Bamberg County Firefighters Honored at 2nd Annual Fire Service Banquet

Posted by 11/14/2022

Bamberg, South Carolina (November 2022) – On Nov. 4, 2022, Bamberg County Council and the Fire Advisory Board held their second annual Bamberg County Fire Service Banquet at Ghents Branch Baptist Church. The program was dedicated in memory of Janie Sue Jones (mother of Jamie “Peanut” Jones, Denmark Fire Dpt.), Rachel Ann Still (mother of Kim Fail, Olar Fire Dpt.), and Annie “Polly” Myers (mother of Phil Myers, Bamberg Fire Dpt.  and County Council).


According to Bamberg County Fire Department Coordinator, Paul Eubanks, this was the first year Bamberg County firefighters were formally recognized and given awards for their service.


After an invocation by Rev. Evert Comer, Jr., awards were presented by County Administrator Joey Preston; County Council Chairman Spencer Donaldson; Council members Evert Comer, Jr. and Larry Hanes; County Fire Department Coordinator Paul Eubanks; Colston Fire Department. Asst. Chief Michelle Martin; and County Fire Department Chiefs. 


Chairman Donaldson said he was “thankful for the opportunity to honor these brave men and women” while Councilman Hanes is happy the Council and Fire Advisory Board have made this a more “prestigious occasion” by adding the award portion to the banquet. 


Following the awards, Challenge Coins were presented by County Administrator Joey Preston, and remarks were shared by members of the Bamberg County Council and County Fire Department Coordinator Paul Eubanks. Councilman Comer said, “Our county could not thrive the way it has without the dedication of our firefighters. They put their lives at risk to protect the citizens of Bamberg, and we are so thankful for that.” The banquet concluded with “A Fireman’s Prayer” and a benediction by Pastor Rodney Weaver, Captain of the Denmark Fire Department. 



The following awards were presented: 


1. Years of Service Recognition:

40+ years (3 firefighters)

-Denmark Fire Department: 

Chief Charles Breland, Jr. (49 yrs.) 

Jim Polasky (43 yrs.)


-Olar Fire Department: 

Steve Brabham (40 yrs.)


30+ years (9 firefighters)

-Denmark Fire Department: 

Asst. Chief Paul Eubanks (36 yrs.) 

Eddie Creech (37 yrs)


-Hunter’s Chapel Fire Department: 

Chief Richard Rentz (37 yrs.) 

Harvey McMillian (37 yrs)


-Little Swamp Fire Department: 

Chief Richard Crosby (39 yrs.),

Donny Fender (39 yrs.) 

Lorie Caldwell (30 yrs.)


-Ehrhardt Fire Department: 

Chief Chad Dilling (34 yrs.), 

Asst. Chief Harry Hughes (34 yrs.)


20+ years (20 firefighters)

-Colston Fire Department: 

Chief DeWayne Kirkland (29 yrs.)


-Denmark Fire Department: 

Capt. Charlie Breland III (29 yrs.)

Lt. Greg Still (23 yrs.)

Sott Bester (28 yrs.)


-Clearpond Fire Department 

Chief Scott Brown (29 yrs.)

Asst. Chief Anthony Harley (29 yrs.)

Cpt. Cory Hill (25 yrs.)

Ryan Brown (22 yrs.)


-Govan Fire Department:

Chief Kenneth Utz (29)

*Randy Ocker (20 yrs.)

Shannon Hutto (20 yrs.)

*Greg Still (23 yrs.)

Joe Lott (21 yrs.)


-Hunters Chapel Fire Department:

Asst. Chief Steve Summers (29 yrs.)

William McMillan (27 yrs.)

Rodney Smith (28 yrs.)


-Little Swamp Fire Department: 

Jason Padgett (27 yrs.)

Lee Waltz (24 yrs.)


-Olar Fire Department

Chief Christopher Fail (29 yrs.)

Steve “Pedro” Fail (20 yrs.)


-Ehrhardt Fire Department:

Lt. Jason Florie (21 yrs.)


10+ years (30 firefighters 

-Denmark Fire Department:

Cpt. Rodney Weaver (15 yrs.)

Barrett Breland (17 yrs.)

Matt Still (16 yrs.)

Eugene Morriss (14 yrs.)

Alex Still (14 yrs.)

Spencer Donaldson (14 yrs.)

Anna Lee Jennings (17 yrs.)

Patsy Breland (14 yrs.)


-Clearpond Fire Department:

Cpt. Robert Kinard (14 yrs.)

Wayne Brown (16 yrs.)

Kelly Brown (14 yrs.)

Wesley Crider (14 yrs.)

Derrick Ford (14 yrs.)

Jacob Brown (13 yrs.)

Billy Dean Priester (13 yrs.)



-Govan Fire Department:

Asst. Chief Ron Platt (11 yrs.)

*Alex Still (14 yrs.)

Janice Utz (18 yrs.)


-Hunters Chapel Fire Department:

Charles Lee Darnell, Jr. (14 yrs.)

Buster Bozard (13 yrs.)


-Little Swamp Fire Department: 

Asst. Chief Jake Carter (17 yrs.)

Lee Behling (15 yrs.)


-Olar Fire Department:

Jonathan Neece (19 yrs.)

Richard Smith (14 yrs.)

Kimberly Fail (18 yrs.)


-Erhardt Fire Department: 

John Williams (14 yrs.)

Melissa Dilling (15 yrs.)

Taylor Kinnard (15 yrs.)

Corey Walters (10 yrs.)

Shaun Williams (18 yrs.)


**A total of 62 firefighters were honored for a combined 1,429 years of service**


2. Department Fire Fighters of the Year (chosen by each dept. for their dedication and efforts)

Station 2-Colston Fire Department: Michelle Martin

Station 3-Denmark Fire Department: Rodney Weaver

Station 4-Clear Pond Fire Department: Derrick Ford

Station 5-Govan Fire Department: Gilbert Korver

Station 6-Hunters Chapel Fire Department: Ralph Rentz

Station 7-Little Swamp Fire Department: Richard Crosby

Station 8-Olar Fire Department: Andy Zissett

Station 9-Ehrhardt: Harry Hughes


3. 2021 Bamberg County Firefighter of the Year: Michelle Martin-Colston Fire Department


4. 2022 Bamberg County Firefighter of the Year: Rodney Weaver-Denmark Fire Department




Selecting the Bamberg County Firefighter of the Year Award recipient was a county-wide process; each department’s Firefighter of the Year was automatically nominated as well as each firefighter who was selected from departments outside his or her own ranks. Recipients of the Firefighter of the Year Award will have their names engraved on a plaque that will hang in the fire department where the most recent recipient has served and the placement will alternate from year to year. 


5. Special Recognition of County Administrator Joey Preston by Michelle Martin on behalf of the Bamberg County Fire Service 


Mr. Preston said he had no idea he was receiving an award and was deeply “honored and moved.” Furthermore, Mr. Preston said Bamberg County Council and all citizens of Bamberg County will be “forever grateful to all members of the Bamberg County Fire Department for their unwavering courage and dedication to protecting their neighbors.”


6. Challenge Coins presented by County Administrator Joey Preston


Bamberg County Council and the Fire Advisory Board plan to make the award portion of the banquet an annual tradition. 




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