WEST ALEXANDRIA — Mayor Jeff Hickey, the Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office, and the office of Gov. Mike DeWine recognized a 50-year veteran of the West Alexandria Fire Dept. on Monday, April 19.
Mayor Hickey described Dan Freshour as the “guest of honor” near the top of Monday’s village council meeting.
“Dan has been a personal friend for over 30 years, and I had the privilege of serving with him for 22 years in the West Alex Fire Dept.,” Hickey said before presenting Freshour with a Certificate of Appreciation from the village.
Hickey stressed Freshour’s commitment to the community.
“Unlike a full-time firefighter, a volunteer firefighter is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Hickey said. “That’s 50 years of 24/7 dedication to this village and this department.”
Hickey praised Freshour’s status as a source of guidance for new firefighters.
“He’s a very good mentor, especially to you young guys and women working in the fire department today,” Hickey said. “You couldn’t ask for a better person to give you life experiences or train you on a fire scene.
“Dan’s got a very cool head. I’ve only seen him get upset a few times since I’ve known him. So if he ever gets upset, you better pay attention, because he’s about to give you a life lesson.”
Hickey concluded his remarks with a more personal message for Freshour.
“I deeply appreciate being able to know you all these years,” he said.
Fire Chief John Glander and Assistant Chief Tom Smith also expressed gratitude for Freshour’s 50 years of service.
“Last Monday, April 12, the West Alexandria Fire Dept. celebrated an historic event,” Glander began. “Daniel J. Freshour achieved 50 years of volunteer fire service. Some of us have served with Dan for many years; Dan has served under five different chiefs in his tenure, and is currently serving in the position of Safety Officer.”
Glander also underlined Freshour’s status as a mentor to other firefighters, pointing out the number of community members, fire personnel and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers who had turned out to see him recognized.
“Dan has always been the voice of reason and is always willing to share his knowledge,” Glander said. “He’s never afraid to voice his opinion or warn us about a possible hazard. Everyone in both the Fire and EMS departments is proud to serve with Dan, which is apparent by the representation here tonight.”
Glander and Smith presented Freshour with a mounted gold-plated fire axe in recognition of his years of service.
Smith described Freshour as “respected, humble, honorable, and dedicated.”
“It’s great to see so many people coming out to show Dan your appreciation,” Smith said. “He’s obviously touched the lives of many, and the proof of that is all of you standing here.”
State Fire Marshal’s Office Code Enforcement Bureau Chief Alan Smith expressed appreciation for Freshour’s loved ones.
“You deserve a standing ovation as well,” Smith said, prompting applause from the audience. “Dan had to have the love and support of his family in order to reach this milestone.”
Smith, who said he has served for 33 years in Preble County, noted how rare it is for someone to achieve five decades of volunteer service.
“Dan became a volunteer firefighter in this community when I was one year old,” Smith said. “I’ve supervised all 88 counties, and there’s only been one person to serve 50 years since we’ve started tracking.”
Smith expressed appreciation on behalf of Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted before closing with a more personal message for Freshour.
“You’ve been an inspiration in my life, and I thank you,” Smith said.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish