Two long serving firemen honored

| November 14, 2017

Two long time veterans of the Walhonding Valley Fire Department were recognized on Monday evening, Nov. 13 at the fire station in Warsaw. Ernie Norris (left) and Chet Beard received a plaque and a sweatshirt adorned with the logo of Company 7. Norris has served for 59 years and Beard has served for 50 years. Mark Fortune | Beacon

WARSAW – Volunteer firemen, friends and family members recognized two long serving members of Company 7, Walhonding Valley Fire Department, on Monday evening, Nov. 13 at the fire station in Warsaw.

Ernie Norris, number 722, and Chet Beard, number 724, received a round of applause, plaque, sweatshirt and a piece of cake in a surprise ceremony to recognize their years of service to Company 7. Norris began serving in 1958 and has 59 years of service, closing in on his 60th year while Beard started in 1967 and has served for 50 years.

Chief Mike Snyder said of the two volunteer firemen, “Well, they’ve been here longer than I have. I’ve been here 32 years and these two guys have gone over and above. You’re looking at over 100 years of service between the two and they’re still going. They still get up in the middle of the night and run the tankers, you couldn’t ask for two better men.”

“Their primary role is to drive a tanker full of water to the fire to supply us with our lines. That’s a most important role. If we don’t have water we don’t put the fire out.”

“I’ve learned a lot from them over the past 32 years. And I’m still learning from them. They have respect for their community and the community has respect for them and what they do. Hopefully I can be here for 50 or 59 years and still serve this community.”

Ernie Norris said, “It was a heckuva big surprise and I’m real pleased. This is something for me to do and help protect the people.” Norris said when asked about a memorable experience, “Well, I’ve been shot at before.”

“When I first came on we didn’t have any Scott Air Packs or anything like that. We had old antique trucks. It’s a lot safer now.”

Chet Beard said, “A memorable experience would be when we were under the old Warsaw Fire Department when we had a third of the equipment we have now. We had rubber coats and aluminum hats. Then we started getting more equipment and now we have over 30 members – we used to have 10. Everything progresses. It’s all better now. It’s safer now. It’s great to serve with these guys.”

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I live with my beautiful wife Nancy on a small farm just outside Coshocton. We have been married for thirty two years and have two grown children, Jessica and Jacob. Jessica is married to Aaron Mencer and they are employed with Coshocton City Schools. Jacob is a sophomore at Kent State University. I graduated from River View High School, have a Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Wesleyan University and am actively involved with the Roscoe United Methodist Church, serve on several local committees and am a member of the Coshocton Kiwanis Club, having served as Past-President. I love reading, especially military thrillers, the Civil War and history in general. My goal is to write a novel. My wife and I are also AdvoCare distributors and encourage anyone wanting to lose weight, gain energy and better health to explore AdvoCare at our website; I love the media field, innovative technology and have worked in newspapers for over 30 years – in fact, my first job was delivering newspapers. The Beacon is a dream made possible by the support of this community and a great team. I hope to continue serving Coshocton County for many years.

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