Dalhart’s Firefighter of the Year
By Robin Scott
The Dalhart Volunteer Fire Department recently recognized six men for their achievements within the department during the annual Christmas party held at the Loose Caboose on December 18th. Fire Chief Curtis Brown was one of those honored during the event for 15 years of service to the department.
Also honored were five-year pin recipients, Tommy Chisum, Matthew Hensley and David “Pineapple” Young. The firefighters voted for Rookie of the Year and Firefighter of the Year and those two were also honored. Rookie of the Year was awarded to Robert Gordon.
The designation as Firefighter of the Year is a prestigious honor for its recipient. The award is given by fellow firefighters for excellence and dedication to serving within the department and a willingness to assist other firefighters. The award has greater significance because it may only be voted on by peers within the fire department. This year’s Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Glenn Pack. Pack has 22 years of service with the Dalhart Fire Department. He rarely misses a call to a scene, regardless of time of day or day of week. Pack is employed by M & S Body Shop in Dalhart as a mechanic, and it’s said, “He’s one of those guys who can do just about anything.”
Other exciting news from the fire department is the recent addition of five new firefighters, making the Dalhart Fire Department one of the only fire departments in the panhandle that remains at near capacity. The department is authorized to have 35 members and now has 34.
The new firefighters commit to rigorous training once approved by the department. They remain on a six-month probationary period while learning CPR, first aid and begin their 70 hours of introductory training.
The close camaraderie of the members of the fire department is largely responsible for its ability to keep membership up. The department also allows members a longer period of time to achieve their training and basic certification.
The department’s new firefighters include Shawn Byrd, who works for Panhandle Machine Shop; Andrew Ferrill, who works for Lawrence Trucking; Rien Griffin, who works for Renzenberger, Inc.; Nick Martinez, who works for the City of Dalhart; and Scottie Hall, who works for Rita Blanca Electric Co. The newest applicants will be approved as firefighters during the department’s regular monthly meeting on January 19th.
In order to apply to become a volunteer firefighter for the City of Dalhart, applicants must be 21 years of age or older, live or work within five minutes of the fire station and have a valid Texas Driver’s License.
The Dalhart Fire Department is comprised of one paid employee, Fire Chief Curtis Brown, and all volunteer firefighters. Firefighters respond to a vast set of circumstances, including structure fires, motor vehicle accidents and even stranded motorists as was the case during the blizzard in March 2009. Dalhart’s firefighters include both men and women who respond to emergency calls from work or home. The firefighters often participate in training both in Dalhart and at other locations. Their small numbers and area of expertise make them a tight knit group of dedicated individuals.
For more information on becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact Fire Chief Curtis Brown at 244-5454.