by Lisa Tome
Ronnie Daniels remembers meeting Bill Doss for the first time.
It was 1969 and Daniels was a new member of Charlestown Fire Company.
"I remember Bill from when I started riding here in 1969. I met him back then and we've been friends ever since," said Daniels.
The two men, Doss and Daniels, both longtime members of Charlestown Fire Company, were inducted into the Harford Cecil Firemen's Association Hall of Fame on April 11.
"I understand it seldom happens to two people in the same company (in the same year)," said Doss. I certainly feel honored to have this honor from the organization. It's surprising."
Doss, 75, joined the fire company at age 16 in 1958. He said he signed on because at the time there were numerous drownings occurring in the area of Charlestown's public beaches. "I wanted to try to help. Between the ages of 13 and 15, I had participated in body recovery. Every year, there were two to three drownings. That's what got me started," said Doss.
He has remained an active member of the company since 1958, except for the span in which he was attending night school. "I've been pretty much active continuously," he said. He has been part of both the firefighting side and the emergency medical services. Over the years, he has been rescue lieutenant and rescue captain. He has also been the company's treasurer, secretary, and long time member of the board of directors. He is also a past EMS top responder and serves on numerous committees. "If you joined to get honored, it would be a long time waiting," Doss said.
He is retired, having worked as an engineering technician at Aberdeen Proving Ground for 42 years.
Ronnie Daniels, 64, was the chief of Charlestown Fire Company for 26 years. He has also been an Emergency Medical Technician, assistant chief, rescue captain, and chief engineer. He's been a director since 1973.
"I was a member in Perryville starting in 1966. I joined Charlestown in 1969. Back then, there wasn't much to do. You'd see the fire trucks run up and down the road. I joined for the adrenalin rush, I think. and to have stuff to do. And then I saw I was helping people and that kept me in," said Daniels.
Daniels was one of 13 people who signed on to train to become an EMT before there was officially an EMT program.
"I've got certificates out the butt. They are all in a filing cabinet downstairs. There was a phase where you want to have those certificates up," laughed Daniels. "I don't do this for the glory of things to hang on the wall. I used to love to go to parades."
He is retired, having worked at Norfolk Southern Railroad for 41 years. He said achieving Hall of Fame is an honor.
"Everything I've done hasn't gone unnoticed. I didn't see this happening. I feel honored," said Daniels.
The men talked about how fire companies have changed over the years. Doss said the legal requirements in EMS is a huge change. Daniels said that the training requirements in both firefighting and EMS are "overwhelming."
"But fire departments have gotten better. Apparatus has gotten better," said Daniels.