The Thomson Fire Department bestowed service awards, announced a promotion and presented the firefighter of the year award at the annual dinner and Christmas party Saturday at The Thomson Depot.
Adam Clark accepted the honor of firefighter of the year. The Columbia County resident, an Air Force veteran and employee of a Fort Gordon contractor, said his father was a firefighter "so it just kind of flows through the family."
Assistant Chief Johnny Crawley said Clark signed up more than a year ago and quickly earned certification.
Lt. Bryan Rogers was promoted to the rank of captain. Rogers earned the firefighter of the year award in 2001 and 2002. He said he expects to remain stationed at fire headquarters on Main Street, with only one new objective. "I'll just do what I'm doing, but maybe a little better," he said.
Service awards were presented to Matthew Johnson, five years; Edward Richardson, five years; John Thigpen, 10 years; Sterling "Bubba" Gibson, 25 years; Thomas E. Gay, 35 years; and Assistant Chief Johnny Crawley, 40 years.
Firefighters picked up dozens of door prizes. Singer Dale Gingery entertained with Christmas carols and other music.
Faith Baptist Church workers prepared the ham and turkey dinner.
Mayor Kenneth Usry congratulated the firefighters and thanked them for their service. He said he has missed only two of the dinners over the past 33 years. "I look forward to this every year. This is a real treat," he said.
He said safety always will be the department's top priority. "But I also want to thank you for the other ways you help this community," Usry said. He said Thomson firefighters are reliable fundraisers for other worthy causes.
City Councilman the Rev. John Smalley, the council's liaison to the fire department, said he welcomes another chance to brag about the department, and listed some of the department's achievements.
Fire Chief Rick Sewell said he enjoys working with Smalley. "We're proud to have him as our councilman," Sewell said.