Cherryville Fire Department’s Christmas Banquet showcases another great year for the department
Dec 26, 2019 09:17AM
Retiring Fire Captain Wendell Poole speaks at the Dec. 13, CFD Banquet held at the Cherryville Golf and Country Club. (photo by MEP/The Eagle)
by MICHAEL E. POWELL
The Cherryville Fire Department’s 2019 Christmas Banquet is always a great time for the department to recognize the men and women who put their lives on the line on a daily basis, as the old saying goes, “running toward danger while others are running away from it.”
Every year Chief Jeff Cash and his staff and crew give out service pins and awards and scholarship money to deserving firefighters and community members who have made a difference in the Cherryville community.
Said Chief Cash, by way of greeting at the beginning of the banquet, “I want to say ‘thank you’ to all the men and women of the department for our having a spectacular and safe year.It’s a pleasure and an honor to be able to give out these awards to a great bunch of firefighters and members of our community as well.”
CFD Fire Chaplain the Rev. Dr. Vince Hefner, pastor of Cherryville’s First Baptist Church, gave the invocation after Chief Cash’s introduction.
Councilwoman Jill Parker-Puett represented the City and the Council at the Dec. 13, 2019 event, thanking Chief Cash and his crew for the invitation, adding, “I also want to thank all of you for the job you do for the City. You do a wonderful job for our town, and we appreciate all of you. I also want to say a word of thanks to the spouses and significant others of the firefighters. You all give up a lot of time so your husbands and boyfriends can serve the City.”
Captain Trent Carpenter recognized Driver/Engineer Kurt Black as the Gaston County Firefighter of the Year Award winner. The award is given each year in memory of J. Ralph Beam, Jr., and is sponsored by the Beam/Davis Family. Kurt came to the podium, received his plaque and thanked everyone for nominating him.
This year’s “Top Gun” award recipient was Tony Jones. Brothers Chad and Quentin Cash presented Mr. Jones with the award, which is given every year in memory of William B. Beam and Helen Q. Beam and is sponsored by the Beam Family.
The Gaston College Foundation and Roy Carpenter Memorial Scholarships, presented by Cynthia Cash, President of the Ladies Auxiliary, went this year to Chase Abernathy and Emily Black, while the CFD Firefighter of the Year Award went to Austin “Buddy” Morgan.
The Roy carpenter Memorial Scholarship was given in memory of the late Mr. Carpenter, who was a CFD Fire Chief (Ret.), and was sponsored by the CFD ladies Auxiliary, while the Gaston College Foundation Scholarship was sponsored by Gaston College.
Chief Cash presented the CFD FF of the Year Award to Mr. Morgan. The award is given in memory of Muriel m. Cash, Sr., and is sponsored by the Cash Family.
Captain Wendell Poole is retiring from the CFD, and he was recognized and given his helmet as part of his retirement from active service for more than 30 years.
Said Cpt. Poole, “It’s been real fun, but it’s time. This is a young man’s game.”
Austin Morgan thanked everyone and reminded his fellow firefighters he wants to “be a full-time firefighter. Also, thank you for putting up with me.”
Another of the highlights of the banquet are what have become known as “The Pudge Awards”, which are humorous, home-made, gag awards given out by Captain Chris “Pudge” Cash to his fellow smoke eaters for something outrageous or hilarious, but more times than not, mildly embarrassing incidents that happened or came about in the course of their doing their routine jobs.
This year the dry wit and poker-faced delivery of Pudge once again ruled the day as he handed out his custom-made awards to the unsuspecting who found out, only too late, they were on the receiving end of his famous one-of-a-kind wry humor.
Entertainment for the night was provided by Larry Wright, and the venue and food by Dan Arthurs’ Cherryville Golf and Country Club made the night a real treat. Mr. Arthurs was also Chief Cash’s 2019 Citizen of the Year.