On Saturday, New Holland native Ed Orihood celebrated his 73rd birthday, and today he celebrates 55 years of service to his community.
On Sunday, Pickaway County Commissioner Harold Henson, Fayette County Commissioners Dan Dean and Tony Anderson, New Holland Fire Chief Ken Howard, assistant fire chief Harold DeSanto, members of the New Holland Fire Department and local residents gathered to honor Orihood for his dedicated service.
“I was 17 when I walked into the station asking to be hired as a firefighter. They told me I was too young, that I should come back when I was 18. And I did. The date was November 1, 1961.”
When asked why he wanted to be a firefighter, the answer came swiftly: “for the excitement.” According to Orihood, that excitement soon turned into a desire to help his community. That commitment has turned into a continuous, professional, 55-year career with the same fire department, serving the residents of New Holland, Ohio.
The changes over this span of time have been numerous, huge and life-saving.. According to Orihood, when he was hired, the fire station operated a 1923 Studebaker open cab truck and a 1954 Chevrolet pumper truck with a one-and-three-fourths inch hose. Today, they have a state-of-the-art truck and a pumper with a two-and-a-half inch hose that means when firefighters deploy their spray tactics, they can knock down a fire quicker.
Orihood is quick to say that the firefighters he works with today “are great. They respect my limitations and they respect my knowledge.” Orihood smiles when he says, “Over the years, sometimes, the younger firefighters would get antsy, wishing the alarm would ring. I always told them when that alarm rings it means someone is in trouble.” The New Holland firefighters repeatedly made it clear that Orihood “is a huge asset to this department. We couldn’t respond as quickly as we do without Ed here.”
In response to the presentation, Orihood shared, “I never expected anything like this. They really pulled one on me. I really appreciate this honor. I started as a pumper driver and I am still the pumper driver. Whether I am at home or away, when the alarm drops, I will be at the station. The other fellas have jobs. I am usually the first one to the station. I get everything ready so when they show up we can roll.”
Isn’t that what we want in our firefighters? Congratulations to Ed Orihood for 55 years of always being on the job, ready to roll.