Palm Coast – The Palm Coast Fire Department marked its 50th anniversary with a special kick-off celebration event at Fire Station 21 on Saturday, April 22, 2023. The event was attended by community members, elected officials, and department members, both past and present, who gathered to celebrate this significant milestone.
The Palm Coast Fire Department was founded on April 3, 1973, when thirty-six volunteers decided that they would answer the call to respond to fire and emergency medical calls. They initially responded from the cart barn at the Palm Harbor Golf Club and responded to two calls for service the first year. The total county population was 4,454. Today the department is a combination department that responded to over 13,444 calls for service in 2022 from five fire stations.
State Representative and Speaker of the House Paul Renner offered introductory remarks in which he thanked the service of the Palm Coast Fire Department. “We know that you always have our back; at the legislature, we always have yours,” stated Speaker Renner. A letter from Governor Ron DeSantis was read aloud by Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin in which it stated, “As the parent of three young children, the First Lady and I appreciate the first responders who work day and night to keep our communities safe. Thank you for your unwavering service and sacrifice to the community and our great state.”
Mayor Alfin expressed his admiration for the Palm Coast Fire Department for their brave deeds, noble qualities, courage, and heroism as they perform under the most intense stressful conditions. “In times of crisis, the Palm Coast Fire Department has always been there to step up and provide critical support,” stated Mayor Alfin. “Whether responding to hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, or other major disasters, the department has played a critical role in emergency response and recovery efforts, helping to keep our community safe and resilient.”
There were several special presentations, including the dedication of the fire department’s second pumper purchased in 1978, a 1959 American LaFrance engine. The fire engine was returned to the Palm Coast Fire Department after nearly three decades of service to neighboring departments and communities. The American LaFrance is planned to be restored so that it will be used for community events, fire prevention, and fallen firefighter funerals.
Additionally, Kathy Reichard-Ellavsky, president of the Palm Coast Historical Society, presented a Garfield fire-fighter poster signed by the cartoonist Jim Davis commemorating the bravery and dedication of the volunteers of the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Department who fought the 1985 wildfires. This poster will be proudly on display at the Palm Coast Community Center for the community to enjoy. A plethora of Palm Coast Fire Department history is currently on display at the Palm Coast Historical Society, located in James F. Holland Memorial Park at 18 Florida Park Dr N.
Fire Chief Kyle Berryhill spoke of the department’s pride, especially from the members past and present who joined in the day’s celebration. “For those who came before – I hope you are proud of what we have become and where we are headed. To our current firefighters and department members – I am extremely proud of your daily actions, your courage, your character, and your capacity,” stated Chief Berryhill. “Each and every day, you set out to deliver the best service to our community, and your commitment to that standard drives the outpouring of support we feel today and every day from our citizens”.
Concluding the celebration was the unveiling of a time capsule containing department member portraits, pre-plans of the original fire station, and building designs of the newest fire engine. Deputy Fire Chief Bradd Clark spoke about the time capsule, saying, “This time capsule serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come, and a testament to the dedication and hard work of our firefighters, past and present. It will remind future generations of the sacrifices made by those who came before us and inspire them to continue the proud tradition of service to our community.”
The Palm Coast Fire Department’s 50th-anniversary celebration was a memorable event that celebrated the department’s history, achievements, and commitment to serving the community. The department looks forward to additional celebrations throughout the year to mark its Golden Anniversary.
To watch the ceremony, click here.
To watch a reunion of past and current Palm Coast Firefighters, click here.
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