Fayette Fire Dept. has several 40-year-plus members 09.10.09

Written by David Green.

VETERANS—Following the retirement of Earl Ferguson, the Gorham Fayette Fire Department still has four members with more than 40 years of service. From the left is Dick Buehrer (49 years), Gary Rice (45 years), Dick Vine (43 years), Boomer Rice (41 years) and Tom Stambaugh (36 years).


Some people might see a lot of old guys on the Gorham Fayette Fire Department. Chief Tom Franks sees a lot of experience.

Earl Ferguson officially retired last month and received a plaque for 47 years of service, but he isn’t the senior member. That honor goes to Dick Buehrer with 49 years and counting.

Those two aren’t the only 40-year veterans of the department. Gary Rice comes in at 45 years, Dick Vine at 43 years and Calvin “Boomer” Rice at 41 years.

Next in line, Tom Stambaugh, trails with “only” 36 years on the squad.

Some chiefs might think the department is tipping a little heavy on the older end of the scale, but Chief Franks doesn’t mind.

“To tell you the truth, I’m glad I do have them because there’s a lot of knowledge and experience there to bring forth to the newer members. Those guys are a dying breed.”

Franks said his senior member, Buehrer, lives about a block from the fire station and he’s always the first person to arrive for a call.

“Dick shows up more than anyone, too,” Franks said. “He probably drives about 80 percent of the rescue runs.”

Ferguson had cut back some in the last two years, Franks said, but he always kept his training up and still helped out when available.

Looking back over more than 40 years with the department, Ferguson said he really enjoyed his time as a volunteer. He served in a variety of roles, from driving to helping out with LifeFlight landings, and, of course, fighting a lot of fires.

He said he leaves the department with a lot of good memories along with some unpleasant ones from responding to accidents that remain hard to shake.

Franks said he likes to keep his roster at 35 members and it’s currently full. He can only take EMT volunteers now and the department pays for schooling.

Eventually it will be time to bring on a new member or two, and when that day arrives, he’ll turn to his veterans to help teach the rookies how to get the job done.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017