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Dawson County Emergency Services holds appreciation, awards banquet
EMS awards pic 1
Left, Dawson County Emergency Services Career Officer of the Year Lt. Todd Hollaway. Right, DCES Chief Lanier Swafford. - photo by For the Dawson County News

Dawson County Emergency Services held its annual appreciation and awards dinner Dec. 1 at the Dawson County Junior High School.

The list of awards and recognition given that night is as follows:

Service pins were given to those who have served five, 10, 15 and 25 years with the DCES. Recipients of the 5-year pin were Chris Dover, Anita Jolly and Robert Crownan. Receiving the 10-year pin were Lt.  Jeff Banks, Lt. Shaun Benfield, Battalion Chief Jason Dooley, Lt. Todd Hollaway, Assistant Chief Danny Speaks and Lt.  Michael Stewart. Receiving the 15-year pin was Brian Delong, and receiving the 25-year pin was Capt. Denny Blackwell.

Explorer of the Year was awarded to D. J. Mitchell.

Volunteer Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Randy Edwards.

Career Firefighter of the Year was awarded to Chris Archer.

Volunteer Officer of the Year was awarded to Lt. James Fraser.

Career Officer of the Year was awarded to Lt. Todd Hollaway.

Support Member of the Year was awarded to Canine Search Specialist Carson Chin.

LEGENDS Award for 2017 was awarded to Jeffrey Harben.

DCES Chief Lanier Swafford said that Harben served as Road Superintendent for Dawson County and was Captain for Station 4.

“Jeffery spent many hours working to improve the equipment at Station 4, recruiting new members and planning for a new station,” Swafford said. “His work payed off in 1991 when though his effort, property was donated and the Station 4 we know today became reality.”

Swafford said Harben spent many long hours working to build the station, equipping the county’s first Rescue Pumper, restoring a Rescue Truck for the station, taking classes and leading from the front.

 “Times change and Jeffery’s professional career led him away from the fire service,” Swafford said. “However, his hard work and dedication are not forgotten.”

LEGENDS Award for 2017 was also awarded to Wilda Pirkle on behalf of her late husband Ralph Pirkle.

“In May of 1975, the founding members of the Kilough Fire Department elected Ralph Pirkle as their first chief,” Swafford said. “During his two years as fire chief, Pirkle was instrumental in the property acquisition and the initial construction efforts of what we now know as Station 3. In addition, he worked tirelessly to raise over $3,500 to allow the community to obtain a fire knocker as its first fire truck. At the time, Dawson County was the first county in the state to obtain two fire knockers.”

A native and lifelong resident, Swafford said Pirkle remained active in the fire department for several years after his tenure as chief and was a supporter of the department until his passing in the 1990s.

Wilda Pirkle, accompanied by children Cathy Adamson and Rodney Pirkle, accepted the award in Pirkle’s memory.

Swafford also thanked businesses and groups that had provided aid to the emergency services programs throughout the year.

“Whether through the support of food, funding for equipment, or technical skills and manpower – these business have provided exceptional support to DCES during 2017 and it is my honor to recognize them at this time,” Swafford said. Included in the list were Chick-fil-A, the Lanier Technical College EMT Program, the Lanier Technical College welding program, Outside World and Fire House Subs.