Saluting volunteers

The Augusta Safety Department Volunteer Firefighter Annual Dinner is always a time to remember the sacrifices made by unpaid firefighters and honor those who do exceptional work during the year.

Craig Brown received the top honor this year as he was named the Volunteer of the Year for the department. In addition to volunteering with the fire department, Brown has worked as a dispatcher for the Safety Department. He will soon make a transition and become Augusta’s Animal Control officer.

Other honorees Saturday night were Kip Richardson and Les Johnson, who have served as volunteers for 15 years, and James Frame ,who has been with the department for 10 years.

Volunteer Fire Unit President Andy Hall said this had been a good year for the department. Crews battled grass fires, structure fires and even helped to pull a couple of kids from a swollen river.

He recognized Forest and Betty Reavis who recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Forest Reavis took Hall on his first fire call and this year, Hall was able to take his own niece on her first call.

“This is why we are who we are,” Hall said. “We can’t do it without training and the things that men like these have taught us. We have to teach the next group.”

Major Ray Marbut told those in attendance he was proud of the work of the volunteers and paid staff because they saved almost $1 million in property value by stopping fires last year.

He was also excited by the fact there were only two minor civilian injuries reported and no injuries among the firefighters.

Safety Department Chief Tyler Brewer said he appreciated this group because they were part of the family of the safety department who always have each other’s backs.

The dinner was catered by LakePoint and held at the Point Event Center.