BURLINGTON - The Burlington Volunteer Fire Department recently celebrated 82 years of continuous service to the community with an awards banquet, along with the installation of officers.

By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
BURLINGTON - The Burlington Volunteer Fire Department recently celebrated 82 years of continuous service to the community with an awards banquet, along with the installation of officers.
The guest speaker for the event was Craig Howard, who serves as the chaplain of the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Company. Howard gave words of appreciation to the local firefighters by saying, “Thank you for your sacrifice; thank you for your dedication.”
He continued with words of gratitude as he said, “You are the protectors of this community,” and at any time when a fire call comes in with “random and lengthy hours and exhausting at times,” you as the firefighters are there.
“You stand in the gap,” Howard said to the Burlington firefighters, and he added, “You work together,” and this work is appreciated by the community.
Prior to administering the oath of office, he asked the newly-elected officers to “accept these positions and carry out the duties to the best of your ability.”
He also instructed the officers to support each other, work in harmony, and take on the role of personal sacrifice.
Howard addressed the Burlington VFC membership, and said to them, “I am asking you to support these officers.”
Those taking the oath as 2018 administrative officers included: Jody Brafford, president; Teresa Baniak, vice president, Bobbie Rexroad, secretary; Casey Rexroad, treasurer; Susie Delawder, financial secretary; Roger Brafford, chaplain; Josh Myers, reporter; and Greg Bowers, sergeant-at-arms.
The 2018 fire line officers are: Tom Sulser, fire chief; Jeremy Riggleman, assistant chief; Robert Haggerty, captain; Jordan Placka, 1st lieutenant; Eric Hornagold, 2nd lieutenant; Andy Baker, chief engineer; and Matt Baker, assistant engineer.
Numerous awards were presented throughout the evening and those receiving recognition were: Andy Baker and Sonia Baker, President’s Award; Susan Delawder, Social Member of the Year; Teresa Baniak, Chief’s Award; Katie Baker, Jr, Firefighter of the Year; Bobbie Rexroad and Tim Hess, EMS Person of the Year; Aaron Harris, Firefighter of the Year; Robert Haggerty, Fire Line Officer of the Year; and Jody Brafford, Administrative Officer of the Year.
Becky Harris, one of those holding life membership for the Burlington VFD, spoke about the late Eddie Newcomb, with an award named in his memory.
She said, “Eddie’s life was this fire department, and he did everything he could for it.”
Harris mentioned that when the fire alarm went off, “Down the road he would come, and he left a mark on this community and this fire department.”
She presented the annual Eddie Newcomb Award to Jody Brafford.
Besides Harris, other life membership holders with at least 25 years of service present at the banquet were Doug Placka and Bob Alt.
Those receiving Service Awards were: Jeremy Riggleman, 15 years; Tom Sulser and Jess Riggleman, both 10 years; and Jon Baniak 5 years.
Casey Rexroad was named the Top Responder, answering 273 calls, and recognized for answering over 100 calls were Bobbie Rexroad, Tom Sulser, Jordan Placka, Jeremy Riggleman, Greg Bowers, Robert Haggerty, Steve Pyle, and Eric Hornagold.
During the banquet, time was set aside to remember several connected to the Burlington VFD who have passed away, and to honor them. Jody Brafford and Robert Haggerty performed a candle lighting ceremony in their memory.