MCFRS News Release

Thousands will Convene at 116th Annual Convention and Conference - Maryland State Firemen's Association

Former Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad Chief has Lead Association

Thousands of fire and rescue personnel from across the State of Maryland, in addition to hundreds from Montgomery County will assemble in Ocean City, Maryland for the annual convention and conference of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) and Ladies Auxiliary. Various members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service are expected to be recognized for outstanding service.

The 116th Annual Convention of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association and Ladies Auxiliary will take place June 14 to June 18, 2008 at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, in Ocean City, Maryland.  The MSFA represents the State’s fire and rescue departments.  Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr will be attending and participating.

Many education, training seminars and exhibits are scheduled to take place at the Convention Center.  Several firefighters and personnel from Montgomery County assist with training, logistics and planning for the annual convention.  There are numerous training and seminar opportunities available dealing with subjects such as recruitment and retention, health issues, terrorism, technology, emergency medical services, and more.  

In addition to pre-convention educational and training seminars that take place on Sunday, June 15 there will be a Memorial Service at 7 p.m. Sunday evening at the Convention Center Main Ballroom.  The Opening Ceremony will take place Monday, June 16, 2008.

On Monday, June 16,  Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, United States Senator Barbara Mikulski and United State Fire Administrator, Chief Gregory Cade are expected to make remarks during the opening ceremonies.  Various state-wide awards will also be presented, including Firefighter of the Year, the Hunt EMS Award, Stathem Safety Award, Amoss Legislation Award, Zembower Training Award, Marbury-Gates Service Award, Colburn Cup Heroism Award, Gladhill-Thompson Award and Hall of Fame Inductions, to name a few. Miss Fire Prevention is also selected during the convention. 

Several highlights will include a Tuesday morning, June 17, special program presentation on the Charleston, SC Sofa Super Store Fire, presented by Chief Gordon Routley, International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Pete Piringer, Public Information Officer, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service.  Both were members of the team that reviewed the incident.  The one year anniversary of this fire in which 9 firefighters lost their lives, is June 18.  Also, on Wednesday, June 18, Ocean City Assistant Chief David Cropper and Deputy Fire marshal Josh Bunting will conduct a special program presentation on the Fire on Ocean City’s boardwalk that occurred on March 30 of this year and destroyed a large building at the south end of one of Maryland’s biggest tourist attractions.

Other social and business activities take place during the week long event.  In addition to MSFA elections and other official business. The annual “Firemen’s Parade” will take place, rain or shine on Wednesday afternoon, June 18. 

Past Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad Chief Paul Sterling, age 57, was elected as Second Vice President to the Maryland State Firemen’s Association (MSFA) during the 113th Annual MSFA Convention and Conference that was held in Ocean City, Maryland in June, 2005.  The past year he served as President.

Chief Sterling is a life-long Wheaton resident and has been a fixture in Montgomery County.  He has nearly 40 years of fire and rescue service.  He recently retired from the Montgomery County Department of Police after 34 years of service.  He has been a member of the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad for over 40 years and had served as Chief since 1979 until 2004 – 25 years.  He has held several key positions while serving the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, including four terms on the former Montgomery County Fire Board, served two terms on the Montgomery County Fire-Rescue Commission and is a Past President of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association and he has served on numerous MCFRS committees.

Chief Sterling is a Past President of the Maryland Fire Chief’s Association.  He has been active with the Maryland State Firemen’s Association for about 30 years and has been on the MSFA Executive Committee for 16 years.  He was the Chairman from 1999 – 2000, a position selected by the president of the association.  He has received many awards and commendations in Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.

Many Montgomery County persons are involved with the MSFA and serve on various committees.  Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr, who along with Chief Sterling once served on the Montgomery Fire-Rescue Commission together says, “Paul has done an outstanding job as President and he has represented the MSFA well.”