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The Orchard Volunteer Fire and Rescue came together to honor a firefighter for six decades of service on Monday night.
Each year the Orchard and Royal Emergency Departments come together to celebrate the dedication of their volunteers with a meal hosted at L-Bar-B in Clearwater. Hosting this event was Fire Chief Duane Risinger, who has been serving the department for 39 years
With this annual tradition, Orchard used the opportunity to present a special award. Clifford Erb, an Orchard firefighter, was honored for his 60 years of service to the department.
Erb joined the department in 1957, always ready to jump to a call when needed.
Looking back on his glory days, Erb said, “Well, Marvin Haswell, my brother, and Arvid. We went very regularly. I can remember running out the door and I just kept going because somebody was having a problem, and we were there to help them.”
In addition to the plaque awarded, they also gifted Erb with a Red Hat ‘Courage’ Clock as a thanks for his dedication to the department.
Erb’s dedication is a huge milestone in the department, as well as the milestone of 5-year-member Marissa Nelson, an EMT member and department Rescue Captain.
Following tradition, the Fire and Rescue awarded Nelson with a plaque for her 5 years of service. Like Erb, Nelson will receive additional plates to her plaques every 5 years she continues to serve.
“I learn something new everyday and every time I go on a call. There are always different circumstances that require different skills or ideas. I definitely grow and learn daily. Everyone on the department have been great mentors throughout the years. But my number one supporter and a lot of the reason I joined was to serve next to my husband and to serve in such a selfless act of helping others and donating our time,” said Nelson.
Nelson’s dedication is appreciated in the department and Risinger said he hopes to see her stay around just as long as Erb has.
During the award ceremony, various people were honored for their service and there is no doubt that the community of Orchard and Royal have great rescue departments.
After the meal, the group took a moment of silence for the loss of two honorary members this year -- Wayne Holliday and Merlyn Maple. Their dedication to the Orchard Fire and Rescue Department will not be forgotten.
Members of the Orchard Department include Scott Horstmann, Jayme Heller, Kyle Maxwell, Colton Hahn, Kaleb Finch, Jordan Volden, Marissa Nelson, Lucas Nelson, Barbara Schwager, Dale Allar, Ben Sayers, John Shaver, Bruce Horstmann, Kirk Cleveland, Ryan Bergman, Joshua Stelling, Dr. Troy Dawson, Pat Bergman, Dennis Cooper, Steve Dempster, Todd Stelling, Glen Cheatum, Tim Pfanstiel, Kathy Belik, Dean Holliday, Larry Mieras, Sylvia Cleveland, Todd Erb, Irene Risinger, Duane Risinger, Clifford Erb, and Marvin Haswell.