Protection District. Best Overall Ground Cover Apparatus: Hematite Fire Protection District. Best Rescue Apparatus: Festus Fire Department. Best Tanker Apparatus: Goldman Fire Protection District. Best Lettering and Detailing: Rock Township Ambulance District. Best Overall EMS Vehicle: Valle Ambulance District. Heritage Apparatus Award: O’Fallon Fire Protection District. Farthest Traveled: Washington Fire Department. Judge’s Award: Ste. Genevieve Fire Department
Two firefighter competitions were held at the rally, an axe-throwing contest and a firefighter challenge. Seven firefighter teams participated in each competition. Members of the Crystal City Fire Department took first place in both competitions.
For the second year in a row, a dalmatian contest was held with three dalmatians participating in six categories. Medals were awarded to first and second place in the following categories: Most Spots, Fewest Spots, Largest Dalmatian, Smallest Dalmatian, Best Dressed Dalmatian and Best Dalmatian Trick.
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 theme 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 26th rally had the second 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-seventh JeffCo Fire Engine Rally will be held on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Herculaneum.