VERSAILLES — Heritage Park was decorated with brightly colored emergency vehicles July 27 and 28.
They were brought in for the annual Central Western Fireman’s Association (CWFA), Inc., Convention. The CWFA is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, comprised of fire departments, emergency medical service (EMS) organizations, rescue companies, hazardous material departments, private businesses affiliated with public service or the desire to be affiliated with fire and EMS organizations, throughout Central and Western Ohio and Western Indiana. One of the CWFA’s major goals, is to create and maintain a brotherly and fraternal feeling by banding together volunteer, paid-on-call, part-time and full-time personnel; thus the annual convention. Versailles Fire Department was the host department, led by Chief Brian Pearson. At least 23 departments were represented, according to Pearson.
“We have a lot of mutual aid departments,” he said. “The bigger fires bring in your neighboring departments to help. It is nice to have an event like this. It is a great weekend for everyone to come out, have some fun and relax.”
Part of the convention included several competitions. The first was a “Strongarm Competition,” consisting of challenging events that the participants had to attempt under pressure of a stopwatch. While being timed, they had to put on a firefighter’s uniform, complete with a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) and gloves. In the gear, they had to climb a ladder up to a scaffolding platform; pull a heavy roll of hose up and down the scaffolding twice, hand over hand; hit a weighted tire seven feet with a sledge hammer; roll a hose and carry it while walking, twice, the rungs of a prone extension ladder; pick up a dummy and drag it 75 feet to the finish line. The winner was Ken Wagner of Versailles, with a time of two minutes: 21 seconds. Second place went to Matt Ross, of Versailles and Third to Jared Widener, of Rossburg.
In addition to the competitions, the event included a business meeting. Chief Pearson explained that the Charity Fund is involved with the CWFA also. The Charity Fund is a is a life benefit for any paid member. If by chance they were to incur a line of duty death, the surviving family members are eligible for $3,500 plus $100 per year of service that was provided by that member, Pearson said. In addition to member dues and payments, the advertising income for the CWFA’s Annual Convention yearbook, goes into the fund.
Twelve-year-old Travis Harrison, of Hollansburg, attended the convention to cheer on his brothers Trevor and Tyler, who competed in the “Strongarm” and other competitions. They are both volunteer firefighters for Liberty Township Fire Department.
“This is something I want to do one day; I have already told them about it,” Travis said. “I want to save peoples’ lives. It is better then the military, I think, because I won’t get shot at and stuff. And it makes me excited, that when people run out; I run in.”
For more information about the Central Western Fireman’s Association, visit http://www.cwfaohio.com