Morrison Fire Department held its annual banquet Monday to recognize the dedication exhibited by its members.
The annual dinner hosted by Morrison Ruritan Club members was an opportune time to honor former fire chief Mark Parker, who was presented a first for the department: The Mark Parker Leadership Award.
“There isn’t a gift or a token that we could do to make up for the time you have given to us and to this department,” said assistant chief Jason Blalock in making the presentation.
A member of the department for more than 35 years, the award was established to recognize Parker’s time with the department and honor his dedication and leadership. It will be presented annually to other members who exhibit those same qualities.
Following a standing ovation, Parker said, “I have gained and learned as much or more as you all have. We have always tried to make this department a family and I think we have done that.”
Morrison Ruritan members also presented the former chief with an Award of Recognition for his service to the town of Morrison, as a firefighter and as fire chief. In making that presentation, Morrison Ruritan member Ryan Moore called Parker a “true public servant.”
Each year, Morrison Fire Department members vote to determine who will be named Firefighter of the Year. The 2019 honor is given to Lt. Chris Helton.
Fire Chief Aaron Roberts made the presentation and said Helton brings valuable knowledge to the department and is someone everyone can turn to for guidance and instruction while on a scene.
Business conducted during the banquet was the promotion of Slayden Rogers, who was named lieutenant. Captain Lynn Cantrell presented Rogers with the black helmet which comes with that ranking.
Roberts offered his appreciation for the continued support of Morrison Ruritan Club members by hosting the banquet again this year.