CHIEF LOGAN STATE PARK — The West Virginia State Firemen’s Association Convention 2012 was held Thursday, August 16, thru Saturday, August 18, at The Chief Logan Lodge and Convention Center. More than 300 fire departments from across West Virginia were represented during the three day convention. The convention was hosted by the Boone, Lincoln and Logan County Mutual Aid Associations.
In between convention meetings, firefighters visited several local sights in the county including the Hatfield Family Cemetery, Hatfield-McCoy Trails and Logan County Club for golf.
On Friday evening, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin visited his hometown to speak to the firefighters. Tomblin praised the firefighters for their quick and dedicated response during the power outage occurring on June 29.
“Let me first welcome you to my home county,” Tomblin said. “Let me thank you for what you did this past June 29th with the storm that came through at that time. We experienced something in West Virginia that we have never experience before and of that magnitude. Fifty-three out of our 55 counties were without electricity at one time.”
Tomblin said that the state is use to working with regional outages during floods or rain and snow storms, and relied on each other to help each other out.
“For example, On March 14th in Lincoln and Wayne counties a tornado hit and the next a flood hit here in Logan and Mingo Counties,” said Tomblin. “So by the time I got here about 3 o’clock, there were swift boats and fire departments from as far away as Vienna or Parkersburg. But in this case, every county had their own situation with the electricity being out. We were use to being able to call on our fellow power company people, usually from Kentucky, Virginia or Ohio, our neighboring states. But in this case, they were all hit with the same problem.”
Tomblin said the state found itself in a real emergency when they realized how wide spread the storm damage was and the type of damage.
“And to top it all off, it wasn’t 70 or 80 degree weather that we were having,” said Tomblin. “It was 100 degrees or better.”
Tomblin said that he was proud of the quick response from the fire departments.
“By the second day, many of the volunteer fire departments had cooling centers set up,” said Tomblin. “I am sure that in many cases that saved the lives of our senior citizens and those requiring oxygen. I just want to say a special thank you to all our volunteers, the fire departments, our 911 people — all our emergency responders — for the way you worked together.”
Tomblin continued his talk by relating problems and solutions that worked and how the state could prepare for future disasters.
At the conclusion of his talk, Tomblin was presented a white firefighters helmet inscribed “Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.”