By Bill Robinson
Three members of the Richmond Fire Department’s 13-person honor guard helped represent Kentucky this past weekend at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.
During Tuesday’s city commission meeting, Fire Chief Buzzy Campbell expressed his and the department’s pride in the honor guard’s work and achievements.
The three firefighters, Capt. Daniel Clark, Lt. Dave Bletscher and Tim Buchenroth, were given the honor of raising the American flag at the memorial ceremony for the more than 80 firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2011, Clark said. Representatives of most of the fallen firefighters’ families were in attendance.
The special flag, known as the Flag of Honor, has flown over the World Trade Center site, he said.
The Richmond Honor guard, along with teams from Frankfort and Glasgow, was chosen to represent the state this year by the Kentucky Fire Commission. A few days earlier, the Richmond Honor Guard also took part in the annual recognition ceremony at the state Fallen Firefighters Memorial. No Kentucky firefighters died in the line of duty during 2011, however.
The honor guard was formed in the spring of 2001, and its role took on a poignant significance later that year when it was called upon to help honor the hundreds of New York City firefighters who died attempting to recuse victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
City Commissioner Donna Baird, in her role as mayor pro tem, presided over her first commission meeting Tuesday as Mayor Jim Barnes was representing Richmond on a sister-city visit to Japan. Barnes planned to extend his stay in Japan so he could visit with Shigemitsu Asahi, president of the Asahi Forge Corp., which operates two manufacturing plants in Richmond.
Richmond City Manager Jimmy Howard said Tonita Goodwin, recently hired as executive director of the Richmond Industrial Development Corp., started her new job on Monday and had “hit the ground running.” She and Howard visited one of the Asahi plants in Richmond on Thursday, Howard said.
Among the personnel actions of the commission Tuesday was the hiring of the city’s first full-time community development director in several years.
After Marsha Dunn retired several years ago, community development responsibilities were assigned to Mike Russell of the codes department. After Russell left city employment about 18 months ago, the duties were performed by City Clerk Lisa Cassity, Howard said.
Despite cutbacks in the federal/state Community Development Block Grant program, Richmond has some active projects funded by it, the city manager said. One is on Tipton Court off Westover Avenue where the city has purchased about eight substandard houses that are slated to be demolished.