Area firefighters honored at annual ceremony
Sunday was a day for appreciation in Basehor.
That afternoon, firefighters from Fairmount Township, Sherman Township and Stranger Township fire departments were honored for their service to the community.
The ceremony took place at the Basehor Veterans of Foreign Wars hall, where about 100 guests were served a hearty meal of barbecue beef, pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs.
Boy Scout Troop 169 was on hand to present the colors and bus the tables, while the Basehor-Linwood High School jazz band had toes tapping throughout the meal.
When it seemed everyone had received their fill of the main course and dessert, Basehor VFW Commander Fred Box said a few words.
“It’s a great honor for me to be here in front of these firefighters,” Box said. “We know what they go through every time they go to a fire because we went through the same thing as veterans. We thank them for their service.”
Audience members were given a vision of how far Basehor’s Fairmount Township Fire Department had come as they heard from the last living member of the original 1951 department, Wilbur Grisham.
“I’m proud of it, and I think all the other members looking down from above would be proud of it, too,” Grisham said of today’s Fairmount Township Fire Department.
Fairmount Township Assistant Chief Chuck Magaha took the stage next to talk about the importance of volunteer firefighting and the gratitude that should be shown to those men and women. He said the service these firefighters provided was invaluable, and they did the job for next to nothing. Magaha also had the task that afternoon of presenting the award for Fairmount Township’s Firefighter of the Year, which went to an extremely surprised Mike Johnson.
“I’m pretty overwhelmed,” Johnson said of winning the award. “I had no idea about it. It was really the furthest thing from my mind.”
Johnson said he owed the honor to his fellow firefighters and supervisors because the success of a department depended on several people, not just one.
“It’s not a one-man job,” he said. “There are a lot of guys I need to thank.”
One of the aspects of the job that keeps Johnson coming back is the consistency of his learning. Since the day he started, Johnson has constantly been expanding his knowledge of firefighting.
“You never stop learning,” he said. “It seems like day in and day out would be the same, but you’d be surprised how much you can learn from a run. That really never stops.”
Also during Sunday’s ceremony, Brad Marcellus was awarded Stranger Township Firefighter of the Year, and Jeff Floyd received the honor for Sherman Township.