WARSAW — Burket Firefighter Dave Sheets and Mentone Firefighter Matt Cohagen were among county firefighters recognized Thursday evening, Sept. 17, at the annual Kosciusko County Fireman’s Association Fish Fry.
Sheets is the recipient of the 2015 Fireman of the Year Award, nominated by the Burket Fire Department. Cohagen is the recipient of the 2015 Service Award. The Mentone Fire Department received the attendance award.
Other individuals recognized were Thomas Feldman and Loren Melton, Etna Green Fire Department, and Roger Montel, Mentone Fire Department, for 50 years of service. Donald Nelson, Sidney Fire Department, and Randy Byers, Atwood Fire Department, for 25 years of service.
Robert Gelbaugh, retired fire chief from Winona Lake, presented the awards for the evening.
“He is one of a kind, he is brash, harsh, direct … but we love him just the same,” read Gelbaugh about Sheets from the nomination letter sent by the Burket Fire Department Fire Chief Kevin McSherry. “He’s a man who takes a job as directed and self directed and will not stop until finished. He is not afraid to put his name on anything he does. He uses the term brother, but he does not take that lightly. I would trust this brother with my life, as well as the life of family members,” he concluded reading.
Cohagen is currently first lieutenant and secretary for the Mentone Fire Department. He also was the 2001 and 2013 recipient of the Fireman of the Year award and 2012 Miller Award recipient. “He has been active the past 18 years and always eager to jump in and assist in all fires and activities. He is an awesome fireman,” stated Gelbaugh.
The final award for the evening, the Attendance Award, was presented to Mentone Fire Department, accepted by Doug Miller.
Don Kissinger, Indiana Volunteer Fireman’s Association member, and Jean Smith, public relations northeast Indiana, presented Feldman, Melton and Montel their proclamations recognizing their 50 years as firefighters. Kissinger read a portion of the proclamation, House Resolution No. 39, which was adopted by voice March 16. That proclamation recognized 70 Indiana volunteer firefighters for 50 years of service to their departments.
Kissinger also presented Donald Nelson, Sidney Fire Department and Randy Byers, Atwood Fire Department, pins in recognition of their 25 years of service.
The annual fireman’s fish fry includes the presence of numerous vendors dealing with fire equipment, fire departments displaying its new equipment, a 50/50 drawing, and door prizes. Over 200 firefighters, township trustees/advisory board members, city/town council members and guests attended the event.
Officers for the next year will be Kevin McSherry, Burkey Fire Department, president; Matt Cohagen, Mentone Fire Department, vice president; Gordan Baker, Pierceton Fire Department, secretary; and John Conley, Silver Lake Fire Department, treasurer.