54-year firefighter remembered at ceremony
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Oct 14, 2013, 14:30
BLAKE BELDEN/HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT The Prince George Fire and EMS community lined the stage on Sunday where they were awarded for their acts of bravery in the last year.
PRINCE GEORGE — A radiating silence hung over the auditorium in memory of Prince George volunteer firefighter William Franchok, who passed away earlier this month, yet his devout courage, persistence and irreplaceable presence during his more than 54 year servitude to Company 1 earned him the ‘Officer of the Year’ award for the Prince George Fire Department.
Franchok, 72, dedicated his life to the fire department, holding the many roles of firefighter, first responder, lieutenant, assistant chief and most recently captain, and during the past couple of years he has run the top number of fire calls in the department, said retired fire chief Paul Mauger as he commemorated Franchok with the award.
“Billy will remain a true inspiration to all of us who are a part of this great organization and it was a pleasure serving him and knowing him,” Mauger said.
As National Fire Prevention Week drew to a close, the Prince George community stood tall, unanimously applauding the efforts of the Fire and EMS officers who go above and beyond to serve the citizens of the county on Sunday when the Prince George Fire and EMS management team held their annual awards ceremony in the Prince George High School auditorium.
“Leadership is probably one of the most important things in any organization. ... We are very fortunate in Prince George County, and Prince George Fire and EMS, to have a great pool of leaders that step up every day and do whatever it takes to make sure that our community is protected,” said Brad Owens, Prince George Fire and EMS director.
Owens personally congratulated and awarded several chiefs with special recognition for their noteworthy performances. He named Carson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Scott Campbell the Fire Chief of 2013.
“The man has a heart of gold, and it’s probably one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen out of anybody. ... I think his heart is just engraved with Carson on it. He’s there for everything,” Owens said.
Tales of heroism and superior medical response awareness were told, emphasizing the hard work and commitment of local Fire, EMS and rescue officers.
Jefferson Park Volunteer Fire Chief Jason Coker, Prince George Police Lieutenant Sean Moore, Sergeant Chad Eilert and Officer Gary Lively earned a Life Save Award for their involvement in the rescue of a drowning swimmer in the James River.
While patrolling the river, they noticed a swimmer in distress who had gone underwater and did not resurface. Within minutes, they had recovered the swimmer, and transported him to the shore after which the patient suffered no major deficiencies.
Ms. Jamie Burchell was awarded a certificate of commemoration for helping in the medical assistance of a friend who suffered a series of seizures while on a school bus trip to the Rowanty Technical Center.
Jamie Burchell was a certificate of commendation for her assistance in the medical treatment of her friend who suffered from seizures.
Burchell recognized the seizure symptoms that her friend was having, and immediately warned the bus driver of the medical emergency. While waiting at a weigh station off the interstate for an emergency response team to arrive, Burchell checked her friend’s vital signs and noticed her levels of respiration. Once the team arrived, she continued to assist them with patient care before her friend was airlifted to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, skills she acquired through emergency medical technician training at the Rowanty Technical Center.
There were 40 awards given to those members of the Prince George Fire and EMS community who have served for at least five years or more, including seven who have served for at least 50 years: James Buren, Kenneth Butler, Bobby Cain, Emil Stech, Charles Story, Luther Vick and Donals Vtipil Sr.