A veteran firefighter with over four decades of service has been named the South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES) Firefighter of the Year. Captain Ron Ridley has been selected by his peers for the honor a second time. He was also chosen Firefighter of the Year in 2003.
Ridley started with the former Casco township fire department in 1979. He was chief of that department when Casco became part of SHAES in 1995. He was promoted to captain in 2010.
“Ron's 40-plus year career in the fire service serves as a model for anyone looking to pursue this lifestyle,” said Chief Brandon Hinz when presenting the award at a recent meeting of the SHEAS Authority Board. “I was fortunate to work with Ron on a shift and we are all fortunate to have Ron serving SHAES as such a solid employee, mentor and friend.”
See other recent department recognitions – http://www.shaes.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=public:2020_annual_banquet
South Haven showed its sweet tooth, both for baked goods and a good cause, by supporting a neighborhood kids bake sale this past Saturday. On Monday the kids delivered $1,450 to SHAES in support of its fire prevention programs. Pictured from left to right are Kaya Durden, Kaelan Johnson, Keatan Durden and Kamdan Johnson with firefighter Steve Gavadas.
The growing popularity of South Haven as a destination community that draws large crowds for special events gives rise to the challenge for responders who need to render care when an emergency occurs. That concern has led to the acquisition of bikes to be used by SHAES personnel, especially during the busy summer weekends when high traffic areas are difficult to navigate.
The idea for acquiring the bikes came about before the current COVID pandemic which this summer has reduced the number of traditional events and the acquisition of the bikes was slowed because of supply-chain issues.
“We'll use them these remaining summer weeks,” said SHAES Chief Brandon Hinz. “People will see our staff along the beaches or in the downtown area and we'll be ready for 2021 when things return to normal.”
The purchase of the bikes and first aid equipment to be used by the responders was made possible by a grant from the Albemarle Corporation Foundation through its employee philanthropic initiative program. The grant also funded the purchase of water rescue equipment for the department's paid-on-call staff.
The bikes were acquired through Rock 'N' Road Cycle of South Haven.
“We are grateful to owner Scott Zoet and his staff for helping identify the right bike and equipment for this purpose,” said Hinz.
The bikes are equipped with a jump kit that contains first aid equipment to be used until SHAES ambulance personnel arrive at the scene of the emergency.
The funeral service for longtime South Haven firefighter and Veteran Stanley (Stan) Wakild was held on July 29 with full honors. He died July 13. Internment was at Lakeview Cemetery. Stan was part of our department over a span of six decades. He joined in 1965, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1978 and served as Chief beginning in 1989 until his retirement in 1993. He continued to serve as a paid-on-call firefighter and in recent years was a nighttime dispatcher. He was a member of the SHAES Honor Guard. He honorably served his country in the United States Air Force, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and served as Commander of American Legion Post 49.