By Terry Duffy
It was a celebration of service, as members of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. held their 113th annual installation dinner Saturday at the firehall.
“I grew up here with a lot of cool people,” said YVFC member John Stevens Jr., who served as emcee for the evening. “There’s a couple of things that really sets the fire company apart. One of the first that comes to mind, the guys come in at an early age, and they stay forever.
“The fire company isn’t just firemen; it’s families and the sacrifices they make. The families are just as much involved as the men themselves.”
Visitors heard plenty about “the cool people” who comprise the membership of YVFC. Installations were held recognizing fire company officers; Explorer Post 911 officers; YVFC exempts and its ladies auxiliary, followed by number of service awards.
Timothy Fogarty and Jeffery Ripson were cited for their 20 years of service/life membership, and Timothy Eagan for his 40 years of service. EMS Capt. Suzanne Burrows was recognized for her 239 calls answered in 2023. She received Firefighter of the Years honors.
But topping the list was member John D. Mies for his half-century of service with YVFC. Mies, who served in many capacities with Youngstown fire, comes from a family who has been a part of this special community its entire life.
“He used to fill me in on what was coming as I was growing up. John never treated me like a kid; he acted like a big brother,” Stevens said, as he recalled the friendships with Mies from his youth and their times at the former Pierce Marine run by the Stevens family. “He kept me out of trouble and consistently gave me little hints on how do something better, faster around the marina.
“Now we fast forward 45 years, John’s 50 years of dedication and service to the community … it’s very telling about John’s personality. Very proud to be able to call him a friend.”
Youngstown Mayor Rob Reisman was among the many who offered tributes to Mies. He said, “I know that dedication and time is few and far between today. You can’t buy back time. Fifty years: There is dedication to this. Fire departments are close to my heart. I have never been a fireman, but I have great respect for them.”
Reisman presented a proclamation to Mies, which seemed to echo the many tributes paid to this special member. It read:
“Whereas Youngstown Fire Company member John Davis Mies joined the fire company in April 1973, and
“Whereas John Davis Mies has served the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company in many capacities, including chief, assistant chief, vice president and trustee, and
“Whereas John Davis Mies carried out the duties as a pump operator instructor, educating countless members to safely utilize their truck for fires and accidents; and
“Whereas John Davis Mies has been a great role model to many Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company members throughout the years;
“Now therefore, be it resolved that the Village of Youngstown hereby honors John Davis Mies for 50 awesome years of service.”
“I’m honored,” Reisman said he presented the proclamation to Mies.
Commenting on the testimonials, Mies said, “Many of you know, I’ve been a lifelong resident of the village. I grew up with my parents being actively involved in the fire company. My father was a fire chief for 22 years prior to me joining, and my mother was active in the ladies auxiliary. Needless to say, my memories go far beyond my 50 years of active service.
“There’s a strong sense of community. … We volunteer our time and service 24/7 and really with no complaints. The only thing we ask for in return is to be supplied with the equipment needed to do our jobs with safety and efficiency. …
“The fire company has come a long way in the years, in changes and improvements. I would not be amiss to recognize the people that spent personal time to help and train me in the beginning years of my membership: John Stevens Sr., Brian Muller, Mickey Suitor, to name a few. And that’s what led me to my own personal niche with the fire company, which is pump operations and truck operations.
“In closing, I would like to thank everyone here, for taking the time to recognize my years of service. … I’ve enjoyed these years serving my community, and plan on seeing you all in 10 years here for my 60th.”
John D. Mies, left, accepts honors from Youngstown Volunteer Fire Co. Chief Eric Wieland for his 50 years of service. (Photo by Kevin and Dawn Cobello, K&D Action Photo and Aerial Imaging)
Pictured are YVFC executive and line officers. (Photo by Kevin and Dawn Cobello, K&D Action Photo and Aerial Imaging)