Before the board of trustees, family, friends and residents Saturday, new and promoted firefighters from the Orange Township Fire Department were officially sworn in by Chief Matt Noble during a celebratory ceremony held at the Orange Township Hall, 1680 E. Orange Road, Lewis Center.
“It’s been a long time coming. It’s huge, and we had a lot of people to catch up on today,” said Fire Chief Matt Noble. “I think we finally got it.”
Noble said it was just one of those things that the township had gotten away from and “that it was time to bring it back.”
“When I became chief, I was the last one sworn in,” he said. “No swearing-in at all since. That’s why we did it today to get everybody caught up, and from this point forward, it will be a regular thing.”
According to Amanda Sheterom, human resources manager, Noble was appointed fire chief in 2014.
Trustee Lisa Knapp, board chair, said that some of the people sworn in Saturday “have worked for the township for four-plus years.”
“We just haven’t had a swearing-in ceremony for over four years,” she said. “We used to do individuals at trustee meetings but decided this time to have a large ceremony. It was a very special day to honor these new firefighters and newly appointed lieutenants and captains who were promoted during that time for their commitment and service to Orange Township.”
During the ceremony, John Kopke’s daughter, Firefighter Katie Kopke, gave him one of the proudest moments of father’s life when she asked him to pin her badge on her uniform just before taking the oath of office as a new full-time firefighter.
“We’re very proud,” John Kopke said about his daughter.
Katie Kopke recently become engaged to Zack Townsley, a City of Columbus police officer.
“We have a lot of comradery together,” she said.
Trustee Debbie Taranto said it was her first firefighter swearing-in ceremony.
“I was both impressed and proud of our firefighters, their families and the chief,” she said. “They have achieved their dream of being in the fire service, and I’m glad that they work for Orange Township. What a great group of firefighters.”
Trustee Ryan Rivers was escorted by his daughter, who was wide-eyed and attentive to the ceremony going on before her.
“It was an honor to attend the ceremony with my youngest daughter, Maddie,” he said. “Congratulations to all who were sworn in and recognized for their dedication to our fire department.”
James Chappel, Cory Conrad, Forrest Dill, David Grover, Nicholas Leidheiser, Nicholas Renzetti, Zachary Rikk and Jake Stimmel were sworn in as part-time firefighters, as were the following who were either on duty or could not attend the ceremony: Brandon Harm, Johnatan Highley, Cody Johnson, Michael Kemmerling, Matt Kokas, Justin Murphy, Marcus Musser, Adam Parsons, Jarrad Reese and Shea Schuette.
Clyde “Butch” VanHoose was sworn-in as the township fire inspector.
Full-time firefighters sworn-in Saturday include Stephen Baker, Bradley Belville, Craig Collins, Doug Dewart, Adam Ison, Katie Kopke, Josh Loney, Chris Mize and Trever Murphy. Rachel Peters was unable to attend the ceremony.
Those promoted to lieutenant and sworn in were Ken Brooks, Joe Line and Andrew Sapp.
Promoted to captain and sworn in were John Hodges, AJ Miller and Scott Rice.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.