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Rosensteel inducted into VHC Hall of Fame

Danielle Ryan

(1/31) The 134th Annual Banquet of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) was held on January 6 at the VHC Activities Building. Each year the VHC selects one member to receive the company’s highest award: the Hall of Fame Award. This award is presented to an individual who has made lasting contributions to the department, community and the region. This year Robert Rosensteel, Jr. was inducted into the VHC’s Hall of Fame.

This year served as an special one as Rosensteel’s father, Robert Rosensteel, Sr., was inducted into the VHC’s Hall of Fame in 2009. Rosensteel’s son, Derek, is an active fire officer with the VHC department and serves as a career firefighter with Frederick County Fire and Rescue.

Rosensteel, Jr. has been an active and dedicated member since joining the department in August 1982. He earned the Chief’s Award in 1998 and 2002 and was also honored as the Outstanding Member of the Year in 2001. During his time in the department, Rosensteel has served on numerous committees and positions including the Small Equipment Committee for Rescue Squad 6, VHC Assistant Secretary in 1998 and 1999, an operations Lieutenant from 1998 through 2003 and again from 2012 through 2014, Captain in 2001 and 2005, Assistant Chief in 2002 and Chief from 2004 through 2006.

While serving on the Small Equipment Committee, Rosensteel was a leader in an industry breakthrough when he began using the Internet to exchange photos with the vehicle’s manufacturer. This was the first time that a fire department in the United States received all onboard tools and equipment at its station and labeled every item while also training its personnel on proper use. Once these steps were completed, Rosensteel oversaw the transportation of the equipment to the manufacturer who mounted everything in the various compartments on the unit. The experience was so successful that the manufacturer offered this capability to other customers, which was a first in large apparatus construction anywhere. This project even made the front cover of Fire Chief Magazine along with an accompanying feature article, which drew praise nationwide.

Another great accomplishment was the initiation of the "I Am Responding" alerting technology for the VHC department. This is an important tool for providing emergency messaging and general information to VHC personnel. This system played an instrumental role in the early moments of two devastating fires in Emmitsburg in December 2015, when normal countywide emergency communications systems experienced two critical failures that resulted in a lack of notification to neighboring communities. ‘I Am Responding’ alerted VHC personnel within seconds.

Not only was Rosensteel an active member of the VHC, but he was also an active responding member of the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company. He re-wrote all Map Books used onboard every vehicle, which included hydrant and water supply locations, unusual street addresses and accessibility challenges, as well as building sprinkler and standpipe connection locations. This project also included having Map Books for all neighboring response jurisdictions. Rosensteel’s design for graphics also came into play with the outward appearance, including striping, color scheme, numbering and logos, of emergency vehicles. His designs are presently being used on Ambulances 68 and 69.

Considered one of the VHC’s most technically competent members in its history, Rosensteel served with distinction for many years, and his dedication and service to the department will always be looked upon with the highest regard. Maybe in the years to come, Rosensteel’s son will be honored in the same way, making it three generations to receive the Hall of Fame Award.

The Hall of Fame was established in honor of two members of the Department
(awarded posthumously as they were older members) John J. Hollinger and
Herbert "Shep" Rodgers.

John J. Hollinger, his son, John S. Hollinger and his sons, Gregory (inducted posthumously) and Steve Hollinger are all in the Hall of Fame - which makes three generations of 4 family members there all in the Hall of Fame.

Then the VHC has the Davis Family. Allen Davis was inducted posthumously; his wife Dot & son Frank are all in the Hall of Fame.

Further, Hub White (now deceased) and his son, Carl, are both in the Hall of Fame and Jimmy Glass and his son John Glass are both Hall of Fame members also.

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