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Westwood Celebrates 75 Years
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By Westwood Newsdesk
August 20, 2022

One of the first sparks in organizing the Westwood Fire Company was Chester Taylor, Sr. A fire broke out in the barn on the Janet Greenfield property. Chester Taylor, with a Model T Ford and a cider barrel for a water tank, had the fire under control when the West End Fire Company of Coatesville arrived. This was the beginning of the formation of a fire company later to be known as the Westwood Fire Company. Now 75 years later, it is 2022 and we held our anniversary banquet and recognized our members for their lifesaving efforts, acts of courage and commitment to the organization.

The anniversary celebration was held at the Downingtown Country Club and was attended by many members, guest, employees, neighboring fire companies and municipal officials. The night began with an Hor d'oeuvre hour filled with cheeses, vegetables and fresh oven snacks.

President Sly began the night with an opening message to the members and guest, a pledge of allegiance, moment of silence and a prayer led by Past EMS Chief Biddle. The following hour was spent in fellowship over a meal served by the country club staff.

Leading into the ceremonies, President Sly elaborated on more history of the fire company and one of the biggest accomplishments being our current EMS service. Our first ambulance was bought in 1999 after running QRS for many years. From there Westwood became the last ambulance service to be formed in Chester County and now soon to be the largest Ambulance service with 7 Ambulances covering 6 municipalities and soon to be grown into many more.

We were incredibly pleased to have municipal officials in attendance from Valley, West Caln, and Wallace Townships. The support these officials give us is tremendous and without it, we would not be able to supply the great service that we do.

A special presentation was to the West Caln Township Board of Supervisors who unanimously agreed to provide our growing ALS service with a pick-up truck to use as a chase vehicle. This vehicle will be known as Medic 344-1 and will be housed at the Sadsburyville Fire Company to supply ALS services to most of Western Chester County and Eastern Lancaster County.

Chief Mike McWilliams presented our 2020 and 2021 fire/rescue call volume numbers and talked about the updates of the operation like a SAFER grant for $580,000 for supplying on duty firefighters. This year, in honor of the hardworking men and women of the pandemic, Chief McWilliams dedicated his Chester Taylor Jr. Fire Chief’s Award to the crew members that selflessly and tirelessly responded to all calls for service during the global pandemic.

EMS Chief Joe Kennedy was the next to present and recognized all career staff members for their efforts during the pandemic as well. Chief Kennedy elaborated on the outstanding work our staff does every day, long hours and sleepless nights.

In addition, Chief Kennedy recognized members for 2 in particular incidents where they were called to duty to care for a neighboring MICU company that overturned their vehicle and a house explosion. Ironically, both incidents happened within close proximity to our West Brandywine Station that houses MICU 244-1. Chief Kennedy also recognized John McGrath and Michelle King for their long tenure of 10 years and John Reilly and Brandie Maciejewski for 5 years of employment to the Westwood Fire Company EMS Division.

Following the EMS awards, Fire Police Lieutenant James Pilotti recognized his predecessor Dave Leary who unfortunately passed away earlier this year and James was called to fill this position as the acting Lieutenant. Lieutenant Pilotti presented the Fire Police Officer of the year award to Mike Maciejewski for the top responder of 44 calls.

President John Sly came back onto the floor and recognized members for years of service to the company.
10 years- Molly Ohar, Kelly Ohar, Nicholas Ohar, Mike Arena, Laura Leary and Chester Taylor III
15 years- Robert Law
20 Years- George Morris, Jason Fryberger, Kevin Axe, Trish Sweigart, Amy Amer, Amber Davis, Frank Dowlin, BJ Meadowcroft, Sam Terry, Barry Messner, Michael Conway and Tim Gathercole
25 Years- Chris Biddle and John Sly
30 Years- Darin DiLuigi and Randy Scott
35 Years- Tina Axe, Kathy Amer and Robert Pacana
40 Years- Robin Criswell and William Burkley
45 Years- Harvey McDonald and Wayne Criswell

A special recognition was also given to Evan Taylor who every year supplies his culinary services to the Chester County Fire Chief’s Association on behalf of the Westwood Fire Company. Evan, Jason Cole, and Joel Zimmermann have been doing this for many years and always supply a great meal and night to that association.

The evening concluded with a large amount of door prizes being given out to everyone in attendance including Westwood travel mugs and Ogio backpacks. Thank you to all members and officers who made this night successful. We are excited what the next 75 years will bring us at the Westwood Fire Company.

A special thanks to the Longwood Fire Company and Royersford EMS who provided coverage to our communities this evening so that our members and staff could enjoy the night.

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