By: Tara Blue
The Southern Boone County Fire Protection District (SBCFPD) recently held its annual awards banquet to recognize the volunteers who donate their time and energy into keeping Southern Boone County safe.

Despite all having primary full-time jobs, the SBCFPD volunteer firefighters answer the call and go above and beyond. The district welcomed the following new firefighters in 2023: Andrew Allen, Caleb Watkins, Lucas Chaney, Mason Smith, DJ Monaghan, Jackson Halbert, Frank Colvett, Cole Eppy, Dillon Anderson, Mike McKeon, Justin Ayala, & Dalton Henry.


New recruits Caleb Watkins, Lucas Chaney

Currently, Station 17 in Ashland is almost fully staffed with volunteers who have been invaluable to operations and response time. The SBCFPD answered 769 calls for service in 2023. The demand on the SBCFPD increases along with the growing population of the Southern Boone area. The District is governed by a five-person board who serve six-year terms. Two of the board positions are up for reelection in 2025.

In 2023, the SBCFPD trained its members to increase its preparedness in service to our community. Three people attended Firefighter I & II state standard certification courses: Cole Eppy (pictured below), Jackson Halbert & Frank Colvett.

Cole Eppy

Four volunteers became Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certified (step before EMT): Kaden Bauer, Lucas Chaney, Cole Eppy, & Malachi Cooper.

EMRs Kaden Bauer, Instructor Chris Pennington, Cole Eppy, Lucas Chaney

Nine members took advantage of the opportunity to take Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class. The training had not been held in a long time and the district is proud to say they had a 100% pass rate. The following are now EMT certified: Caleb McCollum, JW Brown, Andrew Allen, Phil Cooper, Robert Jackson III, Kelly Redford, Mark Tompkins, Brayden & Eric Kuhrts.

EMTs- Front: Robert Jackson III, Instructor-Chris Pennington, JW Brown. Back: Mark Tompkins, Caleb McCollum, Eric Kuhrts, Brayden Kuhrts, Phil Cooper. Not pictured- Kelly Redford, Andrew Allen

The following firefighters were recognized for their participation in a “Clinical Save”: Lucas Karr, Will Wright, Jim Bullard, & Jackson Halbert. A Clinical save is when first responders find someone with no heartbeat. Their resuscitative efforts result in the patient arriving at the Emergency Room with a heartbeat.

Clinical saves: Lucas Karr, Will Wright, Jim Bullard. Not pictured- Jackson Halbert

The Top 100 Club is a group of dedicated responders who responded to over 100 calls throughout the year: Phil Cooper, Caleb McCollum, JW Brown, Shawn McCullum, Mark Tompkins, Will Wright, Jim Bullard, Brayden Kuhrts, Timothy Bullard, Jackson Halbert, and Frank Colvett. Phil Cooper was recognized as the Top Responder of the Year with 291 calls.

Top 100 Club- Front: Caleb Watkins, Timothy Bullard, JW Brown, Shawn McCollum. Back Jim Bullard, Cole Eppy, Phil Cooper, Will Wright, Mark Tompkins. Not pictured- Caleb McCollum, Brayden Kuhrts.

The SBCFPD also honored members that have longevity with the department. This year, they recognized:

5 Years of Service award- Joy Appleton Woolford, Lucas Karr, & Sean Henning. 20 Years of Service award- Colin Wright. 45 Years of Service award- Jim Bullard.

5 Years of Service: Joy Appleton Woolford and Lucas Karr

Jim Bullard presenting 20 Years of Service Award to Colin Wright

Fire Chief Jim Bullard and family celebrate
45 years of service

Special awards went out to the next three fire fighters that were selected by their peers. Firefighter of the Year- Caleb McCollum, Officer of the Year- Phil Cooper, and Junior Firefighter of the Year- Will Wright.

Firefighter of the Year Caleb McCollum

Officer of the Year Phil Cooper

Chief Bullard presenting Junior Firefighter of the Year to Will Wright. Parents – Sarah and Colin Wright

The District wants to congratulate all volunteers and says they appreciate what you do for the community. They also say thank you to the local businesses for the generous donations that were given for door prize gifts to the volunteers as a show of community appreciation.

If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, please contact the SBCFPD at 573-657-2370 or message them on Facebook.