Brownstown Exchange Club recently honored Brownstown Volunteer Fire Department and one of its firefighters, Capt. J.L. McElfresh, as its Firefighter of the Year.
McElfresh, a state-certified Firefighter I and Firefighter II, has spent seven years on the department. He first joined the department in 1994 and served until 1999. He rejoined the department in 2010. He is an emergency medical services-first responder with training in hazardous materials and ice rescue awareness.
He received a plaque from Exchange Club president Robb Reynolds during the club meeting held during Fire Prevention Week in October.
McElresh gave club members a brief overview of the department, which was established in 1881 and continues to serve the town as well as Brownstown Township. He said the department has 15 members, two engine pumpers, a 3,000-gallon tanker, a rescue truck and two brush trucks.
McElfresh said the department responded to 307 calls in 2011, with 57 being fire-related. This year, it has responded to 351 calls, of which 68 were fire-related. The department responds to medical emergencies as it has emergency medical technicians and first responders. The department also has mutual aid agreements with other departments in the county to support them as needed.
McElfresh said the department is looking for a renovation grant to refurbish the fire station and is looking to start a smoke-detector program for underprivileged families.
Assistant Chief Fire Travis McElfresh and Assistant Chief-EMS Tenley Foster also attended the meeting along with McElfresh’s wife, Bethany, and son, Taylor.
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