Archive for Friday, January 14, 2005

V.I.P. Volunteers

Helm, Cross recognized as department’s best

January 14, 2005

Firefighters don't fight flames for fame and fortune. But a little bit of recognition here and there doesn't hurt.

Each year since 2000, volunteer firefighters from the Eudora Fire Department have singled out one of their peers to be recognized as Firefighter of the Year. The honor this year went to Brendan Helm, who has served with the department for two years.

"He's just a dedicated person," said Deputy Fire Chief Mike Underwood. "He gives 110 percent in everything he does."

Underwood said the group of 20 volunteer firefighters considered each other's participation in fire runs and public education, among other duties of the department. He said Helm was also well liked by other firefighters because of his friendly demeanor and admirable character.

"He's really a straightforward, honest kind of guy," Underwood said. "A lot of the guys like him because he'll extend his hand out to anyone who needs help."

Helm is employed by a cable company in Kansas City and works in its engineering department in Overland Park. He has lived in Eudora for five years.

"I don't really know that I deserve it over any other member of the department, but I am honored that they think I deserve it," Helm said of the recognition.

Helm said he chose to be a volunteer firefighter because he Underwood said he admired each of the department's three new recruits, but Cross stood out because of a bright attitude and a willingness to learn.

"He's always friendly and he picks up things very quickly," Underwood said. "He just really shows the dedication to do this."

Cross is a shop manager at a car dealership in Olathe and has lived in Eudora for more than two years. He and his wife, Cheryl, have three grown children.

"It's something that I've always wanted to do, and I had an opportunity when I moved out here," Cross said of being a firefighter. "It was my chance."

Underwood said he admired each of the department's three new recruits, but Cross stood out because of a bright attitude and a willingness to learn.

"He's always friendly and he picks up things very quickly," Underwood said. "He just really shows the dedication to do this."

Cross is a shop manager at a car dealership in Olathe and has lived in Eudora for more than two years. He and his wife, Cheryl, have three grown children.

"It's something that I've always wanted to do, and I had an opportunity when I moved out here," Cross said of being a firefighter. "It was my chance."

He said he was happy the group had recognized his willingness to do whatever it takes, but that he was surprised to be chosen as Recruit of the Year.

Three other firemen were recently honored at the departments' Christmas party for their years of service. Lieutenant Keith Spence was recognized for completing 10 years of service and Dan Gregg and Mike Baxter were each honored for five years of service.

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