Nineteen members of the Norwich Township Fire Department received Service Awards at the Jan. 19 township trustees meeting in the Safety Services Building.

Nineteen members of the Norwich Township Fire Department received Service Awards at the Jan. 19 township trustees meeting in the Safety Services Building.

Fire Chief David Long gave out pins and certificates to the ten 10-year veterans first.

"You look back, and it's amazing how quick the 10 years have rolled around," Long said.

"We want to thank you guys for your years of service, and I certainly hope you're back here to get your 30-year award -- but not from me," he said, to laughter.

The years of service represent the firefighters' full-time service, but many have served additional years on a part-time basis.

The recipients posed for photographs and received applause.

All stood and applauded when Captain Stephen Russell, accompanied by his wife Ruth, received a ribbon and clock for his 30 years of full-time service, 32 as a volunteer.

Long read a letter from Russell, his voice welling with pride:

"Trustees and chief, it has been my privilege to serve the Hilliard community, Norwich Township and Brown Township for more than 30 years," Long read. "It's also been an honor to serve with the chiefs and firefighters who make up this fine department. Only those of us who live the firefighter life understand the sacrifices, the fulfillment, fears and satisfaction of this career.

"It is with sadness and joy that I have decided to end my firefighting career as of June 3, 2010. I appreciate and thank everyone for all that they have done to further my career. I'll only be a phone call away, so if there is any way I can help, please let me know. Availability is dependent on tee times."

"We certainly are happy for you, Steve," Long said, turning to Russell. "It's a special time in your life to go on and enjoy other things."

"The good news is we still have six more months with this young man," Trustee Chuck Buck said. "Everyone should know how hard a worker, how dedicated a person Steve is and has been over the years."

"All I can say is thank you for the great times," Russell said. "The trustees have been so supportive of me and this whole department. It's been a wonderful life. I'm gonna miss the guys more than the job, but I still love the job."

Other service award recipients were:

20 years -- Drew Hayes, Jeff Morales, Lieutenant Joe Russell and Lieutenant Greg Young. 15 years -- Dan Buelow, Lieutenant Robert Fox, Robert Spann and Lieutenant Scott Yee. 10 years -- Steve Campbell, Ray DiLisi, Mike Holmes, Kris Lanning, Shawn Merz, Luke Proffitt, Mike Reiterman, George Sorge, Fred Still and Inspector Scott Tigner.