The Wichita Fire Department hosted its first Medals Day ceremony this evening at the Regional Training Center, 4780 E. 31st. The event was held to recognize and thank firefighters for acts of heroism, community service and years of service. Wichita’s Bravest have been involved in a number of successful life-saving rescues at fires and other emergencies throughout the past year.
The highlights of the evening included a presentation of the Firefighter of the Year Awards to Lt. Merle “Rocky” Bumgarner and Firefighter Damon E. Holmes. The H. H. McCall Award was given to those who have served the City for at least thirty years. The H. H. McCall Award is named for Wichita’s third fire chief. He served the City for 51 years beginning in 1927 and ending February 1941. The names of the H.H. McCall Award winners will be provided by the Wichita Fire Department upon request.
Wichita Fire Chief Ronald D. Blackwell chose to hold Medals Day on August 23 because it is the 125th anniversary of the Wichita Fire Department. On August 23, 1886, the Wichita Fire Department was founded and Mayor Benajah W. Aldrich appointed A. G. Walden to lead the Department.
Members of the Wichita City Council, Wichita firefighters and their families were in attendance at tonight’s event. Firefighters from throughout the region were also invited to attend.