Clayton County Commissioners, from left, Chairman Jeff Turner, Gail Hambrick, Shana Rooks, Michael Edmondson and Sonna Singleton, with the newly-designed fire and emergency services badges. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)
MORROW — Maddi Page scrunched her face and willed her hands to maneuver the unyielding pin of the shiny new badge through the thick fabric of her dad’s uniform.
All eyes were on her, and her dad, Capt. Terry Page, stood patiently. Finally, the point found its purchase and slid through.
Similar scenes were repeated with other firefighters and relatives for the better part of an hour Friday night as men and women of Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services were honored for recent promotions.
Chief Landry Merkison also unveiled the department’s newly-designed badge, which was handed out to each member of Clayton County Board of Commissioners, all of whom attended the ceremony at Clayton State University.
Maddi Page stood in for her mom, Emily Page, who was with her other daughter at a basketball tournament. Capt. Page was credited with saving an 11-year-old girl from an apartment fire last year.
In addition to Merkison, assistant chiefs David King and Tim Sweat were pinned with new badges. Jacque Feilke, the department’s first female firefighter, was recognized for her Feb. 25, 2013, promotion to deputy chief.
Deputy chiefs Jay Fordham and Dwayne Jackson were pinned with new badges.
Battalion chiefs Steve Baran, Rich Elliott and Leroy Travis were recognized for their promotions. Battalion chiefs Johnny Brown, Blaine Clark, Jeff McHenry and Jeff Thomas were pinned.
Captains Dwayne Casteel, Robert Gordon and John Hall were recognized for promotions. Captains Melvin Adams, Walter Barber, Frank Clackum, Glenn Cooper, Anthony Grimaldi, David Vazquez and Page were pinned.
Firefighters promoted to lieutenants were Donald Anthony, Zach Botkin, Christopher Bramlett, Gregory Campbell, David Hemmings, Michael Higginbotham, Labarron Roberts and Collin Veasley.
Newly-promoted sergeants are David Armstrong, Kirk Beasley, Kyle Brown, Frank Bryson, Eric Flohr, Manuel Gamallo, Derek Haynie, Jakob Hill, Wesley Johnston, Hollis Kinnett, Nicklaus Ledford, Richard Marchman, Wendy Marlow, Fredrick Parham, Dale Payne, Edwin Terry, Kevin Warr and Keenan White.
Merkison said it is important to involve the families in such recognition ceremonies.
“The families are such a big part of fire services,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to share the joy and let the families know we appreciate the sacrifices they make.”