Dick Collison honored for 50 years of service

By Lynn R. Parks

Dick Collison is as dependable as the Seaford Volunteer Fire Department itself. No matter the weather, said state Rep. Dan Short during a tribute to Collison last week, the owner of Dick's Barbershop in downtown Seaford can be counted on to direct traffic at the corner of High and Cannon streets when the fire siren blows. "At the sound of the whistle, he is out the door," added Seaford Mayor Ed Butler. "It doesn't matter who's sitting in the barber chair, Dick leaves him there." The tribute was held Wednesday evening at the start of the monthly meeting of the fire company membership. It marked 50 years since Collison started directing traffic for the fire department. Company president R. Wayne Truitt presented Collison with a framed piece of old carpet salvaged during the recent renovation of the department's recreation room. Collison was instrumental in the original design of the rec room, Truitt said. Truitt and Chief Tom LeCates presented Collison with a plaque certifying that he is a fire policeman emeritus.

"A milestone was reaching this month," Truitt said. "Even before Dick was a member of the fire department, he was directing traffic at High and Cannon. Members of the department were worried that he could get hurt, so they invited him to join the fire company." Collison started directing traffic for the fire company in March 1959 and joined the department in 1965. He was fireman of the year in 1980 and is now a lifetime member of the department. "He is a dedicated and outstanding citizen of this town," Butler said. Short, who is also a member of the department, said that stopping traffic to allow fire engines to turn from Cannon onto High Street is not always an easy job. "Dick has become kind of a dodge ball expert, because he has to dodge the equipment that sometimes flies off the trucks when they go around that corner," he said. That equipment includes helmets, ladders and hoses, Short added. Short read a tribute to Collison from the state House of Representatives. Because county Councilman Mike Vincent could not be there, Donald Tull, a member of the fire company, read a tribute from the Sussex County Council. It declared that Feb. 11 was a "day for all Sussex Countians to honor Dick Collison and a lifetime of achievement."

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