BATH - Mayor Bill von Hagn expressed his gratitude to all the members of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department Saturday for their time and dedication protecting the Village of Bath at the department's annual awards banquet.

The department ran 387 calls in 2017 protecting the local area. Several awards were handed out at the banquet.

Firefighter of the Year: Brent Hockaday

Hockaday has been a member of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department for nearly 15 years and answered almost 1,900 calls, officials said. He worked in the community with the Village of Bath Police Department on several events like the WineGlass Marathon, Dairy Festival and multiple Bath Fairgrounds events. He also serves as the secretary on the fire department executive board.

He has worked himself up through the ranks to become the Captain of the Fire Police, who work in all kinds of bad weather for many hours directing traffic and maintaining order on emergency scenes.

Hockaday also spends many hours at the station with meetings and training and is also on the committee to specify a new ladder truck. Although he is very quiet and patient, he brings a lot of knowledge and understanding to the department and the committees he serves on.

Firefly of the Year: Tiffany Walruth

Walruth is committed to a task or a purpose. In this crazy, busy world she has taken the time to really become dedicated to this task, this cause, and the department. She is dedicated to her firefly family as well as the department as a whole. She attends every event, many of which she has help to organize and set up for.

She always has a smile on her face and willing to do absolutely anything that is needed. She is not afraid to step in when she sees a need, even if it means reaching for something from the top shelf or carrying something that is far beyond her muscular fortitude.

Walruth has shown her dedication by caring for others, baking for others, planning gatherings and parties, and knowing every child well enough to pick the perfect gift. She even finds time to educate junior firefighters on life skills when she gets the chance.

When new leadership was needed for the auxiliary she stepped up and stepped in without hesitation. She sought advice from previous leaders and is constantly striving to make the organization strong.

The amount of time and energy that she puts into the department and making it a special experience for all is a sure sign of dedication. Tiffany is a leader, a planner, an organizer, a teacher, and a friend.

Junior Firefighter of the Year: Blake Jackson

Jackson came into the Junior Firefighters full of questions and curiosity as to why things are done a certain way, the discipline it takes as well the respect that needs to be shown to his fellow members. All these things are what have helped him develop into a valuable member of the Junior Firefighter team.

The junior program is an important group of young individuals that hopefully become regular firefighters one day. At fires they stage equipment that will be needed throughout the operation, change air pack bottles, setup lighting and hand out water so our firefighters stay hydrated and other necessary task as they arise.

Jackson’s strong interest and determination has led him to become the Captain of the Junior organization and to lead the other juniors in training, fire ground operations and how to become meaningful members, while keeping them safe at the same time.