DFD Volunteer of the Year named
By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, email@example.com
The City of Darlington Fire Department recently honored two of its members for their outstanding service during 2017, naming Lt. Perry Kelly as Firefighter of the Year and Johnny Deas as Volunteer Firefighter of the Year.
The Volunteer of the Year award is sponsored by retired fireman Bill Garland, and nominees are based on training, number of call responses, and aid to the department beyond the scope of daily work. The 2017 winner, Firefighter Johnny Deas, says his 30-year history with the fire service began when he was working with EMS.
“I responded to a fire call and just caught the bug,” says Deas. “I started as a volunteer, became a treasurer and a lieutenant and moved up through the ranks.”
Deas reached the rank of Captain and left the DFD in 2000 to work as safety director at the Darlington Raceway, and when he left that position a few years back, Cavanaugh welcomed him back to the department’s volunteer roster with open arms.
“When I was coming up, Johnny was one of the firefighters that I wanted to be like,” says Cavanaugh, praising Deas’ extensive knowledge of firefighting procedure and his peerless reliability. “If you could take the knowledge and commitment that he has and impart that to the kids we’ve got here, this department would be unstoppable. He and Perry both have a drive and a passion for this work that is really something special.”
Both Kelly and Deas say the close camaraderie at the DFD makes it a great place to work.
“They treated me and my family like family when we first got here and made us feel welcome,” says Kelly, adding that his two sons love coming to the station. “When my kids come up here, they treat my kids like their kids. And my six year-old just lives and breathes the fire service now.”
“When you join the Darlington Fire Department, all the members put their arm around you, and you become a brother or sister,” says Deas. “If you have a problem, you know there are thirty people that have that problem. If you’re experiencing hardship, they’re right here for you.”