South Tongass Fire Chief Steve Rydeen presents “speaker trumpets” to Chuck Denny and Dennis Spurgeon while Borough Mayor Rodney Dial waits to present them proclamations for 40 years of service to the STVFD (Ketchikan Gateway Borough staff photo).

Two volunteer firefighters who have served four decades with Ketchikan’s South Tongass Volunteer Fire Department were recognized on Monday by the Borough Assembly.

South Tongass Fire Chief Steve Rydeen praised Chuck Denny and Dennis Spurgeon’s commitment to the department.

“This is probably the highlight of my career – being able to recognize two vital parts of our department who have made it what it is today.”

He thanked them for their dedication, and for training and mentoring new members.

“I can’t say enough about these guys. They’re there every Thursday night for drill. They’re there every Saturday that we have a drill or a cleanup. They’re there to help others. We can call them, and they show up without hesitation.”

Rydeen then presented them with a replica of a traditional firefighter’s tool known as a “speaker trumpet.” Those megaphone-like tools were once used to communicate and cut through the cacophony of a fire scene.

“The trumpet it a traditional thing in the fire service starting back in the very beginning and we always use it for celebratory things like this. So please accept this on behalf of the department.”

Borough Mayor Rodney Dial then presented the proclamations to Denny and Spurgeon.

“I just want to say that you are the prime example of selfless service, to do this on a volunteer basis for this community for so long. For longer than a lot of people have been alive in this community. We owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done.”

Rydeen says he looks forward to the two men’s continuing service with South Tongass volunteer firefighters.