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County’s top responders honored

At the Pike County Emergency Services annual Christmas Dinner Dec. 12, hosted by its auxiliary, several top responders were recognized and new fire chief Rick O’Barr was officially introduced. For 2014, fire safety education coordinator Ryan Reeves and Lt. Billy Payton II were presented with Firefighter of the Year awards. The Firefighter of the Year award is presented to those who exhibit exemplary performance that places them above his peers due to a willingness to train, exceptional firefighting skills, professional leadership abilities, ability to act decisively and dedication to the citizens of Pike. The First Responder of the Year award was presented to Lt. Jacob McCullough who was the 2013 Firefighter of the Year from Station 8. The Rookie of the Year award was presented to Robbie Gable. The award is given to a firefighter who has been involved with Pike emergency services less than two years and has committed to train with fellow firefighters, get involved with public education and safety events and be willing to serve the citizens. Randy Martin received the Volunteer of the Year award. Martin has spent countless hours providing assistance to firefighters and citizens, working with young firefighters to teach them about their roles in the community and the fire department. Public Safety Awards were presented to Lt. Billy Payton, Robbie Gable, Kolby Lynch, Ansley Ray, Lindsey Kirkland, Juli Reeves, Jodi O’Neal, David O’Neal, Jim Totten, Kyle Chambers, Lt. Jacob McCullough, Jeff McDonald, Anita Neath and Zach Jenkins.  ’The PCES Auxiliary hosts this event each year to say thank you to the families for their support and to honor members for their commitment and service,’ said O’Barr. ‘This year Auxiliary members prepared a slideshow highlighting the year in pictures and recruited officers to perform improv of John Denver and the Muppets 12 Days of Christmas.’ Deputy Fire Chief Jim Totten introduced and welcomed chief O’Barr before presenting awards.

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