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DCES hosts first reunion

People connected with Dawson County Emergency Services--both young and old--gathered together to share some memories on Sunday. The first-ever Dawson County Emergency Services reunion happened at Veterans Memorial Park.

Weve had someone around from every decade from the 1960s on, Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford said.

Although not exactly planned that way, the reunion had perfect timingEmergency Services is in its 35th year since it took over services from Banister Funeral Home and 60 years since the first fire truck was purchased.

I was pleased, Swafford said. We got to see folks we hadnt seen in a while. It was a good day. I think everyone enjoyed looking back on history.

Swafford estimated between 50 and 75 people attended the event. Some even drove all the way from Illinois.

This is my family, Deborah Gajewski said of why she made the six-hour drive. I had some hard times. Billy (Thurmond, director of Emergency Services) took me under his wing, brought me in, I got my EMT (certification), he made me his partner and tried to teach me everything he knew. I had to come back; this is my family. Gajeweski was also the first female captain for Emergency Services. She said she left Emergency Services in 2005 for Illinois when her daughter moved for college.

When volunteers were asked why they enjoyed being part of Emergency Services, some of the answers were the same. Helping my community, Denny Blackwell answered. Blackwell is the volunteer captain of Station 5 on Kelly Bridge Road.

Matt Satterfield, a volunteer at station 2 for three years with Dawson County and full-time for six months with Cherokee County, agreed. We dont do it for the money, Satterfield said. I know it sounds funny, but its in our blood.

Food was cooked by crew members on the A shift and was provided by Jay Walls. Swafford said the department raised all the money needed to host the event. We did the whole thing with donated money. It was a low-dollar event but a lot of fun.

Swafford said he hopes to host another reunion, although he isnt exactly sure if it will be an annual event. He mentioned following typical high school reunion format and hosting one every five years.