Members of the Dearing Volunteer Fire Department and their families were recognized at the annual appreciation dinner and Christmas banquet held at Dearing Elementary School on Saturday.
"We have 20 volunteer firefighters on the roster of the Dearing Volunteer Fire Department right now," said Danny Cason, the department's volunteer fire chief. "We've held this dinner annually for the last five or six years to show our appreciation for all those that give of their time and energy to serve our community in this way."
The event was sponsored by the town of Dearing, and the dinner was donated by Kendrick's Barbecue of Warrenton.
"In addition to the dinner, we have door prizes for the firefighters and their families members that attend tonight," Cason said.
Door prizes were sponsored by many local businesses, including Shane's Rib Shack, Hogie Joe's, Habanero's Mexican Grill, The McDuffie Mirror and Home Depot. The gasoline gift certificates donated by Axon's Mini Mart in Dearing proved popular.
The volunteer fire department is the only fire department in the small town of Dearing.
"We handle resident and construction fire calls in Dearing, first-responder calls, ambulance calls, and we also help McDuffie County Fire Department sometimes, just like they help us at times," Cason said.
Dearing City Councilman Judson Story has served as a volunteer firefighter for 19 years and is also the town's arson investigator.
"My first fire, I wasn't even on the department, I was just on the scene to help however I could," Story said. "But I was really impressed by all the activity, and how the firefighters could rush in wearing their protective equipment and get it knocked down. That's what inspired me to want to join the department and fight fires."
Dearing Mayor Sean Kelley spoke at the event. "I'm happy to say that the city council has very little interaction with the volunteer fire department," Kelley told the crowd. "And that's because Danny and the other guys in the department do such a good job running it and doing their jobs that we really never have to check on them or anything.
''The volunteer fire department is really one of the nice things about Dearing. And this dinner is just a small way for us as a town to show our appreciation for their service.
''And I will always do everything I can to get them the equipment they need to do their job and to keep them safe."
The department also awarded a plaque to Chief Cason in recognition of his being named Firefighter of the Year.
"I can think of many other guys who deserve this more than I do," Cason said on accepting the plaque.
"In fact, I think they all do. But I do appreciate it, and I thank every one of you for this."