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Saving Chaplain White, Annual Physicals a Lifesaver
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By Fire Chief Benjamin Nalborczyk
October 17, 2017

In early 2012 by way of Fire Chief's General Order the New Market District Volunteer Fire Company started requiring every member to obtain and maintain an annual physical evaluation at CorpOHS of Frederick that was funded by tax payers funds. This initially was met with some resistance and some members did not understand but as usual in order to keep providing a service to their community they complied. Most recently we have had an incident come about within our immediate New Market District Volunteer Fire Company family with our very own Chaplain/Technician Gary White that solidified why it is that these physicals are so important to our responders and how we are ever so grateful to County Government and the citizens for providing the tax funds to fund said physicals. Please see the write-up below copied from the Maryland State Fireman's Association Volunteer Trumpet Volume7, Issue 1 of August 2017, the write-up is submitted by Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Director Deputy Chief Clarence "Chip" Jewell III.

"I first met Gary White over 40 years ago through his service as an active volunteer firefighter with the New Market District Volunteer Fire Department.
We have been friends ever since. He moved up the ranks from firefighter to ultimately serve as an assistant chief. He remained a member of New Market, but as is frequently the case, took a sabbatical from the operational end of the department for employment and family. The New Market District Volunteer Fire Department has had a renaissance that has attracted some senior members back into the fold. Gary became active as the company chaplain. His chaplaincy in this department also led him to become a chaplain with the Maryland Fire Chief’s Association and expand his activities. Responding to incidents was still in his blood as he would show up to working incidents to help console and support families that lost everything to the ravages of fire. He returned to operational status and com-plied with our county medical physical requirements. We are extremely fortunate in Frederick County. Our county government has budgeted funds for NFPA 1581 physicals for volunteers based on the 2001 MOSHA Fire Service Health and Safety Standard, the infamous “Blue Book”. Over the age 40, the physical also requires a treadmill stress test. Even our fire police are required to pass the physical, minus the fit testing. It was during the required treadmill stress test that Chaplain Gary White was advised of abnormalities that required prompt attention. Gary had serious open heart surgery, not only for double bypass, but also to repair an aortic aneurysm. He had an extend stay in the hospital, and even had to re-turn for complications after he was released. His physical the most likely saved his life. As a Christian chaplain, Gary spreads the good news of Jesus Christ. He is now also preaching the gospel of the benefit of firefighter physicals and healthy life styles. Even I have become a poster child for fire-fighter physicals. Though not as severe as Gary, over the last few years my firefighter physicals have detected health concerns that could have worsened and ultimately had a negative effect on my life span. The MSFA Safety Committee has taken up the cause of health and wellness of our volunteers. The Safety Committee has worked with partner agencies to develop a portfolio of information and recommendations. I highly commend Mike LaCompte and his committee members for taking an aggressive approach to encourage fire/rescue operational physicals. The committee is offering grant funds to provide a funding re-source to at least assure everyone has an entrance physical, a statutory requirement for heart and circulatory malfunction presumption for workers compensation. It is hard to believe there are still active members of our volunteer fire and rescue service that oppose physical for operational members. There is still a certain opposition that reeks of “I am a volunteer you can’t tell me what to do” attitude. You are more than a volunteer. You are a professional. You are part of a functional team who’s members depend on each other. Your health is a priority to assure the safety of the entire team. As a driver, you have the lives of the personnel and untold civilians in the grip of your palms. As a fire-fighter, the fellow crew members de-pend on you to be at the height of readiness. As an EMS provider, your patients depends on you. And most of all, your family depends on you every day. Whether volunteer or career, each year heart attack and circulatory mal-function continue to be the number one cause of line of duty deaths in the fire and rescue service. We must continue to make the health and wellness of our personnel a priority. You have an obligation to your family and your fellow members to make every effort to commit to being physically fit to preform your duty. Above all, make sure EVERY-ONE GOES HOME!!"


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