OAKHURST – The Oakhurst Elks Lodge was crowded with those wishing to celebrate and honor our first responders last Saturday night.
Cal Fire, Madera County Fire Department, Sierra Ambulance, the California Highway Patrol, the U.S. Forest Service and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office all selected honorees from their own ranks to be singled out at the first annual Mountain Area Safety Services Awards Dinner on Oct. 26
Elk Dale Miller helped come up with the idea to honor these men and women. He was a firefighter for 40 years and keenly felt the absence of a local awards dinner to honor the first responder community right here in the mountains.
Miller presented the idea to the Elks group and they enthusiastically agreed it was a good one. Member John Corrigan, another retired firefighter, and his team did the cooking, and the Ladies of the Elks volunteered to underwrite the event.
A 50/50 raffle worth $305 was won by District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, who immediately donated $100 of his winnings to the Elks, and another $100 to Kiwanis. Two beautiful jewelry sets were also raffled off and were won by the same lucky lady.
After dinner, guests were treated to live entertainment provided by Joann Benson, along with daughter Kami Brown and granddaughters Amber Benson and Kelly Ravel. Minarets music teacher Bill Samuelson and his band Rock Therapy also wowed the crowd before the awards were presented.
Attention then turned to the reason for the evening – our first responders. All of these honorees were lauded by their peers as going above and beyond in their service to their agencies and to their communities.
Awards were presented by Tom Wheeler on behalf of the Madera County Board of Supervisors, by Dave Wolin for the Eastern Madera County Emergency Preparedness Committee, and by Dale Miller on behalf of the evening’s host, the Oakhurst Elks Lodge.
Mountain Area Safety Services Award honorees:
Cal Fire – Ryan Davis
Madera County Fire Department – Daniel Rosing
Sierra Ambulance – Scott Ramirez
US Forest Service – Dan Tunes
CHP – Randy Matyshock
Sheriff’s Office – Paul Chetwood
Though all these recipients come from different agencies and serve in different ways, their vital contributions to their communities can be summed up in the statement made by Sierra Ambulance General Manager Ed Guzman as he presented paramedic Scott Ramirez with his award –
“There are people who are alive today because Scott was on duty when the call came in,” said Guzman.
(Top photo – Dale Miller, Tom Wheeler, Scott Ramirez, Jim McDougald, Paul Chetwood, Dave Wolin, Daniel Rosing, Darin McMechan, Ryan Davis, Mike Fralicks accepting for Dan Tunes, and Sandra Adams accepting for Randy Matyshock).