MENTONE — Normally the Community Service Award from the Kosciusko County Fireman’s Association is presented at its September fish fry. However, Roger Gelbaugh was unable to attend, missing the first fish fry in 43 years.
The honor was presented Thursday evening, Oct. 19, at the county fireman’s meeting, held in Mentone.
“This is something I never expected. Thank you with all my heart,” stated Gelbaugh. He explained the reason he missed the fish fry was it was senior night for his granddaughter and he felt he should be there for that recognition. “I hope you all understand.”
Butch Warren, retired Mentone firefighter, who was master of ceremonies at the September meeting, presented the award. The nomination came from the Burket/Seward Township Fire Department and other firefighters. They noted Gelbaugh has served the fire department with a drive that is hard to label and he is always looking out for the good of the firemen.
Gelbaugh was fire chief at Winona Lake for 15 years and has served with that department since 1971, still serving today. He is also past president of the Kosciusko County Fireman’s Association.