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VHC honors Umbel as Member of Year

Chad Umbel's father and grandfather were firefighters in Emmitsburg; so it's no wonder he grew up to do the same thing.

Umbel, 29, was recognized Saturday as 2002 Member of the Year at Vigilant Hose Company's 119th annual banquet. Chief Frank Davis and company president Tim Clarke applauded Umbel for the many hours he devotes to his volunteer work and the wide variety of jobs he does.

They credited him with doing everything from waxing the museum's floors to working on broken equipment, not to mention responding to emergency calls.

On the average, Umbel estimates he works about 20 to 40 hours per week at Vigilant Hose, serving as a lieutenant. Umbel's "regular" job as a firefighter with Fort Detrick Fire and Emergency Services takes about 75 hours a week, he estimates.

Then there is his part-time job as an on-call firefighter for Frederick County. If a county firefighter is in training, on vacation or out sick, Umbel can get the call. He works about 36 hours a week doing that. Of course, he occasionally sleeps at the fire stations, so it's not all "work."

Davis said he's known Umbel for about 25 years and thinks that whatever job he does, he does very well.

"Chad's always the guy you can depend on no matter what you ask of him," he said. "He continues to further his education in fire service and stay up to date ... and that's always a plus for us."

Umbel is married and has five children ranging in ages from 4 to 16 years old. He credits his wife, Sandy, and his children with giving him the support he needs to be able to do the work he loves so much.

"Without that, I wouldn't be able to do it all," he said.

Of course he knows his family misses him because he works so much, but it's OK because when he gets home everyone is very happy to see him, he said. The thought causes him to smile a big, broad grin.

In addition to his father and grandfather serving at Vigilant, both his mother and his wife are members of the auxiliary.

Other company members acknowledged during the evening were:

  • Robert A. Rosensteel Sr. received the Chief's Award.
  • Randy Myers received the President's Award.
  • David L. Copenhaver (posthumously) and Chief A. Frank Davis were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

* Randy Waesche, director or Frederick County Emergency Communications, and Robert A. Rosensteel Sr. received special recognition awards. The auxiliary presented a $40,000 check to the fire company at the event.

Also at the event, the 2003 administrative officers began their service. They are Timothy M. Clarke, president; Frank Rauschenberg, vice president; Steven W. Valentine, secretary; Thomas Vaughn, assistant secretary; Steven M. Hollinger, treasurer; and Guy A. Baker III, assistant treasurer.

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