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Midway at 50: Along with cake, talk of pay raises

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Midway Fire and Rescue celebrated its 50th anniversary Sunday with memories and a proclamation, — there was even a big cake — but County Council Member Ron Charlton delivered the gift.

Charlton said he would work to secure the department’s professional firefighters and paramedics a pay raise.

“We’ve got the administration sitting here and the council sitting here,” Charlton said during remarks he delivered at the golden anniversary celebration at Midway’s main station at St. Paul’s Place. “Budgets are tight, very tight, but we certainly will do anything we can, not only to give them the best equipment but give them the best pay for the job.”

Midway Fire Department was formed in 1962 when a group that included Ed Mills, Wallace Pate, Boyd Marlow, Judge Henry Deer and Col. Seth Dingle decided the community needed its own fire station. Former Chief Mike Mock added Linwood Altman and Johnny Dieter to that list of early organizers during his remarks Sunday for their efforts to raise money in the community and buy property for a fire station and a used fire truck.

“From the beginning,” Mock said, “this has been a group of people who wanted to save lives and save property, and they came together.”

County Council Member Bob Anderson said he has had two personal experiences with local firefighters and paramedics, and both left him favorably impressed.

His first came when he participated in emergency operations training earlier this year with Georgetown County personnel in Emmittsburg, Md.

“When something bad happens, and with our threat of hurricanes it’s not a matter of if but of when,” Anderson said, “these folks will be putting their lives on the line for us.”

Anderson’s second encounter with rescue personnel came after his pickup truck stalled and was struck from behind on the Waccamaw River bridge north of Georgetown and flipped on its roof.

Anderson was knocked unconscious and was bleeding from injuries when paramedics arrived.

“Two fellows were on the scene very quickly after that happened to me,” Anderson said. “I was blessed. I had no broken bones, no internal injuries, but I can tell you I crawled out of that truck in a hurry.”

County Council Member Jerry Oakley presented a framed certificate to Chief Doug Eggiman and board chairman Thomas Koltak declaring the day as Midway Fire and Rescue Day in Georgetown County.

Oakley cited members of the department for their “selfless dedication in providing the highest quality service to Georgetown County for the past 50 years.”

Midway Chief Doug Eggiman said the department will continue to meet the needs of the community.

“I can’t predict the future,” he said, “but we are going to continue to get busier. Every year changes are made to health care and building structure. The reality is that some of those changes add to our responsibilities. We are going to need to grow to keep pace.

“We are well positioned, confident in the quality of people we have here. We have the support of the community, the council, administration and the leadership of the department.”

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