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Meet Our MVFD Volunteers: Mark Silver
8/7/2017 12:49:27 PM

In photo below, Morris Volunteer Fire Department Member Mark Silver stands in front of Engine 3, the 30-year-old tanker that needs to be replaced.

Meet Our MVFD Volunteers: Mark Silver

(MVFD Officers’ note: This is the second in a series of posts introducing and showing appreciation for the dedicated men and women who volunteer their time, sweat, and passion as members of the Morris Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD) and Morris EMS. If you see one of the fine folks featured here around town, say hello—and we’re sure they’d appreciate a “thank you” also.)

Mark Silver joined the MVFD in 2011, but his inspiration to volunteer goes all the way back to a childhood experience.
His stepmother, Charlotte Silver, was a fire department member many years ago, when Mark was a boy, and it was then he got his first taste of what going on a call was like.
“One of the nights she was babysitting me, she went out on a call and I went with her,” Mark remembered of an incident in which a mini bulldozer had hit a telephone pole and the driver of the heavy equipment had gone through the windshield. Alcohol was involved.
Mark recalls sitting in his stepmother’s car and being fascinated by the firefighters and the State Police officers, dressed in fine uniforms and calmly dealing with a situation that resulted in the accident victim—not badly injured—being escorted to the police cruiser, and passing close enough by Mark that he could see shards of glass in the accident victim’s hair.
“That was quite inspiring,” Mark said of the incident—so much so that he would later study law enforcement in college. At the moment, he’s in the landscaping business.
“After college I thought it was a good thing to do, helping the town out a bit,” Mark said of volunteering for the MVFD. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people.”
In addition to having some training as a firefighter, Mark is an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder), and he plans to become an EMT. His shift on the Morris Volunteer Ambulance was on Sunday evenings.
As part of a disagreement between the MVFD and the First Selectmen over details surrounding local EMS service, there’s no ambulance in the Morris Firehouse at the moment. Service is being provided by Litchfield Ambulance.
“Some people don’t realize how much the ambulance does around here. It’s a very important thing,” said Mark, who lives on Deer Island on Bantam Lake and recalls Life Star Helicopter needing to be called for a number of lake incidents.
Not just Morris residents are implicated by the local ambulance service being undermined, Mark said. Referencing a mutual aide situation, he explained, “If Bethlehem needed help, they would have to wait for Litchfield.”
In addition to his role as a firefigh
ter and EMR, Mark has a leadership position on the MVFD Nominating Committee. “If you want to be a member of the fire department, you have to go through me,” said Mark, who has been on the three-member committee for four years.
“We’re always looking for more members,” he added, mentioning a new volunteer who joined in part to be a member of the Dive Team. “You give what time you have,” Mark said.

We’re always looking for more volunteers like Mark. To join our “family,” email MVFD President Kevin DeRoehn at president@morrisfiredept.org or call 860-567-7441 to learn more about becoming a member.

Meet Our MVFD Volunteers: Katelyn Shemms
7/27/2017 11:25:47 AM

(MVFD Officers’ note: This is the first in a series of posts introducing and showing appreciation for the dedicated men and women who volunteer their time, sweat, and passion as members of the Morris Volunteer Fire Department and Morris EMS. If you see one of the fine folks featured here around town, say hello—and we’re sure they’d appreciate a “thank you” also.)

Katelyn Shemms is a MVFD all-star.
A member for approximately 5 years, she’s a full-time nursing student at Porter & Chester Institute, she has two jobs, helps care for family members—and is one of our most dedicated volunteers.
“Helping people is my thing,” says Katelyn, a certified EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) who is trained in CPR and First-Aid. Her mother, grandmother and an aunt are all nurses, so helping people runs in the family.
On the EMS side of the MVFD, Katelyn had regular shifts driving the ambulance during the Monday and Wednesday 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shifts. Even when she wasn’t on the schedule, she’s the kind of volunteer who would happily get out of bed in the middle of the night to respond to even a minor situation.
A true team player, who helps Fire Chief Joel Skilton and other officers with presentations on fire prevention and public safety, Katelyn has done National Incident Management System (NIMS) training and she has the Q endorsement on her Connecticut license, which means she’s qualified to operate fire apparatus.
“I like driving big trucks,” she says. (Who doesn’t?)
She hasn’t been driving the ambulance lately, however, and that troubles her on multiple levels. As part of a disagreement between the MVFD and the First Selectmen over details surrounding local EMS service, there’s no ambulance in the Morris Firehouse at the moment. Service is being provided by Litchfield Ambulance.
“I feel lost without the ambulance,” says Katelyn, who is concerned about the public safety aspects of not having an ambulance in town, especially in the summer when activity at Bantam Lake reaches its annual peak, and when there are three active camps in town, one offered by Morris Beach & Recreation, and Camp Awosting and Camp Washington.
Sooner than many families might want, the new school year will start, and while James Morris School is adjacent to the firehouse, ambulance and EMS service for students and staff is much farther away than it used to be—and farther away than it should be, says Katelyn, who expresses hope the MVFD and town leadership will work out their issues and bring back local EMS and ambulance service. 
“This is my second home,” Katelyn says of the MVFD. We truly value that level of dedication, and we hope it’s also valued by residents of Morris and visitors, who are safer and more secure because of the service provided by Katelyn and all of our volunteers.
We’re always looking for more volunteers like Katelyn. To join our “family,” email MVFD President Kevin DeRoehn at president@morrisfiredept.org or call 860-567-7441 to learn more about becoming a member.

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