PERKINSVILLE — For 125 years the men and women of a small community have answered the call to fight fires.


On April 7 the Perkinsville Fire Department honored those who have served 10, 40, 50 and 70 years. The Sparta Fire Department held the award ceremony at their fire hall with a nice meal, drinks, door prizes and music.


Members Joseph Getty and Ray Sellers served 10 years, Bill Conrad served 40 years, Bob Hughes served 50 years, and Ted Conrad served 70 years.


There were two special clocks handed out to Hughes and Ted Conrad for investing a lifetime into the job.


Assemblyman Joe Errigo Community Liaison Joe Montesano was very impressed with the men who were honored.


“Anything to do with the fire department is near and dear to my heart,” he said. “I was with the Rochester Fire Department for almost 40 years. It is amazing for me to see two men celebrating 50 and 70 years of service.”


“I feel like they (Hughes and Ted) are a granite foundation in this plastic world we live in,” Montesano continued. “It has been an honor to come to these events. Perkinsville is a great town.”


Perkinsville Fire Chief Walt Drum Jr. paid a few moments of silence to those who had lost their lives over the last eight months. It was a sad moment as the fire department remembered their fellow firefighters.


Drum Jr. recalled the outstanding work Hughes and Ted Conrad had done all these decades.


“He (Hughes) started in 1968 and has held the Vice President position on the board of directors,” he said. “He is a great help during our pancake breakfast every year.”


Montesano read off a proclamation from Assemblyman Joe Errigo stating that after 50 years it takes a certain kind of dedication to help a neighbor in need.


“He (Hughes) went above and beyond the call of duty,” Montesano said. “We want to recognize Bob Hughes after 50 years of service.”


Hughes was honored to get the award, and he pleased to serve his community.


“This is a great honor,” he said. “All I got to say is you are a wonderful group of people. We make a lot of jokes, and have a lot of fun. I really appreciate all of you wonderful people. I miss all of the past members.”


Drum Jr. was honored to hand out the last award of the night to WWII Veteran Ted Conrad.


“This is a super special award. They don’t get to give out these awards very often to any (firefighter) member in the world,” he said. “He (Ted) started in 1948 when he got back from the war. He has cut many potatoes over the years. He comes to every single meeting.”


Montesano said that Ted Conrad has been a member of the Perkinsville Fire Department for an impressive amount of time.


“Ted Conrad after 70 years of service, which is longer than most of us have been alive, we transmit this honor to you,” he said. “No one has ever seen 70 years of service.”


Drum Jr. said this is a great fire department, and he is proud to be the leader.


“This is a great fire department. I am honored to be the chief,” he said. “We do this for the community, and everyone in this room."