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Elyssa Cool: VHC member of the year

Sarah Harrington

(2/2016) Each year the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) selects one of its members to receive the Outstanding Member of the Year Award. The award recognizes the member who has shown the most initiative in making the company the best it can be. This year, at the companyís annual award banquet, VHC President Tim Clarke and Company Chief Chad Umbel presented Elyssa Cool with the award.

VHC President Tim Clark said: "Elyssa is just one of those steady, dependable and enthusiastic members that will define how our organization moves forward in the coming years. She will most likely become a future leader in the department. The one thing that stands out with her is her chairmanship of the fire prevention committee for the past ten years and her ability to perform admirably in representing the agency."

After joining in 2006, Elyssa spent two years in the departmentís Junior Explorer program, and eight years as an Operational Member. She became an Operational Member of the company at the age of 18, after she completed her EMT, Firefighter, and Hazmat certification.

During their annual reorganization, Elyssa was elected by her fellow firefighters to the VHCís Board of Directors, where she will serve a 2-year term. While serving on the board, she will continue her work on the Fire Prevention Committee and the EMS Committee, and as an advisor on the Junior Explorer Committee.

Elyssa first became involved with the VHC through her cousin, who was a member at the time. As long as Elyssa can remember she has always enjoyed giving back and helping others. Elyssaís involvement with the VHC has allowed her to do just that. "It allows me to stay close to the community where I was born and raised." She said.

This is not the first award Elyssa has received for her service to the VHC. In 2009 she received the Presidentís Award and in 2013 she was the recipient of the Chiefís Award. In addition, in 2011 Elyssa served as Maryland State Firemenís Associationís (MSFA) Miss Fire Prevention. While holding this title, Elyssa traveled throughout the state of Maryland assisting the MSFA in promoting fire education.

In her ten years with the company, Elyssa has created memories that will last her a lifetime. When asked to choose her favorite memory with the company, she states: "honestly there are too many to list. Spring Fling and MSFA Fire Convention Week in

Ocean City always brings good times and memories."

For Elyssa, being a member of the company has allowed her to create great friendships and do what she loves to do on a daily basis. "I enjoy every day I spend at the fire company. The friendships and bonds I have with my fellow company members will be life long."

Elyssa considers the company her family and is grateful for the opportunities that have been given to her during her time with the VHC. It was her love and dedication to the company that earned her the title of the Outstanding Member of the Year this year.

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