Fire company pays tribute to fallen members

Memorial contributions used to honor members

PORT ROYAL — The brotherhood among firefighters runs deep and Friendship Fire Company in Port Royal is no exception.

To honor fallen members of the company and the memorial contributions given to the company in their honor, the members have decided to use the donations in special ways to pay tribute to their “brothers.”

In recent years, the company has lost members Eddie Zimmerman, Patrick Bryner and Matt Tornambe, and many contributions were presented in their honor. Instead of paying on debts, Chief Duane Hart said they decided to do something special that reflected each man lost.

For Zimmerman, a scholarship fund was created in 2011 for anyone graduating from Juniata High School pursuing a career in HVAC, electrical, plumbing, business or emergency services, since Zimmerman was known for all these pursuits. Since its creation, the scholarship has given out $7,000 total to local students. At Juniata’s class night ceremony next week, another $1,000 scholarship will be presented.

For Bryner, who was a regular race car driver at Port Royal Speedway, a rescue tool was purchased.

“It was fitting with him with his racing,” Hart said. “That was the direction we decided to go with.”

The 60-volt battery operated rescue tool is unlike any rescue tool the company has owned because it requires no hydraulic hoses and it’s quicker to deploy.

Tornambe, who was a trustee, led many large projects for the company including renovations of the social room at the fire hall, creating the Zimmerman scholarship fund and starting the parking lot renovations at the fire company.

Tornambe applied for a USDA grant which will be finalized soon to install a storm drainage system in the parking lot and then the lot will be paved after installation. When complete, an additional 48 off-street parking spaces will be available for the many events the community building sees each year.

Hart said more than 60 events are held in the building each year by the public and an additional five events are held by the fire company. The ladies auxiliary, which runs the social hall, recently purchased a chicken barbecue roasting trailer for use at the social hall or for the community to rent.

Ryan Pellman, treasurer of the company, said the renovations to the social hall and parking lot are a way of giving the donations back to the community since the building is used heavily by area residents.

Since Tornambe’s profession was the head of a non-profit organization, he was knowledgeable in creating the scholarship and invested the money raised for it. Hart said the scholarship, even if no money is added to fund, will last for more than 35 years.

“All of these members contributed to the community and it’s our way of giving back in their memory,” Pellman said. “All three were extremely community minded.”

Hart said the company wanted to show that the contributions were used in good faith and that it’s going back to the community. The projects are also helping the members of the company as well.

“It pulls everyone back together,” Hart said. “It’s a healing process for the company.”

If interested in contributing to any of the projects, donations may be sent to Friendship Fire Company, P.O. Box 274, Port Royal, PA 17082. If the donation is for a specific cause, write that information in the memo line of the check.

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