The younger members of the Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department came together to honor several of their older members in the Blount County community on Saturday.
The party was a surprise to several of the department's members who had been working with the Friendsville fire service since it began in 1962. One of its organizers, First Medical Responder Crystal Greene, said she was concerned that if they told members about the party they may not come.
"Some of them have such a good spirit of humility that we were afraid they'd say, 'oh, i don't deserve it'," she said.
Greene and several of the department's younger members decided to hold the party under the premise they were celebrating Chief Tom Greene's 45th anniversary as a Friendsville firefighter.
When everyone arrived inside the fire hall, the party, which had been planned since January, went off without a hitch.
Everyone first surprised Chief Greene. Next, they turned their attention to all of the other veteran volunteers like Captain Marianna Smith who has been with the department since 1962.
"I feel like I'm a part of it [the department], just like it's a part of me," she said.
Each member received a plaque that were bought with the help of community donations.
The volunteers included:
Earl LeQuire 20 years
Gail LeQuire 20 years
Cpt. Steve Hargis 20 years
Dep. Chief Mike Jeffries 20 years
John Thacker 21 years
Jerry Long 24 years
Billy Long 24 years
Ann Bowerman 25 years
Nancy Bowerman 25 years
Cpt. Carroll Huffstetler 34 years
Calvin Lynch 40 years
Chief Tom Greene 45 years
Ralph Bowerman 51 years
Cpt. Marianna Smith 51 years
Keith Fox 51 years
The Pup Tent, First Baptist Church of Friendsville, Friendsville Market, New Destiny Church, Tennessee Shoreline, Realtor James Coker, Foothills realty, LLC, David and Betty Staley, Louisville Contracting Company, Friendsville Bible Methodist Church and Hickory Valley Bible Baptist Church all sponsored the event.