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Stories show appreciation for first responders

| December 23, 2020

Keith Luce, a former firefighter and EMS director in Coshocton, was honored with a parade of emergency vehicles prior to his passing. (Josie Sellers)

Every now and then there are stories that warm your heart while also bringing tears to your eyes. For me those stories this year were both about firefighters.

Sixty-two years ago, Ernie Norris decided he needed a little excitement in his life, so he joined the fire department. He was honored for those years of service this December when he retired at the age of 90 from the Walhonding Valley Fire District.

Norris was very humble about his time with the fire department. He did the job because he enjoyed it and liked hanging out with the guys.

What impressed me the most was the reverence everyone showed toward Norris. Everyone did what they could to help make our interview and pictures happen. Those who were asked were more than willing to share stories of their time with Norris too.

The other story that impacted me this year was about the late Keith Luce, a former firefighter and EMS director in Coshocton. He also was a Vietnam Veteran, which gave his story an extra special place in my heart.

Luce passed away on Dec. 10, but the day before his friends made it possible for him to see a fire truck one last time. Actually, it was more of a parade of emergency vehicles from departments throughout the county.

Ken Posey, a friend and former co-worker of Luce’s, made it clear that emergency responders don’t just work together. They also run together, play together and grieve together. Posey coordinated the parade and another friend Rick Cosmar, assistant chief of operations at Coshocton County EMS, made sure Luce was able to see the trucks from inside his home.

Both Posey and Cosmar were honored to have worked with Luce. Hearing their stories brought tears to my eyes and confirmed the tight bond between those in the profession.

Thank you to all the emergency responders out there. 2020 wasn’t an easy year for any of you. Your dedication to the job is deeply appreciated.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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