Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Faces of Culpeper ....... Firefighters of the Pepper

There are some groups in the Pepper that I intend to honor in my blog. The firefighters are the first of those groups.  In Culpeper the Fire Department is totally volunteer from the chief to the youngest member.  I find myself amazed that so many people would give so much time and effort for their community and do it all just for the knowledge that they have consistently made a difference and made Culpeper a safer place.

 This is how the volunteer department works: Each of the firefighters carries a pager.  When a call comes in to the station that requires a response, all of the volunteers are beeped and everyone that is able rushes to the station.  Their goal is to get a truck out within eight minutes of receiving the call.  That they are generally able to do that is impressive.

 I am not sure what ticks in the heads and hearts of these people that makes them willing to endanger their lives if necessary,  but I am sure glad they do it.

My first stop at the Davis Street station found them in full alarm and waiting for enough fire fighters to get a truck out.  Men and women were hurrying into the station.  Most did not have time to properly find places to park and so they just parked where they could.

Tommy Ross had stopped by the station to say some goodbyes when the alarm came in. It was his last day.  The next day he went "inactive."  Tommy has been a volunteer for forty four years. He drove the truck one last time.  I am glad that I was there to record that event.

Bruce Stark hails from New York.  Some of the others said that he keeps things hopping at the station.

John Hamilton is a Junior Member.  I found that volunteers can begin at age 16.  Here is before and after.  Rushing in to the station first and later wearing his gear.

Here is the most important man in the station,  Kenny Mills.  I know that he had better things to do than to let me take his picture, but he was a good sport.  He has been a volunteer firefighter for "well over forty years."  He told me it "is in his blood."

Joey Perryman is at the wheel here as they rush to an emergency.  He told me that he doesn't much like having his picture taken.  However, I was told that he is very important because he is the lieutenant and a career volunteer.  I hope he doesn't mind that I have included him.

This young lady is Melissa Kratochvil.  It turns out that she reads my blogs!!!  Yeah! She has been a fire fighter for two years now.  I took a picture of her way deep in the bowels of the fire truck just before it pulled out, but her eyes were closed.  Dang!  I had to have a shot of her, but I have to admit that I missed the action one.  Melissa took my picture on the old fire engine and provided names and then double checked names for this posting.  Thanks!  She is a third generation firefighter.  Her dad has served 31 years so far.  Her grandfather started this family tradition.

Dwayne Jefferies chatted with me as the others headed out.  He was not going that day and gave me a lot of good information.  He is a landscapper and a volunteer "fighter."  He explained to me that he could fight from outside of a building, but in order to enter a burning building you have to be a certified fire fighter. He has been a volunteer for eleven years and enjoys it. I really appreciate his insights.

Jonathan Hamilton is a junior member of the department and also participates in MCJROTC in school.  He looks great in the uniform, doesn't he? 

Brandon Graham is another junior member who comes from a family where volunteer firefighting is a tradition.  His father, Terry is the Second Assistant Chief and his grandfather was a career firefighter in Fairfax County.

Jordan just moved from being a junior member to senior member.  Congratulations!  He plans on being a career firefighter.

I think this guy is a good one to end with.  He is Wayne Green and has forty four years of firefighting under his belt.  He served at the Brandy Station station (hmmm that is kind of a cool repitition), Fairfax County and Culpeper.  In addition he is a full time trainer for fire and rescue.

I asked Wayne why he does it.  He told me that he wants to help people and enjoys the commraderie with the firefighters and EMTs.  He further noted that there is never a dull moment and that you never know what to expect.  He thought for a moment then said, "these are great people to work with."

I am going to end on that note.  I want to acknowledge that I am aware that there are several other stations, but my blog concentrates on the Town of Culpeper. 

That's all for now.   Make a comment right here or drop me a line at:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Faces of Culpeper ..... Culpeper Days

I have lived in the Pepper almost 33 months.  Sadly, I let two celebrations of Culpeper Days go by with narry a nod.  This time we had a friend from our previous life who had rented a booth to sell a really neat product line, so we went down to see her and to spend a maximum of one half hour at the celebration.  Let me tell you that after ten  minutes I headed for home to get my camera and notebook.  Once I returned we stayed for three hours having fun, fun, fun!!!  We enjoyed the booths, the Farmers' Market, the music, the food and the people.  The whole atmosphere was what I have come to expect in Culpepeper .... relaxed and enjoyable.  I saw people with and without tattoos.  I met a couple of photographers (one with great portraits!!), a young lady in a Civil War dress, heard some good singers and it goes on and on.  I took some pictures and talked with a lot of folks..... all in a great mood!  I won't miss this event ever again.

Here I am right by Clarke's Hardware on Davis Street as it normally appears early in the day.  During Culpeper Days this street was loaded with canopy-type booths.  It was jammed with them behind me all the way to the fire station.  In front of me booths were set up  almost to the train station.  If you turned right at the old train station, you would face a rather large stage where bands performed.  To the left....Farmers' Market. In between there were lots of people, but not so many that you could not easily get around.   All the normal merchants were open and it was rockin!  As usual, I grabbed some shots of some of the folks there.

This time let's start with Roger Carter.  I saw Roger from a distance and figured with the suit and all that he certainly was the dignitary in charge of Culpeper Days.  It isn't every day that a man in a three piece suit is loose on the streets of Culpeper.  It turns out that Roger is a local handyman and that he likes to look good.  Well, he looks great and he is my kind of guy!!!!

I stopped and watched these three young people play.  They go by the "Wilkening Family Bluegrass Band."  They were good and I was really enjoying their music when something happened.  Right in the middle of a song the young lady's cell phone rang.  Well, of course I understand the adage that "the show must go on," so I mentally prepared to hear the trio play the rest of the song.  Nope! (Isn't this a current young people classic?)  The young lady took a couple of steps to the right and took the call!!!!!
That left her brothers playing two thirds of the arrangement while she talked on the phone.  It made me laugh out loud.  They were still good!

With the advent of the warm weather, there were lots of sleeveless blouses and shirts and quite a few tattoos on display.  I am giving serious consideration to doing a "Faces of Culpeper ...... the Tattoos".  If I do you may see this girl again.

This lady was resting on the curb by the Farmers' Market.  With her bright blouse, bright balloon and bright smile..... I couldn't resist.

In my last blog I said that Yowell Meadow Park was for dogs.  I know that I said that  and even at Culpeper Days there were some dogs present.  Here is Dennis and his best friend enjoying the celebration.   Dogs just may be taking over!

I mentioned in my profile that I worked as a part time professional photographer for over thirty years shooting mostly weddings, but also portraits.  I know good pictures when I see them and Elizabeth Bailey takes good pictures.  I especially liked the senior portrait of the girl in the hammock.

How about this young lady all dressed up as a Civil War belle?  Her name is Allie and she was there representing the Culpeper Museum..  I cannot imagine that any good citizen of the Pepper has not taken advantage of the wealth of info at this museum, but if any exist..... shame on you!  Get on over there!  I promise that you will not be sorry.

One of the factors that made Culpeper Days work so well was that it was easy to move up and down the street. One huge reason for that is that traffic was kept flowing by the policemen and cadets on duty.

This is kind of a snapshot (pun intended) of what Culpeper Days is about.  These three men Tim Dalman, Pat Deighan and Billy Ward representing Ruritan were there working all day raising money that will help provide service for others.  You have to respect that.

This young man was enjoying the sun.  He is, or goes by, I am not sure which, Chris Grand Pre.

Did I mentioned that Culpeper Days was for Vietnameses Potbelly Pigs????  Yep!  Right here in the Pepper and on a leash..... a potbelly pig.  Geeeez!!!!  Here are Brittany Chapman, Amanda Davidson and "Shadow"  the pig!!!!!!!!!
But wait .... there's more!!!  Amanda is a "snake wrangler" in her family business called .... what else? .... "Snake Wranglers."  If you have any snakes that you don't want hanging around, they will come and capture them and you can sleep soundly again.

And here comes the big finish ..... drum roll, please...... this is the self proclaimed "Hot Chick."  What can I say about this woman except that there is a lot of ham in this chick!  M Mickeis was representing Bark's Chicken!  She deserves a black and white picture and a color one!!

That's it for now.  Thanks for stopping by.  Feel free to comment or to send me your thoughts at: