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Russell Stevens, Bedford’s assistant fire chief, has reached a major milestone as a fire fighter. He has answered 10,000 calls.
According to Brad Creasy, the fire chief, Stevens joined the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department in 1974. Creasy notes that one of the facts that makes Steven’s achievement especially amazing is that the fire department had a much lower volume of calls in the 1970s and 1980s.
Stevens was recognized for his accomplishment at the department’s awards banquet held earlier this month.
“Russell has probably responded to 85 or 90 percent of calls,” Creasy said. “It’s been a huge commitment and a huge sacrifice.”
Stevens is a self-employed mechanic who has his own garage, called SD&S Racing.
Creasy said that Stevens, over the past 38 years, has held every position in the fire department. He’s been a firefighter, a lieutenant, a captain and the chief.
“One of the biggest attributes about Russell is he is dedicated to training,” said Creasy.
Creasy said that Stevens is a mentor to other firefighters, from the most junior to the most senior. He currently coordinates the firefighter I and firefighter II classes for the whole county. This means that he makes sure the instructor is there, and takes over teaching the class himself if the instructor can’t make it.
John “Roc” Moore was named Firefighter of the Year. Creasy said that the Firefighter of the Year is chosen by his peers via a secret ballot. Each member of the fire department gets a ballot and Lynn Scott, at the Bedford Welcome Center, tallies them. He said that Moore, who is also a career firefighter at the Roanoke Regional Airport, was the department’s top call runner in 2012.
Jerry Hacker was named Rookie Firefighter of the Year. Creasy said that this honors a firefighter who has been with the department for 12 months or less. He said that Hacker is noted for his eagerness to learn and help out around the firehouse.
This year’s awards banquet, with 96 in attendance, also served as a birthday party for the fire department. The Bedford Volunteer Fire Department, founded in 1888, turns 125 years old this year.