Brand new Rescue Engine 3 arrived in Kinsale from Pennsylvania in a blaze of glory on June 18, parading into town with the whole crew of Kinsale emergency vehicles, sirens blaring and lights strobing in a kaleidoscopic whirlwind with retired Fire Chief Tommy Lewis at the helm.
Tommy was at the wheel again as the big yellow green emergency machine was ceremoniously pushed into the Fire Hall on July 3 after being dedicated to him in honor of his 50 years of service to CDVFD.
The next morning, the truck ran its first call for an RV in the throes of a roaring blaze at the intersection of Coles Point Rd. and Cople Highway.
After taking a moment to catch its breath, Engine 3 and its crew joined other Kinsale fire equipment in the Sandy Point Fourth of July parade.
First thing Monday morning, July 11, Engine 3 had its maiden voyage as a Rescue Truck when it operated on its first vehicle accident with entrapment.
QUITE the inauguration!
The June 18 entry of Cople District VFD’s new truck for Kinsale, shepherded by other equipment from Kinsale and Coles Point substation, was really something as at least threescore past and present department members, family, and neighbors rallied to celebrate and welcome the great green fire-fighting machine.
Here is an abecedarium of the truck’s first impact.
Bewitching and bedazzling,
Deliriously and Delightfully Deafening,
Happiness-inspiring., as well as
Luminescence to Luminescence, including a Light tower as tall as the Empire State Building to view
Myriad Magical and distinctly
Nice touches, like a box for ex-Chief Tommy Lewis to climb on since he couldn’t reach the top shelves to
Operate levers and
Radiant at Rescue yes the jaws of life of course. In brief, the new truck offers Kinsale’s crew a truly
Stereoscopic blend of
Three-in-one opportunities: fire, brush and rescue
With, of course, the assistance of our noble firefighters’
X-ceptional and eternally
Youthful capacity to serve our community’s
Zodiac of needs during fire, fear, foes and storm with valor, kindness and faithfulness.
The ceremony on July 3 was a masterpiece of swiftly engineered emphasis, as the new truck was officially placed in service with a “Push In” ceremony.
According to present Chief Todd Padgett, this tradition dates back to the late 1800s, “when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment. Upon returning to the station after a fire call, the horses could not easily back the equipment into the station, so they were disconnected from the equipment and firefighters themselves would push it back into the bay.”
When past and present Kinsale firefighters put their backs into performing that “push-in” effort on July 3, there were some who were found themselves holding their breath to see would the heavy vehicle slide in safely. Of course it did – it had already spent several nights safely harbored here -- but there WAS that delicate frisson of suspense.
The day was a culmination of a year that Padgett summed up as “crazy in so many ways.
“As an EMS agency, we were faced with the same tasks as others all over the world – responding on COVID calls.
“Overnight almost, in March of 2020 we went from normal operations into what would become a new normal for us of extra personal protective equipment and the worry and wonder after every call: Did they have COVID? Do we have COVID? And the biggest fear of all, are we bringing COVID home to our families?
“Not one of our members quit. We actually gained members and many responded without any hesitation.
“We survived until vaccination day and beyond without any shutdowns of the station, and were able to continue to deliver our Fire and EMS services to you.
“For that, I thank each and every one of our members.”
The department’s Chaplain, Ebenezer UMC Pastor Rebecca Rumburg, fervently called down God’s blessings for those who have assisted with financial support and for the safety and security of all responders who help those in need in our community.
Chiefs give the nod
Past and Present Fire Chiefs came from Callao (David Woolard, who handed Tommy Lewis a Callao Fire Department Badge), Oak Grove (Mike Gutridge), and Montross (Les Sisson) to salute Kinsale’s dedication of the new engine. So, too, gathered numerous area firefighters and Bob Pursel and Mike Jones representing 4 Guys Fire Trucks, Engine 3’s builder.
The truck was painstakingly designed and equipped under the guidance of Truck Committee members Tommy Lewis, Donald King, Elliot English, Robert and Murphy Bailey, MC Smith, and Padgett.
According to Padgett, what is now known as Rescue Engine 3 was initially conceived “seven years and three fire chiefs ago as a Wildland Engine. It transitioned to a Tanker Pumper and a normal Fire Engine before being finalized as a Rescue Engine.”
As such, it will “not only respond to house fires and other fire calls, it will also respond on auto accidents and EMS calls. It carries specialized equipment for vehicle stabilization and extrication, as well as Ice and Water rescue gear.
“A lot of new equipment is on the truck, including new air packs and new stabilization struts and new battery-powered extrication tools and saws.
“It will be a great new addition to us, as well as being available to assist mutual aid departments in other jurisdictions,” Padgett added proudly. “All of this was made possible by your support.”
Dedicated to Tommy Lewis
As he segued into why the truck was dedicated to Tommy Lewis, Padgett emphasized how “big of a legend Tommy is around here,” mentoring and offering guidance to officers and members on handling situations from fire calls, to county issues, membership and more.
“He was the lead person in taking this truck from a thought to the final design.
“Today, it is the will of the membership of Cople District Fire Department and myself as Fire Chief to honor you for your service to the Cople District Fire Department,” Padgett told Lewis solemnly.
“You became a member in November of 1971, served the department as Fire Chief for over 32 years and currently serve as a Captain.
“This November, [you] will celebrate 50 years of service to this department.
“Over those years, you have kept all of us and many others before us safe and heading in the right direction with our department lives and even our personal ones.
“Without hesitation, no matter the weather or time of day or night, you have responded on more calls and helped more members of the community than we were able to go back and count.
“I would now like to not only thank you for your service but dedicate Rescue Engine 3 in honor of you, Thomas O. “Tommy” Lewis Jr, for 50 years of service to Cople District Volunteer Fire Department.
“We look forward to many more years to come.”
Tommy is maybe not quite as tall as SOME of the other firefighters, so they handed him a specially designed box to use as a step-up so he can reach equipment on the upper tiers of the truck. They also handed him a gag gift labeled “Tommy’s Boo Boo,” the bent up door of the little tanker which took a hit when it popped open going through the tunnel at Potomac Supply.
Note, CDVFD eagerly welcome new firefighters for training and new Auxiliary members as well!
The mortgage on the truck, slightly under half its total cost, can breathlessly benefit from our ardent, beatific, candid donations extraordinarily supporting the firefighters’ ongoing fund-raising.
Checks to Cople District VFD can be mailed to P.O. Box 51, Kinsale, Va. 22488.