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Council honors Fairlawn Fire for 25 years of service

12/20/2007 - West Side Leader
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By Ed Wojnaroski

Fairlawn City Council passed a resolution at the Dec. 17 meeting both celebrating and congratulating the Fairlawn Division of Fire and Emergency Rescue Service for 25 years of service.

The department was founded in 1982, and its first chief, John Gemind, was on hand for the recognition. He retired in 2000. Glenn Goodrich, who was assistant fire chief at the time, replaced Gemind as chief.

“Few other professions deal with life and death,” as does the fire and rescue department, said Councilman Steve Yashnik (Ward 6). 

Council President James Swartz said, “The residents of Fairlawn are used to the high standards the fire department sets.”

Councilwoman Susan Sullivan (Ward 5) said she was “very appreciative” of the efforts of the department and “the comments from residents are enormous.”

Councilman Phil Brillhart (Ward 4) related a personal story of how the department saved his life in February 2002.

Goodrich told of how he was hired by Gemind and former Mayor Joseph Hartlaub over dinner.

“We began by making several hundred calls per year to 1,700 per year now,” he said.

He also described the new patch the department will wear. It identifies Fairlawn as being located in Ohio to distinguish it from cities named Fairlawn in other states. He then complimented Capt. Jack North, Capt. Russ Hose and Lt. Rick Szeles, who also joined the department in its early years. The department now has 16 full-time and 40 part-time personnel.

Mayor William Roth praised the department for doing a job that “gets harder and harder every year. We’re very proud of the fire department.”

Gemind said on the night of the recent snowstorm, he was at home listening to a scanner.

“I could hear Copley and Fairlawn cooperating with each other, and I leaned back into my chair and said ‘all is right,’” Gemind said.

In other news, Council:

  • passed resolutions appointing residents to various boards and commissions, including: Michael Pitchure to the Environmental Services Commission; M.J. Parri to the Parks and Recreation Board; Robert Hochevar to the Planning Commission; Thomas Luck and Christopher Tipping to the Archives and Artifacts Historical Commission; Dayle Davis to the Real Property Maintenance Board; Jeffrey Dawson to the Civil Service Commission; and Robert Donatelli to the Tax Review Board;
  • set their meeting dates for January and February. They are: Jan. 7 and Jan. 22 and Feb. 4 and Feb. 19. All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.
  • amended the city’s pay plan setting pay rates for city workers;
  • approved both the 2007 reconciliation budget and a temporary budget for 2008; and
  • approved an increase in the number of parking spaces allowed at Veyance Technologies.

Council will have a different look at the first meeting of January, as Swartz and Yashnik did not run for re-election to their Council seats.

David Effler won election to Yashnik’s seat, and Russell Sharnsky ran unopposed for Swartz’s seat in the Nov. 6 General Election.

The next regular Fairlawn City Council meeting will be Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairlawn Municipal Complex, 3487 S. Smith Road.

Ed Wojnaroski can be reached at jemelec@aol.com.

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