Published on September 19, 2022 at 11:54 am
The 17th annual community celebration held Saturday at the Mahoning Valley Fire Company grounds had incidental purposes.
Mahoning Valley Deputy Fire Chief Jay Michalik said the main reason was to thank the Mahoning Valley community for their support.
Michalik also said:
• Served to introduce young people to the fire service and hopefully interest some of them in future membership and service.
• Give special recognition to a few people who have made outstanding contributions to the fire service.
• Introduce former members of the fire department.
• Introduce the fire department’s first outdoor siren, a pagoda-shaped device that has been painstakingly refurbished.
Although no official attendance figures were available as it was a free one-day event, Michalik said he was pleased with the turnout.
There were activities for people of all ages. Free games for the kids included ring toss, ax toss (styrofoam hatchet with a magnet), a fishing game, a firefighting challenge, and a giant obstacle course and slide. Adults could participate in a 5k run and a mile walk, a corn hole tournament and a basket raffle.
At the end, there was a leader-to-leader relay race through the obstacle course in which a team put together by Michalik took on a team organized by fire chief Mark Ebbert.
The fire department had their apparatus on display. The music was performed by Colossal Radio.
During an official part of the event, three Friends of Firefighters awards were presented:
Resident Ralph Nally received a plaque for making numerous financial contributions and then joining the fire department as a member of the kitchen crew.
“That’s why Mahoning Valley is a beautiful place to live, thanks to people like Mr. Nally,” Michalik said.
All Points Towing, represented by Jarred Hoffman, received an award for assistance at emergency scenes. Michalik said All Points Towing not only assisted at motor vehicle accident scenes, but assisted the fire company on multiple occasions when the device failed.
The Lehighton-based Sword Tag Society received a large replica sword for helping organize children’s events at the 17 community celebration events at the fire company. The award was accepted by Tony Bear, vice president of the company.
Michalik praised all volunteers – past and present – saying that volunteer firefighters are “your neighbors giving up whatever they’re doing to go help a neighbor in need.”
He said the fire company was started in 1951 and it has endured because of “people who believed in this community, who live here.”
“Our job now is to carry that torch into the future,” he said.
Members of the Lehighton Area High School National Honor Society, the Parryville Fire Company and the Mahoning Valley Lions Club also participated in the community celebration.
Above: Joey Bidzicki, Skylar Ansbach and Emily Fink, all of Tamaqua, play a game of ring toss during the Mahoning Valley Fire Company’s 17th Annual Community Celebration on Saturday, while Lt. Neal Ebbert of the fire company is watching.
Left: Anthony Bear, center, vice president of the Sword Tag Society, holds a large replica sword presented to his group by the Mahoning Valley Fire Company during the 17th annual community celebration at the fire company Saturday. The Sword Tag Society has been hosting children’s games at the event for years. With Bear, Deputy Fire Chief Jay Michalik and Fire Company Lieutenant Neal Ebbert. RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS SPECIAL