Volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) play an important role in Butler County through helping with events to assisting law enforcement.

Volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) play an important role in Butler County through helping with events to assisting law enforcement.

Those efforts were recognized Thursday evening during a volunteer recognition dinner held at Haverhill School.

Following the meal, the presentation began with a look back at 2013.

CERT was formed in Butler County in 2004, making this the 10th anniversary of the team in operation. One of the members of the first class, Martha Heron, was in attendance of the dinner.

“Things have changed a little bit,” said Kari Korthals, with Butler County Emergency Management.

They still had fire training and victims, but those training sessions have improved drastically.

The function of CERT also is still the same – to serve the community.

The 2013 class included 19 participants, with 15 completing the training and 11 joining the CERT team. They also held a special class in the fall in Rose Hill.

Other activities last year included advance spotter training, a first aid class and more. They also took part in one giant training operation that included four CERT teams from other counties, seven CART teams and two search and rescue teams.

In all, the volunteers put in more than 2,500 hours of training in 2013.

They also assisted with a variety of community events such as the Frontier Western Festival in El Dorado, the Watermelon Festival in Potwin, Greater Andover Days and flu shot clinics, among others.

Those events totaled 1,738 hours of public service in 2013.

In 2013, volunteers also combined for 276 hours assisting law enforcement.

All of these activities totaled 6,144 hours for 2013, a trend that has been increasing since 2009.

“You guys are getting known out there and you are in demand,” Korthals said.

To recognize some of that service, two volunteers of the year were named. The first award went to Larry Cotharp, who has been a volunteer since 2005 and had 319 hours of volunteer time last year.

“This person has had a steadily growing role,” Korthals said.

The second award went to Rebecca Holloway, who has been a volunteer since 2008, with 130 hours in 2013. She was described as one of those volunteers who is there any time she is able when they call.

Next, each of the volunteers was presented with a certificate for their hours of service in 2013.

“On behalf of the County Commission, we can’t imagine doing doing what we do as a county without volunteers and people like you are are willing to be there when we ask,” said Butler County Commissioner Dan Woydziak.

Sheriff Kelly Herzet also thanked the volunteers.

“Two hundred seventy-six hours volunteering for law enforcement, that’s amazing,” Herzet said. “I’m so proud of the CERT group in this county. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.”

The evening concluded with a performance by the Rose Hill High School theater group, who performed selections from their show, “Seussical the Musical.”

Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.