Seaford volunteers receive special honors

By Lynn R. Parks

John Botdorf wasn't expecting to be named fireman emeritus by the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department. The department already has one fireman emeritus, Earl Conaway, and it never dawned on him that it could have two, he said. But there he was, at the fire department's Feb. 2 annual banquet, being honored as the department's second fireman emeritus. "It was a big giant surprise," said Botdorf. "I don't feel like I deserve it. But everybody else seems to think that I do." "John is a long-time member who shows up day or night," said Ron Marvel, spokesman for the department. "It can be 2 o'clock in the morning – it doesn't matter. We wanted to acknowledge that kind of dedication." Botdorf, who is 63, was one of the department's top 15 responders in 2007. He drives the ambulance on a regular schedule and responds to as many calls as he can. "Whenever the whistle blows, I still go," he said. "I still put on the air pack and go in to fight the fires. Not many people my age still do that." Botdorf, who grew up in Seaford and graduated from Seaford High School in 1962, joined the fire department shortly after finishing a four-year stint in the Air Force. Joining the department "was just something I wanted to do," he said. "It does help a lot of people."

He has served as captain of the department's dive team and as a member of the ambulance committee. In 2005, he was the department's fireman of the year. Botdorf retired from the DuPont nylon plant in Seaford in 2002. He and his wife of 45 years, Kitti, have three adult children, Danny, Virginia Beach, Va., Jeff, Suffolk, Va., and Lisa, Hilton Head, S.C., and eight grandchildren. Also honored at the SVFD annual banquet were Stacy Scheer, who was named emergency medical technician of the year, and Sam Hastings, fireman of the year. Scheer, who is part of the department's ambulance service, was one of its top five responders in 2007, Marvel said. "She is very dedicated to the service," he added. "She always responds, and stands call duty when she doesn't have to." For several years, Hastings has been responsible for scheduling fire engine rides for first graders during Fire Prevention Week and arranging tours of the fire hall, Marvel said. Hastings also puts in a lot of hours in the department's dining hall and, Marvel said, "is still out there fighting fires." Also during the annual banquet, three fire department members, Mark O'Bier, Bill Hastings and Blake Chaffinch, were named lifetime members.

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