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Rick Eddy named ‘Firefighter of the Year’

FPS staff report

Rick Eddy
Carrollton Village Fire Dept. Chief Tom Mesler (left) congratulates Rick Eddy for being honored as “Firefighter of the Year.”

Rick Eddy was named “Firefighter of the Year” at a holiday dinner held recently at the Carrollton Veteran’s Club.

Eddy, a 36-year member of Carrollton Village Fire Department, was awarded a plaque from department Chief Tom Mesler.  Mesler said, “Rick was selected as our Firefighter of the Year because he took the initiative to start the MERIT team and get the members together.  He helps instruct rope rescue and hunter rescue trainings.”  Mesler noted Eddy donates a lot of this time doing volunteer work around the firehouse and on the equipment. 

Eddy has been involved in all aspects of firefighting and participated in department fundraisers, such as the Fireman’s Frolic and was a member of the department’s muster team (competitions between firefighters and departments).

In the spring of 2009, Eddy organized the Multi-Emergency Rapid Intervention Team (MERIT).  He was listening to the scanner and heard a call involving a tractor-roll over in the county with the farmer pinned beneath the tractor.  The emergency medical services (EMS) personnel arrived and, due to not having the manpower or equipment, were unable to free the victim.  The local fire department was called to do the extrication and the victim passed away from the injuries sustained. 

At that time, Eddy said, “I thought it would be beneficial to have an advanced rescue team, trained in various scenarios and ready to assist when these situations occur.”  After a deer hunter was involved in an accident involving his tree stand and rescue personnel had trouble not only getting to the victim, but did not have the proper emergency training, did Eddy get the MERIT team organized. 

“The MERIT team was formed with the intent of training and equipping an advance rescue team to provide residents and visitors in Carroll County with readily accessible, highly trained, and compassionate heavy rescue services,” stated Eddy.  “MERIT services are available to any fire department and EMS company in the county and beyond if needed.”

Eddy and team members immediately went into fundraising mode in order to purchase specialized rescue equipment.  To date, they have raised almost $12,000 to use toward the purchase of rescue equipment, classroom aids and specialized training from various foundations, anonymous donations and fundraising efforts. 

Eddy noted the team recently received a notice of a $1,600 reimbursement grant from Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for the purchase of ice rescue suits and equipment.  “With over 4,000 acres of water within the county, this equipment will be very useful,” he said.

The team is building a rescue trailer, which will hook up to an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to be used to transport injured hunters and hikers out of wood and other areas not easily accessible.  “We have accomplished much in the first year but still have a long way to go,” Eddy disappointedly noted.  “We were recently turned down for a grant to purchase training in various disciplines, such as tower rescue, rural and urban search, ice rescue and other training.  We were also turned down for an ATV which would have been used to get to victims in areas the department trucks cannot easily get to.” 

Eddy and his team are continuing efforts to build a “first-class, advanced rescue team, prepared, trained and willing to take on any emergency that threatens the well-being of those in Carroll County and beyond.” 

“I believe by providing additional manpower and heavy rescue capabilities at the forefront of the emergency, more lives will be saved and suffering lessened for both the victim and their families,” stated Eddy.

Eddy is employed at Seven Ranges Manufacturing in Carrollton.  He and his wife, the former Sonja Gotschall, have a 16-year old daughter, Taylor.

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